Joel Johnston is a recently-retired (May 2013) 28-year police veteran with a background in Patrol, Foot Patrol, and Traffic Enforcement, but primarily specializing in Use of Force training & program development, and Emergency Response (ERT) with the Vancouver Police Department.
He served from 1990 – 1998 as the Use of Force Coordinator for the VPD – with a cadre of 28 control tactics instructors, he was responsible for all officer safety, arrest & control tactics, and use of force training for the Department. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1998 and took over as operational Squad Leader of one of the Department’s four full time Emergency Response Team squads. He became the Training Coordinator for ERT in 2004 and the Officer-in-Charge in 2005.
He was seconded to the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General as the Provincial Use of Force and Municipal Emergency Response Teams Coordinator from 2005 – 2011.Originally from the Toronto area, Joel was a full-scholarship athlete at Simon Fraser University and has a BA in Economics from SFU. He was drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League in 1983.
He also holds certificates from Penn State University in Less Lethal Weapons Technologies, and Minnesota State University’s – Force Science Institute – Use of Force Analyst Program. He is a graduate of the FBI Defensive Tactics Instructor School, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Force Investigation School, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Advanced SWAT School.
Joel holds a third degree black belt in traditional Shotokan karate and has a background in Shoot Wrestling, Pankration, Police Judo and Crossfit® Striking.Recognized as a Use of Force Subject Matter expert witness by the Courts across Canada, Joel is a multiple-published author, presenter to numerous national and international conferences, consultant, and certified Instructor in numerous defensive tactics systems, less lethal weapons and firearms systems. He has been a member of numerous Working Groups with the US (NIJ) National Institute of Justice (Tactical Operations, Excited Delirium Syndrome, Less-Lethal Technologies, etc.).
He has been a member of numerous Canadian Police Research Center (CPRC) Working Groups (Vascular Neck Restraint, Conducted Energy Weapons, Excited Delirium Syndrome, etc.) He has been a member of numerous RCMP National Working Groups (Excited Delirium Syndrome, Conducted Energy Weapons, Patrol Carbine, Incident Management Intervention Model, Subject Behaviour-Officer Response Reporting, etc.). He is a founding member of the Canadian Law Enforcement Forum (CLEF) – an advisory body to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) on use of force and related matters. He is a Canadian Director of the International Law Enforcement Forum on Minimal Force Options.
He is a Force Response Options Instructor-Trainer for the Province of British Columbia and has instructed use of force-related subject matter internationally.
Joel is a Co-Principal of the Defensive Tactics Institute (DTI) – a training and consulting firm based in Vancouver, BC since 1988.