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Courthouse Journal

The Courthouse Journal is the official newsletter of the Washington Association of County Officials. Along with a newsletter to members, WACO also hosts the Courthouse Journal blog.

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Jul 07

2022 WACO Annual Conference – Keynote Training Announced!

Posted on July 7, 2022 at 12:37 PM by Cella Hyde

The WACO Annual Conference is just around the corner and is filled with exciting speakers and highly requested trainings. This includes an incredibly pertinent and valuable training on Situational Awareness by Jesus M. Villahermosa with Crisis Reality Training.

Jesus is regarded as an expert in the subject of surviving an active lethal threat event. He served as a deputy sheriff and sergeant for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for over 32 years, served on the S.W.A.T. Team for 30 years as the Pointman on the Entry Team, and was the first certified Master Defensive Tactics Instructor for law enforcement personnel in WA State. Jesus has also taught over 800,000 professionals and students across the country with an emphasis on their personal safety. Since 1988, he has primarily focused on the issues of school related and workplace violence.  

Participants of Jesus’ training will come away with a better understanding of what drives gut instincts in certain situations and what those instincts are trying to tell people. They will learn practical skills to help actively practice situational awareness and identify some of the pre-cursors of violence which will allow time to implement a response or evasion plan to mitigate the risk of an assault.

Not only is Jesus’ training extremely relevant, as we find ourselves at a time where tensions in schools, workplaces, and civic offices are at an all-time high, but the overarching message of staying aware in high-risk situations runs parallel with our conference theme. Your awareness in these situations could save your life, or even the life of another, and your awareness outside of those situations can be just as impactful. Jesus is passionate about inspiring those in attendance in believing that they can help to Make a Difference in the places they work, learn, and live.

“I feel that making a difference means to impact and positively affect others around you in a way that makes them want to seek a path of continuous improvement in the various areas of their lives.” Jesus told WACO staff, “I believe that it is the everyday make-a-difference warrior that truly brings positive change in our world!”

In addition to frequently consulting with various media outlets and co-producing segments of The Sheriff’s Report on Comcast Cable, Jesus has been a guest and interviewed for a variety of radio and T.V. talk shows including CBC radio in Canada, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN’s Headline News, and others. While Jesus’ impact has been huge and far reaching, he holds fast to the idea that all actions make a difference – especially the small ones.

“In my personal experience, I have found that it is the small actions that impact people the most. I met a young man in Ohio during one of my speaking engagements and he told me he wanted to have a career in law enforcement. We spoke for a few minutes and when we were finished, I handed him one of my Team challenge coins. I told him that I believed if he worked hard and stayed focused on his goal, he could achieve it. I then told him that when that happened, I wanted him to call me directly and let me know he had accomplished his goal.   

A few years later, he called me to say thank you for believing in him and for giving him a challenge coin as he was now officially a law enforcement officer. Needless to say, I was humbled and reminded again that small investments into providing others Hope, can lead to big results!  Be patient as some results take time to mature.”

Every single person has at least one story of someone that inspired them and made a lasting impact - even a nationally recognized expert that educates, empowers, and motivates professionals from all walks of life. Here’s Jesus’ story of someone whose impact still makes a difference to him today:

“My high school wrestling coach, Harper Hill, never gave up on me during my tenure wrestling for him. I was small and wrestled in a weight class that I was under weight to wrestle in. But he instilled in me that my physical size didn't matter as much as what was the size of my heart. He motivated me to work harder by wrestling other team members who were bigger than me.  

I worked harder on my cardio in hopes to outlast my much bigger and stronger opponents and didn't complain when he pushed me harder than what I was used to. This eventually led to a two-year undefeated record and two Washington State wrestling championship titles. When I was later inducted into the Pierce County/Tacoma Hall of Fame, I was touched that he showed up to support me even though I had not seen him in years! Thank you, Coach Hill, for not giving up on me!”


Jesus’ training, “Situational Awareness: Personal Safety is Thinking at the Speed of Life!” will take place as part of the WACO Annual Conference on Thursday, September 29th from 8:00AM – 10:00AM in-person and streamed through our virtual platform.

Register for the WACO Annual Conference here!

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Thank you to WACO Annual Conference Sponsor Amerigroup for sponsoring this keynote training.
Amerigroup Washington is dedicated to providing world-class care and improving the health of Washington communities. Since 2013, Amerigroup has been creating healthier lives together with their members and partners. Amerigroup currently serves over 270,000 individuals receiving Apple Health Medicaid benefits across all 39 Washington State counties. 

Learn more about Amerigroup here: https://www.amerigroup.com