February 2019
A message from our National Training Director and Programs Coordinator...

As the National Training Director of the United States Deputy Sheriff's Association, I have the pleasure of working with the men and women of law enforcement all over the United States. Training is something I have always had a passion for and whole-heartedly believe it is of the utmost importance for those who serve the public.

Training increases knowledge, develops skills and confidence, and promotes professionalism. Law enforcement officers (LEOs) face difficult and dangerous situations every day, often having to make split second decisions. The more they can be prepared, mentally and physically, to cope with these situations, the more effective they will be.

LEOs prepare through training and experience. Therefore, it is vitally important that they get the most they can from the time allotted to training. This is especially true with the limited amount of time and resources many departments can provide their officers for training due to budget restrictions. In an age where police training and tactics are under constant scrutiny and there is a public perception problem with some in the media and public as well, the benefits of training cannot be overstated.

There are several key elements to training time. All training sessions need to have a learning point. This might sound like an obvious statement. However, during my years in law enforcement and training with hundreds of agencies across the country, I know this is not always the case. Too many times I have seen examples where those in charge are "messing with the rookies" or trying to impress with their perceived knowledge and tactical superiority. Training should be geared to improve, not impress. It needs to challenge trainees, potentially pushing their limits, but should never be unwinnable.

I stress to those attending our training courses to never quit, never give up, and never die in training. If we are doing an exercise utilizing Simunitions or airsoft, they are told they will never die in training. If they are hit they keep going no matter what. If we incorporate a downed officer drill during a scenario, this officer is wounded, maybe incapacitated, but never deceased. Some might see this mentality as not being an issue, but it is an essential part of mental preparation.

Trainees should leave with knowledge and skills which can be immediately utilized. Not that they don't need to continue practicing and training, but complex movements and knowledge which take time to learn are not practical. Your training should be applicable to the types of situations you encounter or could encounter. Stick to the basics as they will never let you down and can't be over-practiced.

Keep training flexible. It is impossible to prepare for every single situation and variable officers face. Therefore, keep it simple, flexible, efficient, and effective. When training for an active shooter situation in a certain building, don't try and develop a precise plan for approaching the structure. Variables faced in the real world will never allow this to happen. Factors like the primary entry point being inaccessible or having multiple or an unknown number of suspects can change the needed response.

When teaching officers how to clear a building, I can easily change the look of a structure by simply opening or closing certain doors or moving furniture around. Train with flexible teamwork principles which will work with any number of personnel responding in any type of structure. This is a primary focus of our Active Shooter Response/Tactical Entry Course I have developed for the organization.

Stay open-minded and never stop learning. Check out all the training that is available. When learning new skills, approach the training with a trial, error, and refinement process. Take it all in, test and refine it, evolve and adapt it possible.

Once a good foundation is established, it is important to practice and drill the techniques into muscle memory. In the real world, we rely on our instincts, experience, and training background when facing the countless challenges on the job.

There is always a limited amount of time to dedicate to training so make that time count. It might be the difference between life and death to you, your co-workers, or the citizens you serve. We encourage any agency to please contact us if we can assist you with your training needs. Also, please check out our training tips, tactics, and drills videos on our website, , and look for more to come.

Train hard and be safe!

Mike Willis
National Training Director & Programs Coordinator
US Deputy Sheriff's Association
Survival  Training
USDSA Trainers Provide Training at Kentucky Constable Association Conference

USDSA trainers, Mike Willis, Dave Hinners and Brian Boling traveled to Campbellville, KY, in January to provide training to over 100 Kentucky constables and other law enforcement officers from across the state at the 2019 Kentucky Constable Association Annual Conference. The training included instruction on traffic stops, felony/high risk stops, handcuffing, weapon retention, control holds and escorts, room entry/clearing, point shooting and movement tactics, and a PowerPoint presentation on use of force, ethics, and professionalism.

"The Kentucky Constable Association is proud to always partner with USDSA to bring excellent and professional training to Constables within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The USDSA delivers top quality training in various aspects of knowledge and expertise that is invaluable for officer safety and assuring they return home to their family and loved ones.  I commend USDSA and its staff for always being willing to be a part of the Kentucky Constable Training program and Constables across the Commonwealth are always eager to see them return to our state in providing their knowledge and training," said Jason Rector, President, Chairman and Training Director for the Kentucky Constable Association.

Constable Douglas Woodall, District 1, Clark County Kentucky, expressed his appreciation by saying, "All three instructors did a great job in the classroom and hands-on training. Anytime there's a presentation within two hours driving I'm sure most of the Constable's in central Kentucky will make the effort to attend."

Constable Rick Reynolds commented, "The training we received was, as always, on point and 100% professional. Thank you for giving us the knowledge we need to come home at night to our loved ones."

This statement is perfectly reflective of the USDSA vision: All law enforcement officers come home safely at the end of their shift.

USDSA Trainers attend 2019 SHOT Show

USDSA executive director, David Hinners and trainer, Brian Boling, with representatives form Smart Firearms
National training director, Mike Willis, and trainer, Brian Boling, with a representative from Fulcrum Target Systems 
USDSA trainers Mike Willis,  David Hinners , Brian Boling and  Mike Lloyd , were in Las Vegas last month attending the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show). The  SHOT Show  is well-known as a massive gathering for the shooting sports industry. 

Nearly one-third of the SHOT Show's exhibit halls are dedicated to protection equipment and tactical accessories needed by law enforcement, SWAT teams, private security and the armed forces. More than 650 exhibits at the show are manufacturers and distributors of the latest technology in communication products, eyewear, hearing protection, optics, scopes, sights, training and safety equipment, plus the latest releases of new firearms and accessories.

With the latest adaptations of firearms, protective equipment and tactical accessories, the SHOT Show was packed with opportunities for our staff to meet directly with manufacturers and suppliers who provide the best gear and training equipment for law enforcement officers.

This event gave USDSA trainers access to a diversified group of professionals and agencies in the law enforcement industry.  
Tactical Entry/Active Shooter Training at USDSA Headquarters

On February 6, USDSA hosted tactical entry/active shooter response training at the USDSA headquarters for several emergency response teams from Harvey County and Reno County in Kansas. Departments represented included:  Hutchinson Police Department Reno County Sheriff's Office Newton KS Police Department , and  Harvey County Sheriff's Office .

This foundational program consisted of close quarters combat training, tactical thinking, and teamwork drills. The officers worked on room clearing techniques in small groups. Elements of dynamic entry, stealth search, and active shooter scenarios were also addressed.  These officers gained confidence not only in their abilities but those of their fellow officers.  

"It is important that these officers train together to learn to communicate and coordinate their tactical response. It's critical for the safety of everyone involved. This training improves the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the department," said USDSA national training director, Mike Willis. 

View more photos from the training on the USDSA Facebook Page
Equipment  Donations
USDSA's equipment donation program provides safety equipment, free of charge, to under-funded departments.  Below, are a few thank you letters we have received this past month.  To see the complete listing of the many departments we have supported through this program, CLICK HERE.
Chouteau Police Department
Pictured: Chief Kyle Murry

It is with great pleasure and honor to send my appreciation to your association for awarding the Chouteau Police Department with two PBTs. We have received all items.  Adding these tools will greatly assist the officers in their duties.  Chouteau Police Department is very appreciative of what you have done for us and other departments, it's truly a big help.

Once again, a big thank you from Chouteau Police Department!


Kyle Murry
Chouteau Police Department
Huntington Police Department

On behalf of  the  members of the Huntington Police Department (City of Huntington, Texas) and myself, we would like to thank you for donating the bullet proof vest and med kits to our department.

Generous donations made to our department remind our  officers  that their  dedication to their duties does not go unnoticed.

We appreciate your donation & thank you for your admirable support,
Chief Bobby Epperly
Officer Darrell Small
Patrol Officers of The City of Huntington
Union County Sheriff's Office
Blairsville, Georgia

We are so grateful to you and the United States Deputy Sheriff's Association in you recent assistance in helping the needs of our Sheriff's Office.  We are so grateful for organizations like this that care about helping First Responders with valuable equipment.  

This was a huge asset for us.  We have been in need of first aid kits for the deputies on patrol.  Your quick response and agreeing to meet our needs with 48 first aid kits was much appreciated. The kits were passed out quickly and our staff was very thankful for them.

May God bless this organization abundantly for helping those who protect and serve.


Capt. D. Loyd
UPD Commander/UCSO
Mason County Sheriff's Office

As you know, the Mason County Sheriff's Office recently received some much needed traffic safety equipment from the United States Deputy Sheriff's Association.  The community we serve is rural and on the lower end of the economic scale.  As such, our small agency must always be resourceful with our available funds.  Grants, donations, inter-agency agreements are common terms at all budget meetings.

Thanks to the generosity of the USDSA, we received traffic vests, officer trauma kits, tactical flashlights, patrol vehicle first aid kits, and two portable breath test devices.  All of these items were sorely needed for our officers, but not necessarily a budget priority that would sustain the scrutiny of the fiscal hawks during budget talks.  These items will be deployed immediately and will increase our readiness as well as our effectiveness during emergency situations.

You have aided in the arming of my deputies with critical tools necessary to respond to citizens needs and to improve the safety of our officers.  I would like to personally thank the USDSA as an organization, and to you (Mike Willis) personally for working hand in hand with Chief Deputy Burgett to make this possible.

Stay safe,

Paul Gann
Mason County Illinois
End  Of  Watch
When a law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty, the loss is a tragedy for the family and the community they serve. The USDSA honors all law enforcement officers who  make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety of our communities. We urge everyone to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made. 

USDSA provides a cash donation to the primary beneficiary or memorial fund of any law enforcement officer in the United States, who perishes in the line of duty.  If you would like to contribute to this memorial fund, you may donate here.

Remembering those we lost, our thoughts and prayers are with their families and communities.
Sgt. Matthew Moreno
Las Animas County Sheriff's Office
 Officer Jermaine Brown
Miami-Dade Police Department, Florida
Sgt. Benton Bertram
Charlestown Police Department
Officer Edgar Flores
DeKalb County Police Department
Officer Jason Quick
Lumberton Police Department
North Carolina
Officer Eduardo Marmolejo
Chicago Police Department
Officer Conrad Gary
Chicago Police Department
Det. Deidre Mengedoht
Louisville Metro Police Department
Corp. Ronil Singh
Newman Police Department
Officer Michael  Smith
Henry County Police Department

Click here to visit our website for more End Of Watch Tributes
Other  News
USDSA Launches Post-Secondary 
Education  Scholarship Program

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the USDSA is pleased to announce 
a new post-secondary education scholarship program for dependent 
children of current, full-time commissioned law enforcement officers.
Click here for more information and to apply.
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Shoppers who start at will find the same Amazon they know and love, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

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Thank you for supporting the USDSA!
February Safety Tip: Tips for Runners, Walkers & Joggers
Here are some precautions to take to be safe while running, walking or jogging.
  1. Always tell someone where you are going. Even better, download an app that lets your loved ones follow you on your route. MapMyRun has a live-tracking feature you can easily turn on and off. Strava also just added a safety function, called Beacon, that sends a text to your chosen contacts with a link for live tracking so friends can see if you go off course. Don't ever share your info on social media.
  2. Stay on well-traveled and well-lit roads. Don't take shortcuts through woods, poorly lit areas, etc.
  3. Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
  4. If possible, run with a dog, a group or at least one other person. Two people are harder to control than one, so attackers are less likely to strike and if they do, you've just doubled your chance of survival. If you don't have someone to run with, get a dog. Or borrow a dog. Not only does it make you a less attractive target, dogs can sometimes sense danger before we can.
  5. Ditch the headphones. When you have loud music blaring in your ears, you can't hear a potential attacker come up behind you and it also slows your reaction time.
  6. Bring your phone. Having the ability to call 911 at any moment is a great comfort and having your phone turned on allows someone to find you as well!
  7. Vary your routes. Don't be predictable. When we run the same route, or the same two routes, day after day, it not only makes us easy targets for stalkers, we also have a tendency to zone out.       Altering your route makes you harder to track and keeps you more alert during your run because you are navigating unfamiliar terrain. The more alert you are, the more likely you are to escape an attack.
  8. Consider taking a self-defense class. You never know when you might need these skills. If you are attacked from behind self-defense experts tell you to elbow your attacker in the stomach, stomp on their instep, turn and shove the heel of your hand up their nose, then knee their groin. Remember to S-I-N-G. It stands for four vulnerable parts of a person: solar plexis, instep, nose, groin.
  9. Carry a noisemaker or whistle.
  10. Bring pepper spray. This tip is conditional because mace and pepperspray are not legal in every state, but if it is legal for you to carry it, do.
United States Deputy Sheriff's Association
2909 S. Spruce
Wichita, Kansas  67216