I did a week at Thunder Ranch in TX a few years back. Fantastic! One learns TONS more from these types of courses than any of the basic, minimal requirement courses could ever WISH to provide. My partner that week later attended Gunsite. In comparing the two, he said TR had more on-range time and first hand instruction whereas GS had more classroom and lecture. Both certainly have their place and necessity.
Biggest thing for me from these level of schools is the people that instruct. While the local course at the gun club, VFW hall, etc may be taught by a retired police officer or the like, these top level schools are taught by those that lived this type of work environment day in, day out for years. They've been there, done that again and again. They're the ones the local instructor gets taught by (if the local guy is smart anyways). When law enforcement and gov't agencies send their officers there, is there much doubt?
Shoot safe, shoot often