Ed Nowicki (right) shakes hands with Law Officer's Editor-in-Chief Dale Stockton (left) after being presented the first Law Officer Trainer of the Year Award. Nowicki started ILEETA, an organization and conference for LE professionals to exchange ideas, learn more effective ways to deliver training and gain new skills, tactics and knowledge.
Editor's note: At this time of the year, it's important we not only give thanks, but also honor those who contributed to our successes and safety. Brian Willis gives us a timely reminder that there are some people and organizations who have made a real difference. Take time to think about who has made a difference for you and tell them how much they're appreciated.
No matter who you are, what you have achieved or where you are in life, someone helped you get there. Each of you have mentors, heroes and role models in your lives who have helped shape you, guide you and inspire you. Some of them are people you know personally, such as your mother or father who taught you the value of unconditional love, integrity, honesty and hard work; a special teacher who believed in you and taught you to believe in yourself; a coach from high school or college who taught you more about life and being a better person than they did about sports; or a trainer from the academy who challenged you to be your best and supported and encouraged you on that journey.
Some of the heroes, role models and mentors in your life are people you have never met. They’re great leaders throughout history whose biographies you have studied and who have helped you be a better person and leader. They’re the great coaches like John Wooden and Lou Holtz whose writings, philosophies and wisdom have influenced the way you live your life. They’re law enforcement officers and military warriors from all generations (including the current generation) whose heroic deeds, courage and humility have inspired you and whose stories and images may have saved your life in a violent confrontation.
If you’ve been in the LE profession during the past 10 years, there’s one such person who has helped you and you may not know it. Ten years ago, legendary law enforcement trainer Ed Nowicki started the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). Nowicki envisioned an organization where those who have the privilege and responsibility to train the men and women of the law enforcement community could come to exchange ideas, learn more effective ways to deliver training and gain new skills, tactics and knowledge. This would be an organization of peers where regardless of how long you had been in the profession, or how long you had been a trainer, you would be encouraged to share what you know so others could benefit from your knowledge and experience.
ILEETA was born from that vision. The mission of ILEETA is simple: Honor those who have gone before us in the profession and honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice by learning from their experiences to make officers safer and reduce the number of names added to the law enforcement memorials around the world.
Some of you reading this article know Nowicki personally and have had the privilege of training with him. Others will know the name, but not the man. And some will never had heard of him. Regardless of which group you’re in, you’ve likely benefited from Nowicki’s vision for ILEETA. Thousands of trainers have attended the annual ILEETA conferences and tens of thousands have read the ILEETA Journal and the ILEETA Digest and reached out through the ILEETA social media channels to tap into the collective wisdom of the organization and solve a problem or enhance a training program. The knowledge gained by these trainers as a result of their association with ILEETA has changed the face of law enforcement training. You’re likely better trained and better prepared because of ILEETA. You’re likely safer because of ILEETA. In fact, you may be alive because of ILEETA.
I would encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the role models, heroes and mentors in your life and then take time to reach out and thank them for their impact.
As ILEETA prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the 2013 Annual Conference and Expo April 15–20 in Wheeling, Ill., we all need to thank Ed Nowicki for his vision in starting ILEETA and Harvey Hedden as he continues to take the organization to new levels. They have made us all better and safer.