The National Institute for Jail Operations proudly reports the success of the JAILCON23 Western Regional Conference at the Gila River Resort at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, AZ, June 5-7, 2023, the 7th annual corrections training conference for the Western Region.

The conference sold out once again this year, having over 375 corrections professionals from several states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming in attendance.

DAY 1 - June 5, 2023

We began the conference with our Opening Session, starting with a flag ceremony presented by the Honor Guard from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (AZ). Also from Pinal County were Trenton and Breanna Yardley, who provided us with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, following which, NIJO Executive Director, Tate McCotter , led all in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. Following the flag ceremony, welcome remarks were given by host agency representatives: Sheriff David Rhodes, Yavapai County (AZ) and President of the Arizona Sheriffs’ Association, and Chief of Police Jesse Crabtree, Gila River Indian Community (AZ). Following the opening session, individuals attended three 1.5 hour break-out training sessions with the option of five topics during every session. Training sessions were taught by top corrections experts from across the country, including: Keith Hoskins (National TrainingAdministrator, NIJO and Ret. Jail Administrator, Boone County Sheriff’s Office, MO); Johnny Knatt (JJK Workplace, LLC); Rob Yantis (Jail Commander, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, SD); Dr. Steve Sampson (Founder, Institute for Social Intelligence; Aaron Dawson (Ret. Warden, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, AL); Jim Jellison (Managing Partner, Jellison & Robens); Joshua Arnold (Director of Operations, NIJO); Rachel Love (Partner, Struck Love Bojanowski & Acedo PLC); Glen Ercanbrack (Deputy Director, Adult Probation & Parole (Ret.), Utah Department of Corrections); Chief Deputy Mike Haley, Ph.D. (Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA); Blake Hamilton (Partner, Dentons Durham Jones & Pinegar P.C.); Vanessa Losicco (Assistant City Attorney, City of Tempe, AZ); and Brian Hunt (Loss Control Manager, Arizona Counties Insurance Pool). Sessions throughout the conference were targeted for all levels of corrections from sheriff and jail administrator to line level staff. Following the training sessions we mingled with attendees and vendors in the Welcome Reception. The Welcome Reception included hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, pin/patch/coin trading, and lots of prize giveaways sponsored by our generous sponsors.

DAY 2 - June 6, 2023

The second day of JAILCON had the attendees buzzing with excitement. For the safety and security of our Keynote Speaker and his family we did not reveal his identity. After being introduced by his good friend, Mark Owens took the stage. Mark is a Retired Navy Seal and American Hero. He served on the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams for 14 years, including extensive time on SEAL Team 6. He shared inspiring stories that illustrated how to achieve the “SEAL Team Mindset.” Those points were teamwork; comfortable being uncomfortable; shared sense of purpose; prioritize and eat one bite at a time; be “all in, all the time;” change, evolve, and adapt; relationships/trust; 3 foot world; and teamwork (again!). Attendees left feeling motivated and inspired to do and be better individuals and team players. We thank all of our attendees for respecting Mark’s privacy by not taking any photos of him.

Following the Keynote Session, attendees gathered together in the Exhibit Hall to visit with the 50 corrections-specific vendors. Mark Owens also joined us in the Exhibit Hall for a meet and greet with attendees where they could purchase a signed copy of one of his books. We’d like to express our deepest appreciation to all of our vendors and especially our sponsors, for supporting JAILCON.

The afternoon was spent in two more 90-minute training sessions. Topics ranged from, “A Jail Officer’s Guide to Detox Protocol,” “Leading the Challenging Employee,” “Policy Writing,” and “Supervisory Decision Making.” Training Sessions were taught by: Chief Deputy Mike Haley, Ph.D. (Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA); Megan Kennedy, RN, CCHP, (Director – Detention Health Services, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, AZ); Aaron Dawson (Ret. Warden, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, AL); Chief Larry Hall (Police Chief, City of Buckeye, AZ); Blake Hamilton (Partner, Dentons Durham Jones & Pinegar P.C.); Rachel Love (Partner, Struck Love Bojanowski & Acedo PLC); Tate McCotter, CJM (Executive Director, NIJO); Rob Yantis (Jail Commander, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, SD); Michele Molinario (Partner, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, P.L.C.); Derek Graffious (Associate Attorney, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, P.L.C.); Christy Heisner (Detention Lieutenant, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, AZ); and Sean Stewart (Consultant, Stewart Criminal Justice Consulting).

That evening, attendees and vendors joined together on the hotel’s event lawn for our annual Corrections Appreciation Event. We had outdoor games including giant jenga and connect four, and for the 6th year in a row our JAILCON Cornhole Tournament! Attendees additionally enjoyed ice cream bars, a cash bar, and DJ. All of the proceeds from the event went toward our fundraiser for the 100 Club of Arizona. Thank you to all who attended and donated to this great cause!

Tuesday evening all attendees and sponsors/exhibitors were invited to attend the Corrections Appreciation Event, the Heatwave Summer Party, at the Talking Stick Resort Pool and Sunwatcher Bar. Attendees enjoyed music, frozen treats, contests and prize giveaways. The biggest highlights of the night were the belly flop contest, the dance off, and, for the 5th year in a row, the highly competitive JAILCON Cornhole Tournament!

DAY 3 - June 7, 2023

We started our final day of the conference with three 1.25 hour training sessions, with a special block of training dedicated to medical professionals. Topics from these sessions included, “Avoid Disaster: Effective Quality Control,” “Progressive Discipline,” “Initiating Positive Press & PR,” “Classification and It’s Legal Implications,” and “Supervisory Liability.” Trainers for our final day of classes included: Joshua Arnold (Director of Operations, NIJO); Rachel Love (Partner, Struck Love Bojanowski & Acedo PLC); Glen Ercanbrack (Deputy Director, Adult Probation & Parole (Ret.), Utah Department of Corrections); Sean Stewart (Consultant, Stewart Criminal Justice Consulting); Mark Robens (Partner, Jellison & Robens); Matt Hedrick (Deputy Chief, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, AZ); Sam Salzwedel (Public Information Office, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, AZ); Rob Yantis (Jail Commander, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, SD); Chris Olson (Chief of Police, University of Arizona); Sheila Polk (County Attorney, Yavapai County, AZ); Dr. Neil Fisher, CCHP (Assistant Chief Medical Officer & Medical Director, Wexford Health Sources, Inc.); and Ben Griego (President, Correctional Solutions).

The final event of the conference was our annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon where correctional professionals and agencies from the Western Region are recognized for their dedication and excellence in the profession throughout their careers, and especially during the past year. We began the luncheon with NIJO Executive Director, Tate McCotter, presenting AZ 100 Club Director, Angela Harrole, with a check for $1,016.00. The AZ 100 Club provides financial assistance to families of first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty and provide resources to enhance their safety and welfare. This money was raised by attendees throughout the conference through a raffle and the cornhole competition. Thank you to our attendees for your generous donations. Commander Brent Kimbriel from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (AZ) then presented awards on behalf of the Arizona Sheriffs’ Association and NIJO Executive Director Tate McCotter presented the JAILCON23 Western Corrections Professionals Awards on behalf of the National Institute for Jail Operations. You can read more about the awards and the recipients here.

We’d like to thank all of the attendees, vendors, sponsors, and instructors for their contributions and participation at JAILCON this year. We are pleased to report another successful conference, and look forward to seeing you again next year!



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