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P1 Exclusive: Odd man out at the Women's Seminar

Surviving the Streets
with Lt. Jim Glennon

About five years ago, Calibre Press began holding Street Survival Seminars that are conducted specifically for female law enforcement officers. The seminars are held twice a year, one in Las Vegas, NV and the other in Atlantic City, N.J. For the past four years I've been the third wheel - the odd-man-out if you will - as the sole male instructor. The Lead Instructor and architect of this seminar is Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith who also happens to be one of the five instructors for the other 40-plus Seminars we conduct annually.
Along with Betsy and me, we have Officer Lou Ann Hamblin, a police officer from the great state of Michigan. Lou Ann Hamblin first became a police officer in 1990 and holds a Masters degree in Human Performance Technology and Instructional Design. During her career she has become a firearms instructor, a defensive tactics instructor, and was an H&K Master Pistol Instructor who now conducts training for Team One Network. During the seminar, Lou Ann lectures about subject control and demonstrates the skills necessary to manage physically large and/or generally uncooperative subjects.
On rare occasion (three or four times in five years) Calibre Press will field a phone call from a male officer questioning the reason that the company feels they must host "Women's Only" Seminars. Probably because I'm male I get the task of calling the inquisitor to speak 'mano-a-mano.' After the initial guttural grunting ritual is out of the way, I ask the caller what his specific issues are about the women's seminar. The primary complaint of each has been basically the same, which I'll paraphrase here: "Why do they get their own seminar and we don't? Why can't we have one to talk about men's issues and keep them out of ours?"
I always respond by telling them one thing and asking them another: "First of all," I tell them, "men are certainly allowed to attend the Women's Seminar and many actually do. And second, what are the "men's issues" you think we need to discuss out of earshot of the females?"
Listen, I'm a guy, so I understand how guys think (as I generalize about the male gender) so I'm not surprised at the response of the male on the other end of the phone, which is usually something to the effect of: "Uh, umm, duh, I dunno, there must be something we need to talk about."
As the conversation continues and the caller feels more comfortable, two issues usually come up.

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