Terrorism conference at Texas A&M<BR>University-Commerce proves positive

Commerce – The First Annual Law Enforcement Advancement and Development Symposium (LEADS) was held this past weekend at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The three day event focused on increasing knowledge and critical thinking on terrorism from a criminal justice perspective.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at A&M-Commerce Doug Dailey says agents from both the FBI and DEA were on hand Saturday to give several presentations.

One session focused on active shooter response; for example how to better respond to situations involving active shootings, evident during the Virginia Tech tragedy. A second session spoke about drug recognition and enforcement, while another addressed hostage negotiation.

Prior to Saturday's breakout lectures, two days of courses on terrorism were held for college credit. 51 students from A&M-Commerce registered for the course.

The University also sent out flyers to several law enforcement agencies throughout Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. 18 officers attended; a majority from either Northeast Texas or the Metroplex. As an added incentive, officers from Texas could receive up to 20 hours of credit for attending, under Texas Commission for Law Enforcement Standards (TCLEOSE). Officers that attended were charged only $25, which included food.

Based on a survey issued by Dailey following the symposium, participants were very satisfied with their experience. He says a majority of officers and students especially enjoyed the breakout sessions, including the active shooter response presentation.

Dailey says this is one of just several conferences he'd like to put together inviting area law enforcement officers. For example, holding a conference on methamphetamine labs and better informing officers of their dangers.

The LEADS Symposium originated as way for the University to honor the memory of former student and University Police Officer Philip Washington. Washington was killed in January while working as a money courier in Dallas. To date, no arrests have been made in connection to his death.

Dailey says he expects even more participation in next summer's LEADS symposium. There's a good chance of that if flyers are sent out a bit sooner, according to Dailey, giving Law Enforcement Agencies a better opportunity to allow time off for their officers. Next year's symposium will cover correctional operations.