IPMBA’s International Flair

The international contingent in attendance at the IPMBA Conference was a little more prominent than usual, especially among the instructors.  Bill Levitt of Mocean was asked about embroidering country flags on the shirts, and true to form, he did not disappoint.

IPMBA members from four countries outside of the U.S. were introduced to true southern hospitality and a unique regional tradition – the crawfish boil.  Even those who had previously traveled in the U.S. probably had never experienced the piles of fresh, hot mudbugs served up with corn-on-the-cob, boudin balls, red beans and rice, and spicy gumbo.

No doubt our international colleagues had some great stories to tell when they returned to their home countries!

Australia sent a sole representative in the person of Adam Bernhardt of New South Wales Police, who once again assisted with the IPMBA Police Cyclist Course.  Scott Elliott of Niagara Regional Police migrated south from the “great white north” of Canada for his second consecutive conference.  Great Britain sent the diplomatic corps in the persons of repeat visitors Tom Lynch, MBE, and Gerard Robinson of the London Ambulance Service. 

Tom and Gerard conducted two sessions – one on planning for special events, and the other, the cleverly named “Trix R 4 Kidz”.  They were joined by first-timers Alan Hockley of the Hampshire Police (one of the agencies which pioneered the use of bike-mounted cameras for evidence-gathering) and Matt Langridge of the Thames Valley Police, IPMBA’s trusty UK correspondent for IPMBA News.  Matt presented two workshops, one about using bikes for covert operations, and the other about how terrorism investigations can impact a community’s relationship with its police.

Not to be outdone by their British colleagues, the Dutch sent an equally large contingent comprised of stalwart Tommy Hamelink of the Hague Police and the trio of Sjef Brouwers, Corne Sprangers, and Wout Hoeks from the Midden & West Brabant Police Force.  Their tactics and techniques were well-received and their workshops well-attended.  Perhaps that had something to do with Sjef’s “hook....” 

The question on everyone’s lips was, “are wooden shoes equipped with SPDs?”  If they are, the left them off while introducing Dutch bike handling skills, arrest techniques, crowd control measures, and personnel selection.

© 2007 IPMBA.  This article appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of IPMBA News.

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