Line up


CATO will host four practical tracts during this year’s conference. There is no additional cost to sign up for these tracts. If you are interested in attending one of these courses and are registered for the conference, please submit a request (with your prerequisite material if appropriate) to Phil Myers at You will be notified if you are registered for the class requested.

Less Lethal Instructor Update

Monday, December 4th (1300-1700)

(Presented in partnership with National Training Concepts, Inc. – NTC)

Instructor: RK Miller
Hours: 4
Number of Students: 25
Location: Host Hotel
Prerequisite: Attending students must have completed a Less Lethal Instructor Course within the last 5 years. CATO recognizes certificates from CTS, Safariland, CATO, and NTC. If you have an instructor certificate from another
organization, please contact Phil Myers (
Required Equipment: None

Noise Flash Diversionary Device (NFDD) Instructor Update

Tuesday, December 5th (0800-1200)

(Presented in partnership with National Training Concepts, Inc. – NTC)

Instructor: RK Miller
Hours: 4
Number of Students: 20
Location: San Diego County Sheriff’s range (approximately 15 minute drive from the host hotel). No transportation will be provided. Students will need to provide their own transportation to and from the range.
Prerequisite: Attending students must have completed a NFDD Instructor Course within the last 5 years. CATO recognizes certificates from CTS, Safariland, CATO, and NTC. If you have an instructor certificate from another organization, please contact Phil Myers (
Required Equipment: Helmet, nomex gloves, ear protection, eye protection, and body armor.
Munitions: This course is co-sponsored by Def Tec and Combined Tactical Systems who are supplying the NFDDs.

Critical Incident Management

Wednesday, December 6th (0800-1700)

(Presented in partnership with National Training Concepts, Inc. – NTC)

Instructor: RK Miller
Hours: 8
Number of Students: 24
Location: Host Hotel
Prerequisite: None
Required Equipment: None

Tactical First Aid – Hemorrhage Control

Wednesday, December 6th (0800-1700)

Instructors: Sgt. Tony Abdalla and Dr. Nicholas Greco – South Pasadena Police Department
Hours: 8
Number of Students: 25
Course Description: This challenging 8-hour course focuses effort on the treatment of the leading cause of preventable death in austere environments, uncontrolled hemorrhage. This course includes a classroom training session in the morning where students learn hemorrhage control interventions (tourniquet applications and wound packing with hemostatic gauze) along with prioritization of care. The course then transitions to an afternoon session of practical exercises where students practice the skills they learned in the morning session in simulated austere and high-stress environments utilizing FX-Simunitions, NFDDs and bleeding simulators.
Location: San Diego County Sheriff’s range (approximately 15 minute drive from the host hotel). No transportation will be provided. Students will need to provide their own transportation to and from the range.
Prerequisite: None
Required Equipment: Helmet, nomex gloves, ear protection, eye protection, body armor, duty belt/Sam Browne, and FX-Sim pistol.
Food: Lunch will be provided on-site
Munitions: This course is co-sponsored by Adamson who is providing FX-Simunitions ammunition and Def Tec and Combined Tactical Systems who are supplying the NFDDs.

Opening Ceremony Keynote Speaker

Jason Schechterle

In the early 2000’s Jason was fresh out of FTO and on patrol for the Phoenix Police Department. Responding to a call for service, he was rear ended by a taxi cab that was driving in excess of 100 mph. His patrol car burst into flames and immediately became fully engulfed.  At the time of the crash, a fire department rig was parked 50 yards away. Jason was pulled from the burning patrol car and rushed to the hospital. Jason suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns to his arms and head. His road to recovery is nothing short of an incredible will to survive and perseverance.

Palm Springs Double Officer Homicide Tactical Debrief

Sgt. Jon Cabrera (Palm Springs PD) and Sergeant Mike Walsh (Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

A debrief on the tactical component to the murder of two officers in October 2016.

Tactical Drone Operations

Deputy Zane Maltsberger (San Diego County SD)

This presentation will include the building of SDSD first drone program and debriefs on drone deployment operations in San Diego County.

7/20 Theater Shooting (Aurora, Colorado Theater)

Mike Holm

A debrief on the Aurora Colo Theater Shooting that occurred on July 20, 2012.

Anatomy of a SWAT Call Out

Gene Ramirez

Gene will discuss a call out from the initial call out through the two-week Federal jury trail. Two officers that were on the original call out will share their experiences and perspectives as well.

Tactical Train Operations

Walt Jordon (retired Amtrak Captain last assigned to their Special Operations & Counter Terrorism Division)

A discussion on SWAT’s role on Terrorist events on trains.

SWAT and Chemical Agents

Corporal Will Bunk (San Diego County Sheriff’s Department)

A debrief of SWAT callouts that used chemical agents and lessons learned from those operations.

Explosive Breaching Debriefs

Deputy Tom Fletcher & Deputy Dave Ladieu (San Diego County Sheriff’s Department)

Lessons learned from SWAT incidents that involved explosive breeching.

NVG Operations for SWAT

Pat Hickcox (Sergeant, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department)

This course will cover the principals of tactical operations using helmet mounted night vision devices and related equipment  by L.E. SWAT Assaulters/Entry team members (This course is not geared toward the use of clip-on NVG devices for sniper teams). We will discuss equipment capabilities, limitations and tactical considerations based on best practices gained from both the L.E. and US Special Operations communities and provide you with the most comprehensive and relevant information on the use of NVG’s. You will be provided samples of generic agency policies regarding NVG use and laser safety issues. Students are encouraged to bring their NVG devices along with helmets, mounts, transfer arms and accessories. No live weapons please.

10 Steps to K9 Integration

Sergeant Bill Lewis II (Retired Oxnard PD)

This course will address the essential steps necessary for a tactical team considering integration of a police dog into its operations or improving its deployment capabilities in a small workshop setting to encourage more interaction and individual questions during this presentation.

Leadership:  A Military Aviation Perspective

Jay Stout (retired Lt. Col. USMC – Pilot Desert Storm)

Both military aviators and civilian police department tactical operators are regularly required to function in dynamic, unforgiving scenarios that demand immediate, on-the-spot decisions.  And the best results are most often produced by teams that have benefitted from good leadership.

All Hands on Deck: Integration of Fire Service Equipment, Tactics, and/or Personnel into SWAT Operations

Inspector Jim Etzin (EMS Coordinator, Farmington Hills Fire Department)

Law enforcement and the fire service are partners in protecting and serving their communities but oftentimes lack understanding of each other’s capabilities and occasionally have adversarial relationships. This presentation will open the eyes of both professions and provide numerous examples of how better collaboration can contribute to mission success during active assailant incidents, barricaded subjects, civil disturbances, dignitary protection details, hostage situations, and warrant services.

Human Performance & First Response

Jim Glennon

The public, under the influence of Hollywood, has unrealistic expectations of today’s police officers. The public doesn’t understand violence, time, physiology, or–perhaps most importantly–the very real effects of stress. Unfortunately, most cops don’t understand human performance either. Here’s what the science tells us and what every first responder must know to enhance performance, and well being.

Finding the Leader in You

Jim Glennon

Law enforcement faces a leadership crisis and a crisis of confidence both in our ranks and in the communities we serve. The foundation of competence in this profession is training. Today’s law enforcement leaders–regardless of rank–must see beyond latest headline and prepare themselves and their department for the real threats to officer safety.

Practical Takeaways from a SWAT Trial Disaster (Washington State Verdict)

Attorneys Richard Jolley and Brian Augenthaler

Attorneys Jolley and Augenthaler will discuss how their clients were the subject of a $15 million verdict (with $6.5 million in punitive damages) for a SWAT standoff case in Fife, Washington. The attorneys will provide their best assessment of this worst case scenario in hopes that you can avoid a similar fate and will also provide insight into the hard lessons they learned before, during, and after trial.

Basic crisis negotiation for SWAT operators

Sergeant Harry Ducker – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

This presentation will scratch the surface of Crisis and Hostage Negotiation with a focus on Communications for SWAT Operators.  This workshop, although not designed to turn attendees into negotiators, will cover the essentials and give you tools to negotiate with a Suspect when needed.

Hostage Recovery during Rampage Killing Events

Sergeant Travis Norton (Oceanside PD)

When rampage killing events, such as an active shooter or vehicle attack, involve hostages how do you know whether or not you should conduct an intervention? Is the priority of life we traditionally use to make life and death decisions during these events correct? This course will enhance your ability to make proper crisis decisions during these situations. Topics covered include new thoughts on the priority of life, deconfliction measures, how active shooter statistics can help you filter through uncertainty, a debrief of the Barcelona terrorist attack, countermeasures, how the operator and team leader can overcome poor leadership at the IC level, decision making exercises and more.

SWAT Response to Public Venue Attacks

Senior Corporal Mark Lang

With the May 2017 person-borne IED (PBIED) attack at the Manchester Arena in the U.K. and the October Active Shooter massacre in Las Vegas many SWAT teams in the United States are looking for guidance and best practices in Public Venue training and deployment. The proactive deployment of SWAT teams at these venues ushers in new skill sets in areas of Immediate React Teams, Police Sniper Overwatch, Aerial Platform Overwatch, Tactical Bomb Technician and Command & Control. This presentation will provide an overview of current TTPs that are being trained and in placed at multiple venues in the U.S. Best practices will be discussed leaving each attendee with a baseline understanding to start from for their respective team(s).

What we should have learned from the Newhall gunfight, but didn’t

Mr. Mike Wood

The deadly, 1970 Newhall gunfight shook the law enforcement community to its core and jumpstarted the “officer survival” movement. Unfortunately, we fell short on delivering the changes to tactics, mindset and training that the experience of Newhall deserved.  Wood will discuss the lessons we didn’t learn, and the problems which remain, that leave us continuing to make the same mistakes all over again, and will suggest ways we can make good on the sacrifice of the four officers killed that night.

10-25-13 OIS Incident

Captain Troy Bergstrom and Officer Daniel Szeto (Roseville Police Department)

On Oct 25, 2013, a wanted parolee gang member shot at Crime Suppression Unit officers trying to arrest him and in the process wounded a federal agent. In the ensuing several hour incident, the suspect fired on the SWAT team, striking a team member in the head. This presentation will cover the incident, lessons learned, and a briefing of how the injured SWAT officer survived his injuries and was able to return to full duty, including his SWAT assignment.

Practical Tactical Leadership

Frank Rivas (Detective Mountain View PD SWAT and CW-2 in Special Forces)

Providing an overview of practical leadership within a tactical environment based on over 23 years experience within the military (US Marine Corps and US Special Forces). Effective styles of leadership and operating procedures will be presented to provide attendees with additional tools to be an effective formal or informal leader.

Defending Police Officers Criminally Charged in the Wake of Shootings: The Betty Jo Shelby Case

David Klinger (Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis Shannon McMurray, Partner, The Firm on Baltimore) 

In September of 2016, Tulsa (Oklahoma) Police Officer Betty Jo Shelby was charged with First Degree Manslaughter following an on-duty incident in which she shot a suspect who she believed was reaching for a gun. She was acquitted by a Tulsa County jury in May of 2017. This class provides a synopsis of the case and an overview of related matters through the eyes of the lead defense counsel (McMurray) and one of the defense team’s expert witnesses (Klinger). The instructors focus on key challenges facing the defense team, how the team dealt with these challenges, and the instructors’ beliefs about what this case augurs for American police officers in contemporary times. 

SWAT:  Lessons Learned from Critical Incidents

Don Kester (NTOA Director of Training and Education )

This course will facilitate discussion regarding lessons learned from critical incidents involving Special Weapons and Tactics Teams throughout the United States.  Topics will include command and control strategies, leadership methodologies, training and critical incident preparation, legal concerns, tactical decision-making, and priority of life issues.  Current industry responses and trends as a result of critical incidents will be included.

Critical Decision Making When It Counts

Arvinder Ginda (FBI Supervisory Special Agent)

This workshop is designed to provide an overview and understanding of how individuals makes decisions during intense situations.  Often times when a critical decision is necessary and has to be made; people often base those decisions on emotions rather than rationality.  This workshop will assist the participants in understanding what emotional intelligence is and how to increase your rational state to make a better decision in any situation.

Team Leadership Principles of Elite Tactical Units

Jon Becker

Successful leaders, whether law enforcement, military, or business all share a very similar set of values and principles.  These principles are the basis for creating a culture that not only drives unit behavior but also facilitates each member of the team performing at their highest possible level.  Most, if not all, of these principles can be seen in any successful unit.  In 30 years of working with Special Operations and Tactical Units  Jon Becker has uncovered a common leadership system that not only is simple to understand, it is easy to implement and extremely teachable to young leaders. This course will explore these leadership principles and provide guidance for developing a successful culture within your team.

Bassler Operation- A Rural 30 Day Manhunt

Lt. Jason Caudillo & Sgt. Joseph Comer 

This debrief will review the unique 36-day operation for the search of Aaron Bassler in 2011.  Aaron Bassler sought refuge in over 90-square miles of harsh heavily wooded terrain surrounding Fort Bragg in Mendocino County after he ambushed and killed Matthew Coleman on August 11th and Jere Melo on August 27th.  Following Jere Melo’s murder, Aaron Bassler continued on a path of destruction and eluded law enforcement capture for 35-days until September 3rd when he was engaged by a tactical element and shot and killed.

Aaron Bassler’s actions, coupled with his knowledge in militarized tactics, psychiatric troubles characterized by false beliefs in a Martian military conspiracy, and his expansive knowledge of the terrain, produced a number of volatile and dangerous operations.  Mendocino County SWAT will provide insight from their initial callout and mission on August 27th through the mutual aid tactical operations that followed, including the essential three that prompted law enforcement contact with Aaron Bassler and were crucial in bringing the operation to a conclusion.

Mass Casualty Attacker (MCA) Prevention + Response

Dr. Tau Braun (Violence Prevention Specialist)

Dr. Tau Braun is unapologetically candid when talking about sensitive topics like preventing and responding to extreme violence. Dr. Braun will use riveting case studies, multimedia, and anecdotes to explore the mind and ,motive of mass killers, terrorists, and psychopaths and then highlight the use of a Threat Management Approach to stop them.