Around 800 police officers will descend on the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York, this week to attend the New York Tactical Officers Association Conference. Over three days, officers can attend dozens of workshops designed to prepare them for combat: there are training modules for the AR-15 rifle, a seminar on how to hide from a sniper in an urban environment, and several workshops on the Israeli martial art Krav-Maga.
On the last day of the conference, Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for the Clarion Project, will lecture about terrorism for six hours in a room that seats 700. Mauro is considered to be an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist by the Southern Poverty Law Center— a characterization he vigorously disputes.
The conference, which is sponsored by the defense contractor Northrop Grumman, the maker of stun guns Taser International, and the teargas manufacturer Combine Systems, among others, is not open to the press or the public. But the event is drawing sharp criticism both for its promotion of military-style police training and equipment, and for the role given to Mauro and the Clarion Project.