About CATO

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CATO’s goal is to increase the professionalism and proficiency of special weapons teams and members across the state. To provide a forum for the exchange of current and relevant issues and information; maintain a secure online website; provide and/or sponsor superior training and conference programs; maintain a liaison with tactical teams across the nation; stimulate the research and development of innovative techniques, methods of operation and equipment; provide training assistance and support; and become the largest non-profit organization in the state dedicated exclusively to personnel in all levels of tactical operations.
CATO FIVE-YEAR PLAN

2017-CATO Midyear Management Meeting

History

In the mid-1960s, the concept of special weapons and tactics teams was first conceived and implemented by the Los Angeles Police Department. Since that time, law enforcement agencies across the country have realized the need for specially trained and equipped police personnel to resolve an ever-increasing number of dangerous situations. No matter which acronym is used (SWAT, SRT, ERT, etc.) these teams of highly trained professionals are tasked with resolving some of the most hazardous of all law enforcement incidents.

The California Association of Tactical Officers CATO) believes there is no acceptable casualty rate for law enforcement personnel. In particular, CATO has focused its efforts upon improving the safety, education, and sharing of vital tactical information among its members.

Mission Statement

CATO is a non-profit, non-political organization. CATO is organized exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CATO was established as an organization “of tactical team members by and for tactical team members.” With over 38.3 million residents in California and over 80,000 sworn law enforcement officers, CATO’s mandate is to provide information, training, and resources to its members.

CATO BYLAWS

Membership

Membership in CATO is open to current and honorably retired sworn police personnel, active or reserve duty US military, and support services personnel for law enforcement agencies. CATO invites other individuals to submit membership requests for review to the board.
Any association is only as good as its members and their participation. For this reason, CATO is seeking a large, diverse base of highly motivated and skilled participants.

Regions & Representatives by County

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR REGION

 

CATO Training Waiting List
The CATO training courses fill up very fast. If you would like to be placed on a waiting list, please send an email to:
Include the course name and dates. If openings become available or when the next course opens for registration, an email will be sent to all who are on waiting lists. Then it will be first come, first served.
Don’t miss out!
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Sid Heal
Charles “Sid” Heal retired as a Commander from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department after nearly 33 years of service, more than half of which was spent in units charged with handling law enforcement special and emergency operations. In addition, he recently retired from the Marine Corps Reserve after 35 years and four tours of combat. He is the author of Sound Doctrine and Field Command, as well as more than 160 articles on law enforcement subjects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Police Science from California State University, Los Angeles; a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a masters degree in management from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy and the California Command College.
He has served as a consultant on civil unrest and nonlethal options for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School, the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the Department of Defense Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He currently teaches and consults throughout the United States and other countries and is a regular presenter at the U.S. war colleges.
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Randy Winn
Randy Winn is a Sergeant with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. During his 28 year law enforcement career Sergeant Winn has worked a variety of field operations assignments including patrol, canine, SWAT and air operations. He was assigned to the Special Enforcement Detail (SED) for seventeen years and has participated in nearly 1500 high-risk operations. From 2002-2015, Sergeant Winn was a Team Leader responsible for the immediate supervision and leadership of SED officers planning for, responding to and resolving critical incidents.
Sergeant Winn has significant experience as law enforcement trainer and has provided basic and advanced instruction on a variety of topics including; Basic SWAT, Raid Entry Planning, Search Warrants, CQB, Hostage Rescue, TCCC and Active Shooter. He has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from California State University Sacramento.
Sergeant Winn has served as a subject matter expert for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training on matters relating to SWAT, and is a respected authority on tactical operations and the use of force. He has provided consultation, guidance and testimony to local, state and federal law enforcement organizations, professional associations, network media and the grand jury.
Sergeant Winn has been awarded numerous commendations including three Bronze Stars, four Silver Stars, a Golden Badge Heroism Award and a Gold Medal of Valor.
Sergeant Winn has been a regional representative for the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) since 2005 and a member of the board since 2011. He currently serves as the Vice President.
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Brian Jones

Brian Jones retired from the FBI Sacramento Field Office in 2015 after 28 years as a Special Agent.  He began his tactical career as an Operator on the FBI SWAT team in 1989 and was assigned for the last twenty years of his career as the SWAT Senior Team Leader.  During his tenure with the FBI, he was also assigned as the Police Training Coordinator, Principal Firearms Instructor and Principal Tactical Instructor.  He has extensive experience as a SWAT Team Leader and has been involved in multiple high profile tactical situations throughout the country.

Brian is president of his own training company, Pinnacle Tactical Solutions, Inc. (www.pinnacletactical.com).  He has provided or facilitated training to thousands of law enforcement officers throughout the country and overseas on a wide variety of topics. These include leadership, firearms, tactical team training, breaching, anti-terrorism, diversionary devices, and active shooter response.

He has been a member of CATO since 2001, and is currently a CATO Training Coordinator and a CATO Board Member.  He currently instructs several CATO classes and was awarded the CATO Special Recognition Award in 2013, for his commitment to regional SWAT teams and for his efforts in facilitating regional SWAT training.

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Bob Benton

Bob Benton has been a board member and treasurer for CATO for the past ten years. He is retired Assistant Chief of Police from the Escondido Police Department with over twenty-five years of tactical experience. He began his career as one of the founding members of the Escondido SWAT team in 1991. His subsequent experience includes being an entry team member and an explosive breacher. He was promoted to sergeant and assigned as a sniper and entry team leader. He later commanded the team as the SWAT Commander as well as managing it as the Patrol Captain. In addition to his tactical experience, he has worked as an incident commander at a number of high profile critical incidents including natural disasters. He currently instructs CATO tactical classes, POST Critical Incident Management classes and leadership. He is currently the West Coast Director of Operations for MSA Security, an international security firm.

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Nick Weaver
Nick Weaver started his career in Law Enforcement in 2003 with the Amador County Sheriff’s Office. During his time there he served on their SWAT team. In 2006 he was hired by the Redding Police Department. He is currently assigned to patrol with his K9 partner Chyr. In 2008 he was assigned to the Redding Police Department SWAT team and in 2012 K9 Chyr was assigned to the SWAT team. Nick Weaver’s duties for the SWAT team include entry, sniper and K9. Nick Weaver also holds the positions of Range Master and Force Option Instructer.
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Phil Myers
Phil Myers has been a CATO instructor and staff member since 2008. Phil is a retired sergeant from the Costa Mesa Police Department. His assignments and experience include patrol, FTO, detective bureau, departmental instructor, and command staff adjutant. Phil served on the SWAT entry team as an operator, ATL, and sergeant. He has 25 plus years instructor experience and currently teaches as part of CATO’s Chemical Agent Instructor Cadre. He has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Vanguard University. Phil currently serves as a Board Member and is the CATO Director of Training.
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R.K. Miller

R.K. Miller retired from the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Police Department as a lieutenant after 30 years of service in a variety of assignments, including FTO, trauma support, beach detail, detectives, special enforcement unit, SWAT, field supervisor, watch commander, Executive Officer and training manager. He has been on staff for over 25 years as first a Recruit Training Officer and then an instructor at the Golden West College (Huntington Beach, CA) Criminal Justice Training Center. In addition to these assignments, he has served as officer in charge of that institution’s California POST certified Basic SWAT Academy for the last 15 years

He is president of his own training company, National Training Concepts, Inc. (www.ntc-swat.org) and also works as an adjunct instructor for Combined Tactical Systems (CTS). He has previously worked as an instructor with the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), Heckler & Koch’s (H&K) International Training Division, Singleton International, NRA’s Law Enforcement Activities Division and the U. S. Dept. of State’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). He has carried out extensive law enforcement training in the United States and other locations on a wide variety of topics. These include leadership, firearms, tactical team training, less lethal, diversionary devices, force on force, critical incident management and active shooter response.

R K currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO). He teaches the CATO Tactical Team Leader & Commander 40 hour course. In addition to CATO, he belongs to a number of other professional associations including the NTOA, NRA, the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors and the California Range Master’s Association. Along with his instructional pursuits, R K conducts policy reviews for law enforcement agencies and provides expert witness services focused on litigation challenges to police practices. He graduated “with honors” from Long Beach State University with a BA in Political Science and is a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran. R K has been a regular columnist for the CATO News magazine and Law Officer Magazine. His law enforcement career has continued as a reserve officer with the Orange Police Department, primarily with that agency’s SWAT team and Training Unit.

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Gene Ramirez
Eugene P. Ramirez, a founding member of the firm, graduated from Whittier College School of Law (J.D., 1987), where he was Notes & Comments Editor of the Law Review, a member of the Moot Court Honors Board and President of the Student Bar Association. At Whittier, he received an award as the Best Oral Advocate and the Outstanding Moot Court Graduate Award. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach (B.A., 1983), where he minored in Criminal Justice & Public Policy.
Before joining the firm, Mr. Ramirez worked as a Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where he conducted numerous misdemeanor and felony jury trials, including murder trials. He has also worked as a reserve police officer for the Whittier Police Department and the Monterey Park Police Department.
He serves as an advisor to several public entities on the issues of use of force, canine and SWAT issues and policies and procedures. He has provided training to thousands of police officers and supervisors, from around the country and Canada, over the past 20 years.
Mr. Ramirez regularly speaks to Chiefs of Police Organizations on liability and supervision issues. He also addresses supervisors of all ranks on how to recognize risk management issues.
Mr. Ramirez is an instructor on liability issues for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Basic SWAT School. He is also an instructor for the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) and for the National Tactical Officers’ Association (NTOA). He was a member of the State Attorney General’s Blue Ribbon SWAT Committee and he was a member of POST’s Executive Advisory Committee for SWAT Teams. He was a member of the LAPD Board of Inquiry, which examined LAPD SWAT operations. He is an approved California POST instructor.
Mr. Ramirez was profiled in the April 2003, California Lawyer Magazine, for his work in defending law enforcement. He was honored with the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS). He has been named as a 2005-2011, 2014 Super Lawyer for Southern California. He was also named to the distinguished American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), in 2005, an award only bestowed upon proven trial attorneys. Mr. Ramirez is also an Associate Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America.
He was selected as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1993 and, 2006, by two different Sheriffs. He was selected as the 2009 Alumni Attorney of the Year for Whittier School of Law. He has been selected twice as one of the Top 25 Municipal Attorneys in California by the Daily Journal. Mr. Ramirez has been awarded Certificates of Appreciation from the United States Army Special Operations Command (Fort Bragg, North Carolina) and from the United States Secret Service.
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Scott Bickle
Scott Bickle is a Captain for the Glendale Police Department. He has 25 years of service and is currently the Bureau Commander for the Special Investigations Division. He has served on SWAT for the past 17 years beginning as an operator, team leader (Sergeant) and is currently the Commander. Scott has also been one of the departments range masters and tactical trainers. Scott has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice Management from the Union Institute and University. Scott is currently a board member for the California Association of Tactical Officers.
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Tim Anderson

Tim retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in May, 2000, after 28.5 years of service.  His assignments with the department included fifteen years in Metropolitan Division where he served as an officer with the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), a supervisor with the K-9 Platoon, and both an officer and supervisor with the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT).  Additional assignments included supervisor with Operations West Bureau CRASH, Assistant Watch Commander Hollywood Patrol Division, OIC Southwest Special Problems Unit and a supervisor with the Anti-Terrorist Division where he was on loan to the FBI Anti-Terrorist Operations Center – Los Angeles Office.  Collateral duties included ten years as a diver/diver medic with the department’s Underwater Dive Unit.

In addition to his time with the LAPD, Tim retired as a Colonel from the United States Marine Corps in February, 1997, with 30 years of service.  Assignments included tours as Chief of the Rear Area Operations Group – First Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Commanding Officer – 3D ANGLICO, Commanding Officer – 4th Light Armored Infantry Battalion, Chief of Staff – Reserve Marine Air Ground Task Force Pacific (RMAGTF PAC), Assistant Chief of Staff/Operations – Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3D MEB) and Operations Officer – United States Navy Naval Special Warfare Command – Group One.

Tim has also earned a BA from San Jose State University, an MPA from the University of Southern California, and he is a graduate of the United States Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, Command and Staff College and the United States Army War College.

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Brian Jones

Brian Jones retired from the FBI Sacramento Field Office in 2015 after 28 years as a Special Agent.  He began his tactical career as an Operator on the FBI SWAT team in 1989 and was assigned for the last twenty years of his career as the SWAT Senior Team Leader.  During his tenure with the FBI, he was also assigned as the Police Training Coordinator, Principal Firearms Instructor and Principal Tactical Instructor.  He has extensive experience as a SWAT Team Leader and has been involved in multiple high profile tactical situations throughout the country.

Brian is president of his own training company, Pinnacle Tactical Solutions, Inc. (www.pinnacletactical.com).  He has provided or facilitated training to thousands of law enforcement officers throughout the country and overseas on a wide variety of topics. These include leadership, firearms, tactical team training, breaching, anti-terrorism, diversionary devices, and active shooter response.

He has been a member of CATO since 2001, and is currently a CATO Training Coordinator and a CATO Board Member.  He currently instructs several CATO classes and was awarded the CATO Special Recognition Award in 2013, for his commitment to regional SWAT teams and for his efforts in facilitating regional SWAT training.

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Ken Hubbs

Ken Hubbs is a Lieutenant and 34-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department. Lt. Hubbs has participated, managed, instructed and reviewed SWAT operations for over 30 years. Lt. Hubbs is the founder of the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) and has held the position of CATO President for 15 years. He is the program manager and developer of CA POST Advanced SWAT Commander, SWAT Command and Leadership training programs as well as Tactical Operations Liability and Supervising High-Risk Warrant Operation programs. Ken has instructed several thousand SWAT Commanders and supervisors from across California, the US, and internationally. Ken has been a member of the San Diego Police Use of Force Committee from 1998 to 2014. Ken was selected as a member of the POST SWAT Executive Committee tasked with developing the current California POST SWAT Guidelines. In addition to being an Executive Committee member, he served on the SWAT Command, Leadership, and Legal sub-committees. Ken possesses a great deal of experience in SWAT management, tactical operations, critical incident management, training, investigating officer-involved-shootings and use of force incidents, as well as conducting major incident reviews, and tactical team assessments.

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Wendy Brown

Wendy Brown is a Captain for the Sacramento Police Department. She has 23 years of sworn experience in a wide variety of assignments. While a Lieutenant, Wendy served as the Tactical Commander for the Sacramento Police Department’s full time SWAT Team. She served on the focus group creating the CATO Operator Certification structure and is currently the Director of the Certification and a CATO Board Member. Wendy has a bachelor’s degree in criminal Justice and is a graduate of California Command College. 

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Mike Hillmann is a law enforcement professional with 48 years of public service.  He is currently retired as a Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles Port Police and Assistant Sheriff of the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Departments.  While on LAPD, Chief Hillmann commanded the Special Operations Bureau and served as Commanding Officer for Incident Management and Training Bureau commanded Air Support Division and was an original member of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics and Team (SWAT) where he served as both Element and Squad Leaders. He is a court-qualified subject matter expert on crowd management, use of force, police tactics and SWAT. 

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Douglas McGeachy

Douglas McGeachy retired from the Santa Ana Police Department as a Deputy Chief in October 2018 after 26 years in law enforcement. During his tenure as a Deputy Chief, Doug commanded all three bureaus of the police department (Field Operations, Investigations, and Administration and Support). He also has command level experience in the Training, Traffic, and Patrol Divisions. Doug is a recipient of the Santa Ana Police Department’s Medal of Valor and Purple Heart as well as the Award of Valor from the California Peace Officers Association. Doug has served as a SWAT Operator, Team Leader, Assistant SWAT Commander, SWAT Commander, and SWAT Commanding Officer. He is also a member of the training cadre at the Golden West College SWAT Academy and teaches for the Human Performance Training Institute.

Deputy Chief McGeachy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Administration from California Baptist University, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of La Verne, and a Doctor of Public Administration from the University of La Verne. His dissertation titled “Managing Risk in Local Law Enforcement: Leadership Perspectives on Policy, Training, Performance, and Communication,” focused on law enforcement risk management efforts at the operational level and was awarded the university’s 2017 Outstanding Dissertation Award. Prior to his law enforcement career, Doug served in the United States Marine Corps for six years and has seven years of experience as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician.

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Brent Stratton
Brent Stratton has been a police officer since 2004, has been a member of CATO since 2007 and was a graduating member of CATO’s Strategic Leadership Program. He has spent a little over ten years assigned to SWAT as an operator, supervisor and commander. He has also worked a variety of assignments, some of which include gangs, robbery-homicide, internal affairs and professional standards. He has a BS in History from San Diego State University and is pursuing his Masters in Public Policy and Administration from Cal State Bakersfield. He sits on an advisory board/board of directors for three other non-profit organizations. He has been married to his wife since 2004 and they have four children.
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Marcus Sprague

Marcus Sprague is a Sergeant at the Santa Rosa Police Department. He was a graduating member of the CATO Strategic Leadership Program class #1 and has over 20 years of experience in a wide variety of assignments to include over ten years assigned to the SWAT team where he served as an operator, sniper and team leader. He has also worked a variety of assignments, some of which include crimes suppression, homicide, property crimes, narcotics and an auto theft task force. He has a BS in Business Administration and is pursuing his Masters in Law Enforcement Public Safety Leadership at San Diego State University. He also sits on an advisory board/board of directors for the Santa Rosa Police Foundation.

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