Meet our certified instructors

Patriot Instructors are certified by one or more nationally recognized organizations to instruct every class offered.   Our staff is comprised of veteran military men and women, and seasoned law enforcement professionals.  Combined, we have decades of active duty and instructional experience.  We are true professionals with a common goal: to make you better through real-world, quality training experiences.

Robert Copechal - President and Executive Director
, has been employed as a full-time police officer since 1995, serving as a uniformed patrol officer, motorcycle patrol member, patrol unit supervisor, academy instructor, criminal investigation unit supervisor, and Bureau Office Commander.  He has participated in numerous protection details for both foreign and domestic dignitaries, and has received several recognitions and awards as part of his career.  Bob graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice.

Copechal maintains current instructor certifications including:  Handgun, Shotgun, Rifle, and Tactical Shotgun; Fox Labs OC Spray; Monadnock MDTS System; Lamperd Less Lethal Shotgun; Spontaneous Knife Defense; and he has also earned his third degree black belt in Okinawan martial arts, and his first degree black belt in Japanese martial arts. 

The Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas has recognized Bob as an Expert Witness in the field of firearms, and he has offered testimony during trial in this regard.

Copechal has completed professional coursework offered by various federal, state, local, and private organizations.  This course work includes, but is not limited to: 2010 Use of Force Symposium; Hostage Officer Survival; Background Investigations; Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Identification and Enforcement; Survival Spanish; Formula for Survival; Stress Shooting; and Interview and Interrogation, all of which were offered at the state level.  Copechal has also attended the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Master Firearms and Defensive Tactics Instructor workshops.  He has attended the 2011 Warrior Science Group Bulletproof Mind and Mental Preparation for Combat Seminar; Defensive Tactics Institute Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds; Heckler and Koch Firearms and Harley Davidson Motor Company Motor Officer Survival; United States Drug Enforcement Administration Methamphetamine Clandestine Laboratories Course; Caliber Press Incorporated three-day Street Survival Training; MPOETC Teaching Techniques and Methods; United States Army Military Police Counter-drug Investigations Course; Federal Bureau of Investigation Interview and Interrogation; and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Basic Instructor Development.

J.J.L.  --  Ed. D. - Curriculum Development and Senior Project Advisor.   "Doc's" accomplishments have spanned across military, law enforcement, academia, and corporate worlds.  He has served as Public Safety Director for a Pittsburgh area college, and currently serves as a Municipal Chief of Police.  He is responsible for birthing the school’s Criminal Justice, Safety and Security Program, which is currently growing into one of the most respected programs of its kind.  He is also a Pennsylvania State Constable and Consultant for companies and organizations in need of internal and external cultural and leadership effectiveness.

"Doc" is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Air Force with over 20 years of service earning numerous military awards and decorations.  His service included such positions as Director of Productivity and Quality; Logistics Management Officer; Chief of Staff during Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Commander of Airbase Security, Helicopter Crewman and Door Gunner during the Vietnam War; as well as Master Trainer.

Currently, he has over 1,800 hours of military, police, and civilian training in such areas as law enforcement, emergency operations, incident command, nuclear-chemical-biological warfare, emergency-operational-strategic planning, organizational development and behavior, total quality management, conflict resolution, mediation, hostage negotiations, team building, leadership, and operations management.

His vast teaching experience includes his role as Adjunct Professor at Robert Morris University and Duquesne University.   His teaching experience as a Workforce Trainer has been utilized at Allegheny County Community College, Slippery Rock University, Local-State-Federal government agencies, civic groups, and non-profit organizations.

"Doc" has authored many publications on subject matters involving military leadership, problem solving, teaming, and process improvement, and has published study guides, teaching curriculum, strategic plans, and articles used by such establishments as schools, the National Guard, and the Air Force Reserve.  

"Doc" received his Ed.D. in Education from Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a concentration in Adult Education.  His M.A. in Regional Planning was received at California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania and he received his B.S. in Criminal Justice from Edison State College, Trenton, New Jersey.

J. A. M. - Training Services Senior Advisor and Master Staff Instructor, has earned his Associate's Degree - Administration of Criminal Justice at the Community College of Allegheny County.

John joined the WCCC staff as an Act-120 Instructor in 2006.  He has been a part-time instructor for his department since 1993, and has also instructed for other State University Criminal Justice programs since 1998. He has been serving in full time state level law enforcement since graduating from the Police Academy in 1989.

John has been an Adjunct Law Enforcement Instructor for: Penn State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Westmoreland County Community College Police Academy.

In his full time job, he has worked various full time assignments including Uniformed Patrol, Motorcycle Patrol, Criminal Investigations, and is currently assigned to Vehicle and Identity Fraud Investigations.

He has also been assigned additional duties including but not limited to Firearms Instructor, Patrol Rifle Instructor, Modified Tactical Shotgun Instructor, ASP Baton Instructor, Auto Theft Task Force, School Bus Inspections, Employment Background Investigations, and Dignitary Protection.

He holds additional instructor certifications in Chemical Aerosol Spray Instructor, NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor for Pistol, Shotgun and Patrol Rifle.  NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Certified Range Safety Officer, NRA Certified Personal Protection Instructor, Monadnock Expandable Baton Instructor, Monadnock Defensive Tactics System Instructor, Redman Intermediate Use of Force Instructor. He is a trained Law Enforcement Armorer for Glock, Remington, Sig-Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Beretta and Colt. He has also completed the United States Army Military Police School Advanced Law Enforcement Training Division (Joint Task Force-6) Executive and Witness Protection Services, and Special Weapons and Tactics Courses, in addition to many other advanced law enforcement training courses.

J.R.L. - Master Staff Instructor, is a 17-year law enforcement veteran, spending the past 14 years with the PA Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control. He is a certified firearms instructor for both the regional office and the Special Operations Team.

A true patriot in every sense of the word, John is frequently providing great historical motivation to Patriot staff and students, and inspiration to further the intellectual side of our mission. 

JR has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Criminal Justice from the University of Pittsburgh. He holds a multitude of certifications in many facets of law enforcement, firearms, defensive tactics, SWAT, and mental preparation training. 

He is also an Instructor-Trainer with the National Rifle Association, a competitive small-bore rifle competitor, and is an avid practical pistol and patrol rifle shooter.


P.R.E. - Senior Staff Instructor, is currently the Chief of Police a municipal department in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He is a life-long resident of the Monongahela Valley, and has over 30 years of law enforcement experience.  He specializes in pistol, shotgun, and expandable baton instruction.  

Ricky received his ACT 120 certification from the Pennsylvania State Police Southwest Training center, and currently holds instructor certifications from the Municipal Police Officers Educations and Training Commission, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and ASP Corporation. 

He has been an active law enforcement instructor for decades, having been responsible for the training and oversight of training of thousands of police officers and recruits.

C.M.Z. - Senior Staff Instructor, has over 25 years of experience as a Police Officer at both the local and state level. His expertise is based on experience. Thirteen of those years have been as a department firearms instructor.  He is a NRA Certified Pistol and Rifle Instructor, NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, and is  also certified by the Pennsylvania State Police as a Firearms Instructor

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