Police Training Shoot House, Home Grown and Impressive

Police Training Shoot House, Home Grown and Impressive

A police training success story. Sheriff’s ingenuity with the help of the local community build a training shoot house from 100% donations.
Jackson County sheriff’s Deputy Phil Cicero says he’s pleased with the agency’s new “shoot house” that will be used for SWAT training and training for other high-risk calls inside homes.

This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.

The training house was assembled from materials donated by several area businesses. It sits at the Jackson County Sports Park on Kershaw Road, but the structure is restricted from public use.

The 40-foot-by-48-foot building certainly isn’t a handsome piece of real estate. Its sides already are chipped from bullet holes and the bare plywood exterior doesn’t project all the comforts of home.

But the shoot house gives SWAT deputies a place to practice room-clearing, forced entries and other important tactical skills.

The shoot house contains several rooms that can be altered to give the space a different look for each training exercise.

Trained Police Dogs In Big Demand

Trained Police Dogs In Big Demand

K9_2

Police Dogs or K9’s have become very commonplace in our everyday lives. Travel though an airport or spend a day that the mall you are sure to see these extremely well training police canines “working” right alone side their two legged partners.

Nearly a day doesn’t pass when I don’t read about an heroic act, a drug bust, or far too often a tragic injury or death of one of these highly trained law enforcers.

Always curious by the many facets public safety training for both policeman and firefighters I recently read an excellent article written by a Massachusetts news reporter, Jessica Trufant (see the contact information below), that added to my knowledge base of the world of K9’s, their training, commitment and (growing) importance.

Ken Ballinger is the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department has seen a huge spike in the number of departments investing in police dogs following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. More recently AD Ballinger has been flooded with calls pouring into his cell phone in the weeks following the Boston Marathon bombings.

“These aren’t your grandfather’s police dogs,” Ballinger said during a recent training session. “Some of these dogs are just getting back from seven days in Boston with SWAT teams.”

Dwane Foisy, president of the Massachusetts Police Work Dog Association, has also received many inquiries from departments interested in bomb-detecting dogs since Patriots Day.

With more than 20 years as a K9 officer, Foisy, who works for the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, just like Ballinger said he saw an upswing in bomb-detecting police dogs after 9/11, but then the demand dropped off. He said bomb dogs might not be realistic for small departments, because calls for suspicious packages peak after an attack, but then trail off.

“When you have a narcotics dog, they’re making seizures of narcotics and money, and there’s a return on the investment,” Foisy said. “With explosives dogs, you may not get calls for service very often.”

While small agencies’ interest in bomb dogs will likely simmer, Ballinger said the demand for multi-purpose police dogs is higher than ever.

For every dog that retires, we’re replacing it with five. said Ballinger

At the Auburn University Canine Detection Training Center in Anniston, Alabama Labrador Retrievers are learning the Auburn-patented vapor-wake training, which means they’ll be able to smell a plume of scent left by an explosive device that is worn or carried. John Pearce, associate director of the Training Center, said they’ve used vapor-wake training for eight years.

Pearce said the vapor-wake trained dogs cost $24,950 and dogs skilled in vapor-wake and standard explosive detection cost $29,950. The Labs trained in Anniston are used by law enforcement agencies across the country, including the New York Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police. Pearce said he couldn’t say with absolute certainty, but if one of his Labs had been at the Boston Marathon the pressure cooker bombs that killed three people might have been discovered before they went off. For more information on the training center in Anniston click here:

Click here to view original web page at enewscourier.com

A Drastic Increase In The Use Of Dogs

A second-generation K9 handler, Ballinger 20 years ago never imagined that dogs in 2013 would be sniffing out contraband cell phones in prisons, or wearing cameras to stake out buildings before raids.

K9_1But Ballinger has seen a drastic increase in the use of dogs and the sophistication of training, as case law and public opinion have shifted to treat K9s as legitimate police tools.

He expects a greater presence of K9s before and during large public events, despite some pushback from privacy rights advocates who may consider the use of dogs unlawful searching.

“Standards for privacy are high in Massachusetts, but the standard of reasonableness reflects the world we live in now,” Ballinger said. “A dog walking around and sniffing you is a lot less intrusive than a cop grabbing you and shaking you like a leaf.”

“There’s nothing in modern technology that will be more accurate or sensitive than a dog’s nose,” Ballinger said.

There is no state oversight or registry for the approximately 300 police dogs in Massachusetts, but Foisy said training and annual certification through a reputable organization or police or sheriff’s department is essential to the integrity of K9 units.

“When you go into court, you need to have the paperwork and justification for how you know what your dog is telling you is correct, and that’s through training and maintenance,” he said.

I encourage you to click on the link below to read more about the extremely valuable training work that Foisy, Ballinger and many others are doing. Get a history lesson and learn some interesting facts, for example:

  • Learn how in 1903 Ivan Pavlov studied conditioned response in salivating dogs. A
  • Learn how today’s police dogs are trained for “detection not destruction” of evidence.
  • Food and veterinary care average about $800 a year, depending on the department and health of the dog. Ashland Animal Hospital, for example, provides care for Dax at no cost.
  • The cost for starting a K9 unit ranges from several thousand dollars to $50,000, depending on who breeds the dog, where it goes for training and the equipment the department needs.

Here are several additional ways to stay connected and informed with Public Safety Training:

  1. LinkedIn Group – Public Safety Training Center Planning, click here to join
  2. Public Safety Training Newsletter – a monthly e-newsletter covering the top news, events and announcements in Public Safety Training. Click here and sign-up (lower right) to read the current issue and get updates.
  3. Responder Gateway – A full featured First Responder news and resource hub. One Place, One Stop, One Source, Visit here and receive daily or weekly fire service or law enforcement news events, alerts or important announcements.
  4. Bill Booth Blog – Timely opinions and articles, on issues and comments about public safety training center management, funding and operations. Click here to read and get updates.

Jessica Trufant can be reached at 508-634-7556 or JTrufant@wickedlocal.com.

Link to the news report: HERE

Police Training Center Going Regional In The Rockies

Officials are planning the biggest law enforcement training facility in the northern Rockies.

With a growing number of sworn officers on staff, it’s getting more difficult to accommodate training needs. Classroom and gym space is crowded, and they often have to break training up over several days said Meridian Idaho Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea .

After 5 months of extensive research, and travel the Interact Business Group completed a Training Center Strategic Business Plan for the City of Meridian Public Safety Training Center . The plan included an in-depth training needs assessment, construction and maintenance  cost estimates, multiple conceptual site layouts. a  regional focus group and web based surveys to measure the most pressing training needs in the region.

  1. Who will use the training center? 
  2. What training will be provided at the center?
  3. What will it cost to build the center? 
  4. What will it cost to annually operate the center? 
  5. What are the preliminary site plans and equipment requirements? 
  6. What is the cost benefit of the training center?
  7. What is the potential of offering training classes to outside public agencies and industries?
Reviewing the police training site layout

Reviewing the police training center site layout

A Regional Training Center Approach

And it won’t just serve Meridian, Police Lt. Jamie Leslie said. With the Idaho State Police and Peace Officer Standards and Training facilities just blocks away, the facility will benefit law enforcement agencies statewide. And with the nearest scenario village in Salt Lake City, the Meridian site could attract officers from throughout the region.

“In a facility like we envision, I can do classroom, I can bring them into the range … and then right into a scenario,” Leslie said. “So they get to try all those disciplines every day we train. I can set up an accident situation that turns into a use-of-force type situation. Get those officers on their toes thinking all the time.”

Interact and Meridian Training Center Planning Team

And it’ll allow multiple agencies to train together, he said, so they can better coordinate when they end up at the same emergency call.

Another advantage? It’ll make training more dynamic. Right now, officers know exactly what kind of training they’re in for based on where they train. If they’re at the shooting range, they’re practicing with firearms. If they’re in the mat room, they’re practicing close-quarters tactics and arrest techniques. In the scenario village, they’ll never know what’s coming.

That will no longer be the case once the proposed $4.5 million facility is built, Basterrechea said. Plans include a shooting range, classroom space and a “scenario village” where officers can practice anything from traffic stops to bank robberies to active shooter scenarios in a realistic simulated environment.

The proposal is still in its very early stages, Meridian Economic Development Director Brenda Sherwood said, but plans call for several expansions to the department’s existing facility, built in 2002 with a much smaller community in mind.

Meanwhile, Sherwood said, the city hopes to attract and involve private industry to meet its growing law enforcement needs. Uniform makers, equipment companies and firearm manufacturers will all find a ready-made market as the Meridian Police Department expands.

 

To read more about similar police and fire department training center projects and more details about Strategic Business Planning Process follow the links below

  • LinkedIn Group – Public Safety Training Center Planning, click here to join
  • Public Safety Training Newsletter – a monthly e-newsletter covering the top news, events and announcements in Public Safety Training. Click here and sign-up (lower right) to read the current issue and get updates.
  • Responder Gateway – A full featured First Responder news and resource hub. One Place, One Stop, One Source, Visit here and receive daily or weekly fire service or law enforcement news events, alerts or important announcements.
  • Bill Booth Blog – Timely opinions and articles, on issues and comments about public safety training center management, funding and operations. Click here to read and get updates.

Click here to view original web page at www.mymeridianpress.com

Training helped police officer survive

Another story in the How My Training Saved My Life series. This time a police officer directly attributes his training to saving his life.

 

Fort Wayne police have shifted officer training to less classroom time and more role playing in real-life scenarios.  It’s something they say may have saved Officer Treven Brown’s life when he wrestled a firing gun out of a suspect’s hand Friday.

FWPD: Training helped officer survive being shot at

Juan Barrientes with the FWPD training division said Officer Brown did as he was trained when he controlled the suspect’s hands.  It’s FWPD’s number one priority when preparing officers for what has been a violent year.

“I’m glad that he was able to apply some of the training concepts and principles that we use in a real world application and was allowed to go home safely that night,” Barrientes said.

There have been 18 homicides in Allen County so far in 2013.  A handful of times, Fort Wayne police have shot and killed a suspect.  These violent statistics have leaders at FWPD saying this shift in training, couldn’t have come at a better time.

It has been said many times, “It all starts at the police academy!” Once again this success story proves the old say to be true!

Click here to view original web page at www.wane.com

Combined Fire and Police Training Center May Cut Costs By $300,000

The combined Fire and Police Training Center in Round Rock Texas (near Austin) may cut current training cost by around $300,000. Earlier this year Interact Business Group completed a strategic business plan for the project that took into account existing training conditions, including travel to out of area training locations, staff overtime and equipment efficiencies. The combined training center project cost estimate is $38.3 million and is being planned for voter approval on November’s ballot as a bond issue.

“This is looking at the future of not only the police officers safety, but the citizens safety,” said Round Rock Police Training Sgt. Sean Johnson. “As we grow (population of more than 100,000), we need a training area to allow our officers to be the best that they can get.”


See the Sgt Sean Johnson interview and XKAN news report

Most, if not all, training would be done right on site, eliminating travel costs and time. It would also cut the cost of officers and firefighters being away from their regular posts.

It’s not just a dollar issue for the city’s emergency responders. “There are (high risk calls) that don’t happen in the real world every day,” Johnson said. “So, if we don’t practice those skills, it’s a perishable skill, then we’ll lose that skill set.”

The strategic plan identified several key factors in the analysis:

  1. What are the current and future training needs? 
  2. What are the training need priorities?
  3. What will it cost to build the facility?   
  4. What are the preliminary site plans and equipment requirements? 
  5. What will it cost to annually operate the facility?
  6. What are the potential revenue opportunities from outside users?
  7. Are there possible partnering arrangements with other area departments?
  8. What is the cost benefit of a facility over existing conditions training?

A key training hurdle facing the departments was finding local public spaces for repetitive training. For example, fire trucks are forbidden from doing repeated driver exercises on open parking lot areas. That’s because the 80,000 pound vehicles tear up the pavement there.

“Having an area that’s designed specifically for that is going to be valuable,” said assistant chief Billy Wusterhausen.

Sandy Hook is an example of a mass casualty incident where first responders would be more effective if they had repeated training with other departments.

 “As we grow out to that 250,000 population and we’re still the second safest city in the United States, we will have done it right,” Sgt. Johnson said.

Fire Chief David Coatney said depending on what Round Rock voters agree to, the build-out could happen in stages to spread out the cost over several years.

Some training elements being considered for the combined fire and police training center include:

  • Firearms Complex
  • Urban Training Area
  • High Speed Driving Center
  • Driver Avoidance Pad
  • Live Fire Burn Training Rooms
  • Multi-Story Tower
  • Outside Training City Grid
  • Technical Rescue Props
  • Swift Water Rescue Prop
  • Wildland Fire Training Area

Local Round Rock firm KAH Architecture and Interior Design assisted Interact Business Group in the development of the training center site layout.

To read more about similar police and fire department training center projects and more details about Strategic Business Planning Process follow the links below

  • Public Safety Training Newsletter – a monthly e-newsletter covering the top news, events and announcements in Public Safety Training. Click here and sign-up (lower right) to read the current issue and get updates.
  • Responder Gateway – A full featured First Responder news and resource hub. One Place, One Stop, One Source, Visit here and receive daily or weekly fire service or law enforcement news events, alerts or important announcements.
  • Bill Booth Blog – Timely opinions and articles, on issues and comments about public safety training center management, funding and operations. Click here to read and get updates.

Click HERE to read more

Police and Fire Academies Hiring: Is the Tide Turning?

We have all read the headlines and many have felt the reality of reduced or eliminated public safety recruit academies over the past 4 years. As the Managing Editor of Responder Gateway, I keep a close eye on technology trends, events making news, chatter around the coffee pot and reports from our sponsors. Starting last September I began to notice a change. Have we turned the corner on reduced Fire/EMS and Police hiring? Can we state without a doubt that the worst of the hiring freeze is over? As with most things, there is no absolute yes or no answer. However, as the old song goes, “The Times They Are a Changin’.” In August/September of 2012, we began to see headlines such as this one from Toledo Ohio: “42 begin 26-week push to become Toledo officers.” Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs said the new officers are “desperately needed.” The department went years without hiring a police class and in the last year-and-a-half, has been trying to play catch-up and bolster the ranks amid retirements and a gap in hiring. Police Cadet

Division Chief Michael T McIntosh of the Adams County Sherriff’s Office in Colorado reports “We have certainly seen an uptick in our Academies. We, for the first time in 5 years had every seat filled in our Academy, in fact we had 7 additional seats causing me to conduct skills training on Saturday. Our July Academy is already full and my staff is ready to kill me because I asked them to look at the possibilities of running a third academy. Needless to say, business is very good!

Psychologist use a term called “perceptual vigilance.” In layman’s terms, perceptual vigilance occurs when one becomes aware of something, such as news and conversation, and your mind changes the way it filters your impressions of it. Suddenly, it seems like the thing you’re interested in is appearing all the time.

Now in 2013, we see this trend of new recruit academies springing up in many parts of the country. This resurgence of new hires is not limited to just police or just fire – it’s occurring across both disciplines. So why now? What has changed or is changing? Several factors can be attributed to the hiring upswing, including:

  • Overtime Savings – Last year, Providence, RI Mayor Taveras stated at a new academy class ceremony that “The new fire academy will create good family jobs in our city and at the same time save up to $1 million annually by reducing overtime costs.”
  • Community Risk Reduction Program – In January the Philadelphia Firefighter Academy graduated its first firefighting class trained in the new Community Risk Reduction Program.
  • Hiring Due to Attrition – In Joliet, IL, staffing is down in the police department due to attrition and early retirements. The city looked for ways to save money to ward off budget shortfalls in recent years. But now the city intends to replace retirees to maintain staffing levels by adding 10 new officers to the existing staff. The city is also taking a new approach to hiring by seeking trained and certified officers. This will save the city money and allow officers to help out immediately.
  • Departments Training Together to Reduce Academy Costs – In Anoka County, MN fire departments identified the serious need to bring training into one place to reduce training costs. The combined efforts of 15 department chiefs found that over the next four years, 236 new firefighters would be needed to keep the departments at their current staffing levels.
  • Academy SAFER Grant Success – The academy in Anoka County received a $1.57 million SAFER grant in August 2012. The grant fully funds the academy for the next four years, including medical screening and equipment. It also includes a $500 bonus for the academy graduates if they stay with their departments for a year.

Speaking with several academy directors, there is an impressive focus on background, experience, and age of the new recruits. As new academies begin, the standard of new student (recruits) has never been higher. Several commons factors among police and fire academies seem to be overriding contributors to the selection of new recruits:

  • It is common place to see very large numbers of applicants for very few academy slots. For example:
    • In San Jose, CA there were 800 applicants for 52 positions and city reports 1,400 applicants for its next academy class.
    • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has notified 2,800 eligible candidates who previously expressed continued interest in police jobs that up to 175 will be selected for their July academy.
  • Diverse backgrounds and experience are also driving high recruit hiring standards. Recruits with military backgrounds and recent multiple combat deployments on their resumes are common. Academy selection committees are enthusiastic about the work experience and discipline these individuals bring to the table and are pleased that they are able to employ veterans. It’s not uncommon in today’s recruit academy class to have new recruits between 27 and 35 years old; veterans; those looking for second careers choices; and those with advanced college degrees. Here are several examples of today’s experience and diversity:
  • Rochester, NY- Fire Academy consisting of 24 city residents includes one Asian male, two white females, one African American female, 11 African American males and nine white males; five of these recruits are also military veterans.
  • Madison, WI – Graduated 20 new firefighters from its recruit academy. Some examples of the recruit background include: USMC Reserves, Degree in Fire Protection Technician, Accounting and Paramedic License, Degree in Business Marketing, Degree from Northern Michigan University. One new recruit holds certificates in Firefighter I & II, Driver/Operator – Pumper, EMT – Basic, Fire Inspector I, Driver/Operator- Aerial, Fire Officer I, and Fire Instructor I.
  • Huntsville, AL – HAS just graduated 32 cadets, its largest and most diverse academy ever. The March 2013 graduating class includes 7 African American, 17 white males, 5 white females, 2 black females, 1 Asian female.

If my perceptual vigilance is accurate, we should not call the era of training academy cancellations and postponements a thing of the past; however, the darkest days seem to be behind us. Most job watch statistics derived from the leading job search platforms indicate an optimistic public safety job outlook over the next few years. This is supported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

DOL forecasts that employment for police officers will experience growth through 2014 with competition remaining high due to attractive salaries and benefits, particularly with state and federal agencies. Further, recruits with college training in police science, military police experience, or both should have the best opportunities. Firefighter recruit statistics are also expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Just as with police recruits, fire recruits will see strong competition for academy slots.

Going forward, and now with your “perceptual vigilance’ on full alert, keep an eye and ear on news and events in your community. It seems to me that recruit academies are going to get very busy in the very near future. And that’s one change in the tide we’d all like to see.

Public Safety Training Newsletter Available

The Public Safety Training Newsletter began in 2003 as an information source for our customers. Our customers told us that information specific to public safety training was not available. The large publications and web sites had grown too large, too diverse and unwieldy, finding information specific to public safety training was either not available or just plain too hard to find. Listening to our customers, we decided to publish a one-stop source for news, events, technical data, product information & trends and success stories for the public safety training industry.

Interact Business Group

10 Years Later

Now, 10 years later, the Public Safety Training Newsletter has grown to over 8,000 readers and 15,000 soical network folowers. and has become the go to source for public safety training news, trends and events.

Click HERE to see the archive page of past issues and to begin receiving the newsletter.

 

Training for Mental Health Response

Brain Mental Health

Scanning the news over the past few months we have noticed a growing uptick in the number of stories involving first responders and calls involving Mental Health Issues. This got us wondering: What is going on? Are these types of calls for service being placed in a new category? Have they been underreported in the past due to negative public perception? Is mental health (finally) being recognized as a true health issue, not a social issue among the less fortunate in our society? We were shocked and amazed at what we found.

Shocking Stats

One in four adults and 10 percent of children in the United States will suffer from a mental health illness this year. Mental disorders are more common than heart disease and cancer combined — the leading causes of death.

Among all Americans, 36.2 million people paid for mental health services totaling $57.5 billion in 2006. This means the average expenditure per person was $1,591. Within this group, 4.6 million children received mental health services totaling $8.9 billion. The average expenditure per child was higher than that for the average American at $1,931.” NIMH

“You’re more likely to see someone having a panic attack than you are to see someone having a heart attack,” says Linda Rosenberg, CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council).

First A Definition

Dictionary.com defines the term “first aid” as emergency aid or treatment given to someone injured, suddenly ill, etc., before regular medical services arrive or can be reached.When you add the words “mental health” in front of it, it doesn’t necessarily change its meaning, it simply redirects it towards assisting someone who may be experiencing a mental health crisis–such as helping an individual who is having a panic attack, contemplating suicide or has overdosed on drugs or alcohol. (EMS World)

The National Impact of Mental Health Disorder

    • Approximately 5 percent of U.S. residents have a serious mental illness,and 10 to 15 percent of jailed people have severe mental illness.[2]
    • An estimated 7 percent of police contacts in jurisdictions with 100,000 or more people involve the mentally ill.[3]
    • A three-city study found that 92 percent of patrol officers had at least one encounter with a mentally ill person in crisis in the previous month,[4] and officers averaged six such encounters per month.
    • The Lincoln (Nebraska) Police Department found that it handled over 1,500 mental health investigation cases in 2002, and that it spent more time on these cases than on injury traffic accidents, burglaries, or felony assaults.[5]
    • The New York City Police Department responds to about 150,000 “emotionally disturbed persons” calls per year.[6]

Common Response Solutions

Responders (police, firefighters and EMTs) encounter people with mental illness in many different types of situations, in roles that include criminal offenders, disorderly persons, missing persons, complainants, victims, and persons in need of care. According to one Texas study,[7] the five most frequent scenarios are as follows:

    • A family member, friend, or other concerned person calls the police for help during a psychiatric emergency.
    • A person with mental illness feels suicidal and calls the police as a cry for help.
    • Police officers encounter a person with mental illness behaving inappropriately in public.
    • Citizens call the police because they feel threatened by the unusual behavior or the mere presence of a person with mental illness.
    • A person with mental illness calls the police for help because of imagined threats.

These are the most common situations in which responders encounter people with mental illness. It is important to realize, though, that when police officers handle some of these situations they do not always realize that mental illness is involved (such as a shoplifting or a disorderly person). Officers may try to handle the situation as usual (by giving directions, issuing commands, or making an arrest, for example) but not get the cooperation or compliance expected, sometimes leading to escalating tension. This highlights the importance of training in mental illness recognition as well as crisis management techniques.

Other Related Problems

Problem of people with mental illness is closely connected to three other problems; 1) Homelessness, 2) Drug Abuse, and 3) Alcohol Abuse- Here are several statistics:

    • Honolulu study found that 74 percent of law violators who the police believed to have a mental disorder were also homeless.[15]
    • In London, about 30 percent of minor offenders referred for admission to a station-house diversion program for the “mentally disordered” were living on the streets.[16]

Solutions

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. So far, 60,000 people have been trained in 43 states and Washington, D.C. There are 2,100 trainers, says Meena Dayak, council vice president of marketing and communications.

Participants in the training learn how to detect a number of mental illnesses — including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, substance use disorders, depression, anxiety and eating disorders — and how to respond to people who have them. Their response is guided by a five-step action plan, termed “ALGEE,” which stands for:

    1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
    2. Listen nonjudgmentally.
    3. Give reassurance and information.
    4. Encourage appropriate professional help.
    5. Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

One of the program’s main goals is to erase the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. “It wasn’t long ago that cancer wasn’t openly spoken about,” says Linda Rosenberg, CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council). “Mental illness is the last illness that people talk about in whispers.” But that will change, she says, once Mental Health First Aid becomes as common as CPR training — something she sees as inevitable.

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)

CIT Training is a training program developed to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness or developmental disability. There are two nationally recognized organizations supporting CIT programs. Both organizations recognize the need for first responder mental health training. Suicide attempts and mental health crisis concerns are recognized as a priority. The organizations have established programs for disseminating recommended standards for developing, implementing and sustaining crisis intervention programs.

CIT Success Stories

    1. Las Vegas Metro Officer named CIT Officer of the Year – Brooke Lavin
    2. Every department in Maine “should strive to maintain at least one CIT officer per shift,”
    3. Mental health squad backs up law enforcement

Mental Health Response, Recent News

    • The NYPD’s Poor Judgment With the Mentally Ill—The death of Shereese Francis has rekindled a decades-long debate over the NYPD’s treatment of the mentally ill. As the first responders to all sorts of emergency calls, police officers are on the front line for just about every social problem in the city, and mental illness is no exception. The department estimates that it handles nearly 100,000 calls for “Emotionally Disturbed Persons” every year—hundreds a day. Every few years, one of those calls goes so badly that somebody dies. (continue…)
    • School Student was BipolarThe family of a Cal State San Bernardino graduate student who was fatally shot by campus police Saturday released a statement late Tuesday confirming that the man was bipolar and enrolled as a disabled student when he was killed. (continue..)
    • Officer Sentenced In Death Of Man With Mental Disabilities—A police officer was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison for using excessive force against a mentally disabled janitor who died after being erroneously suspected of stealing money from an ATM. (continue…)
    • Houston cops accused of deadly force on unarmed, disabled man“The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that its civil rights division is investigating allegations that Houston police officers used excessive force against unarmed suspects including the killing of an emotionally disturbed, double-amputee.” (continue…)

For more in-depth research and study on Mental Health we encourage you to visit and read the following excellent reports.

  1. People with Mental Illness / Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (COPS) – http://www.popcenter.org/problems/mental_illness/print/
  2. Governments Discover Need for Mental Health First Aid / www.Governing.com
  3. World Health Organization report “Human Resources And Training Mental Health
Endnotes:
[2] Lamb, Weinberger, and Gross (2004): 108. [Abstract only]
[3] Deane et al. (1999). [Full text]
[4] Borum et al. (1998): 401. [Abstract only]
[5] Lincoln Police Department (2004).
[6] Waldman (2004). [Full text]
[7] Peck (2003): 6. [Full text]
[15] Green (1997): 476.
[16] James (2000): 538.

Police and Fire Training on a Budget

Police and Fire departments, municipalities, insurance companies, and private driver training companies are searching for an economically justifiable program to reduce risk from the rising cost of vehicle accidents and operational costs.

Challenged Training Budget

Challenged training budgets, near non-existence capital construction budget can overlook the fact that not only do police departments fight more civil litigation involving collisions and pursuits than anything else, vehicle related incidents are the number one cause of Police Officer injuries and the second leading cause of deaths. Firefighter Fatality statistics reported in the NFPA 2011  report also provides startling details into vehicle operations and injury.

A viable, proven and economically feasible solution to emergency vehicle operations (EVO) that is trending upward is the SKIDCAR.  In use today by almost 300 Police, Fire, EMS, Military Security Forces, school systems, and private driver training companies in North America alone and approximately 27,000 drivers are getting a lesson in a SKIDCAR or SKIDTRUCK® each year.

The SkidCar duplicates conditions where spins and skids  occur at low speeds in a controlled environment allowing students to experience what it feels like to be in a vehicle that is about to go out of control and/or is out of control.

Just as police officers need to qualify with their service weapons on a regular basis, the Adams County Sherriff’s deputies also need to qualify in their vehicles” said Lieutenant Rick McNair in charge of the departments training section. “With our ever changing weather conditions here in Colorado and our large area of coverage our deputies must be prepared for any road condition at any time.”

 

How It Works

The SkidCar System is a hydraulically-controlled unit mounted to the suspension on the training vehicle, such as a police car or fire truck, that exactly duplicates the loss of tire traction at very low speeds (6 to 40 mph). Using an electro-hydraulic pump, the mechanism reduces traction by raising or lowering the vehicle’s tires from the road, duplicating hazardous driving conditions such as ice, snow, rain, or oil- or gas-slickened roads. This low-speed training tool teaches drivers how to avoid skids and loss of control. It has become a critical component of many public safety and low enforcement driver training programs. From inside the car, the instructor can control the system’s 20 different traction settings that duplicate a full range of hazardous driving conditions, and instantly lowers the tires to full contact with the road surface. The SKIDCAR requires no special surfaces or traditional EVOC track. Only a relatively smooth, reasonable sized parking lot is all that is required. Because of it’s mobility and use of set-up even small areas can be turned in to a driving range capable of training critical driving techniques and outcomes. Without question, these factors alone make the logistics, cost and time benefits of Skidcar worth serious evaluation.

Multiple Application; Nationally

Nationally the SKIDCAR has found application in many areas in addition to public safety for example the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation and the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund provides the Proactive Driver Training program for law enforcement personnel and other municipal employees in Alabama.  This program has proven results lowering vehicle accidents and average cost per member/claim. SKIDCAR System has been shown to instill better driving instincts to help drivers maintain control in the most difficult real-life situations.  The vehicle is designed to aid in the development of driving techniques that would be risky to learn in a regular vehicle at higher speeds.  The program in Alabama consists of a day-long session in which students are trained using the SkidCar System. The first hour of the course takes place in a classroom setting. The remainder of the program is hands-on and completed in shifts. Three participants ride in the vehicle (one driving, two in the back seat) with the instructor while the remaining six observe how the vehicle responds and help maintain the training course.

Deschutes County, Oregon  offers SKIDCAR classes seven days a week. Many insurance companies offer premium discounts for completing the course. Classes are offered to all permitted drivers, age 15 and up. Each class offers one hour of classroom instruction followed by three hours of hands-on driving experience. The all-weather driving course teaches students superior vehicle control skills for all types of road conditions. Students learn how to become proactive drivers; to think ahead during vehicle operation so they don’t need to exercise their superior skills. Each graduate is provided with a Letter and Certificate of completion. Deschutes County’s SkidCar Training Program mission is accountability behind the wheel: “100 percent vehicle control, 100 percent of the time”. Course highlights include:

  • Accountability behind the wheel: “100 percent vehicle control, 100 percent of the time”
  • Complete vehicle inspection techniques prior to operation
  • Principles of what makes tires work properly
  • Proper eye placement
  • Proper vehicle weight transfer management
  • Proper acceleration, steering and braking techniques
  • Trail braking techniques
  • Skid and slide prevention
  • Line of sight cornering techniques

Ride and Drive Demonstration

SKIDCAR SYSTEM, INC, the North American distributor of SKIDCAR sponsors several training events each year. Attendees are able to inspect, drive, and discuss training applications for this exciting and valuable asset to your driver training business, academy, or school. The in-house SKIDCAR Mobile Driver Training Program vehicle is attached to an SUV equipped with 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, ABS braking, Electronic Stability Control, and Traction Control safety programs. These technologies can also be disabled for a clear reference of driver training with older vehicles lacking these modern electronic safety technologies.

The demonstration events will confirm that a multimillion dollar driving range, or very expensive wet skid pan is not needed to properly train drivers in vehicle operation, skid control, skid avoidance, and how necessary it is to use good judgment as they drive down the road.  Thought process is the most important component while driving, but many dynamic driving lessons focus on speed and skill first.

Conclusion

The SKIDCAR is unique in the industry as the only device that is adjustable for grip. Many different driving scenarios and environments can be duplicated at the push of a button. Everything from rain, loose surfaces, ice and snow, or just excessively high speed can be experienced in a SKIDCAR.

If your agency already is using a driving simulator and finds it lacking in total training capability the SKIDCAR can add an important element of realism to the driving course.  Getting out of the simulator and into a SKIDCAR can validate the driving dynamics the simulators miss, and connect the learning experience needed to build a safer driver.

We are convinced a safer, more efficient driver, can be developed at a quicker rate. With less behind the wheel time of usually worn out old training vehicles will save agencies.

Here is the contact information for SKIDCAR System at: info@skidcar.com or (866) 754-3227

Public Safety Training Centers’ – Contrasts of Direction

After looking over the past months public safety training news highlights it occurred to me that for every resounding success story there are equally disturbing ones. Carlsbad, California celebrates the grand opening of its fabulous new multi-disciplined training center and the New Jersey State Patrol reports record diversification in this year’s recruit applicants, while Central Arizona College , near Phoenix struggles to remain open.

Carlsbad, doing many things extremely well

In preparing this month’s newsletter article I fully intended to tout the hard work and accomplishments of the City of Carlsbad California, accolades they genuinely deserve. Interact Business Group worked with facility staff and the police, fire and facilities departments over the past 12 months by helping them with their daily operations plan, staffing and budgets.   I have come to learn firsthand how a forward thinking city like Carlsbad  when working together can take a very limited sized site (around 4 acres) and create a  first-class public safety training center.  I would stop short of calling it world class because of their limited site and location – they did not have space for EVOC training. A nice sized grinder area will serve them well for maneuvering and driving tactic but speed is not an option for them.

Training site facing financial woes, may close

There are disturbing issues brewing at Central Arizona College (CAC) and its Central Arizona Regional Law Officers Training Academy (CARLOTA).

It seems the nationally recognized training center is tittering on the edge of closer. Its last police recruit graduating class was July 2011.  The school continues to work hard, with a very motivated staff and excellent reputation. The problem is pretty simple. Not enough students.  In a recent article in the Maricopa Monitor by Susan Randall, James Moore CAC interim vice president for learning services summed it up. “The demand for certified officers has been dropping for some time,” When CARLOTA started in 1973, it was one of only three or four academies in Arizona, he said. There was demand from all over the state. Now there are 11 academies. In the article Georgia White, CAC’s former dean of professional and technical education said, “I think the biggest change, the tipping point, has been the economy.” AZPOST Executive director Lyle Mann said CARLOTA had a fine reputation, training more than 100 officers a year, but enrollment dropped because agencies stopped hiring. Arizona agencies hired 800 to 900 cadets a year in 2006 and 2007, he said. Then the economy slowed, and they hired only 300 to 400 in 2009 and 2010.

New Jersey – 8,500 Very Qualified Candidates.

On the east coast the contrast from Arizona could not be more pronounced. The statistics are well, staggering. Recently reported by NJTODAY.NET, more than 12,000 men and women submitted online applications, the most in any New Jersey State Police recruiting drive. More than 9,600 of them met all the initial qualifications and 8,500 scheduled themselves to take the Physical Qualification Test (PQT), which is the current phase of the process. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the diversity composition of the applicants.  NJTODAY.net reports the applicant pool entering the PQT is very strong, with 19% Hispanic, 15% Black, 14% female, 3% Asian, and 2% listing two or more categories. By comparison, the last recruiting process, held in early 2010, resulted in approximately 5,200 applicants moving into the PQT phase with 15% being Hispanic, 11% Black, and 9% female. The PQT is the first step. Applicants passing the PQT will take a written exam, those passing the written will then move into background checks, then medical and psychological examinations. There is a rough target to graduate 250 total troopers in 2013 as a part of the 152nd and 153rd State Police classes.

What does it mean; Grand Opening, Tittering on Closure and Record Turnouts? I don’t have an answer. The old adage went something like this, “There will always be crime and there will always be fires. So get a job at the force or the department and you’ll never be out of work.” The first part is true but the rules of the second part have truly changed. Today there are many new lexicons in public safety; Just for fun Google “Fire Department Brownouts”- the search yields over 14,000 hits. Or try “police department cuts” and Google brings back over 31,000 hits. The bad guys are still out there and fires still destroy lives and property. I guess the only advice I have comes from my old high school football coach. “Shut-up, buckle up, get in there and do your job. You’re on the first string and there is no second string.”

(Click here to read more on this and other fire and police training issues.)

Oscar Perez/Casa Grande Dispatch, Apache Junction police officers simulate a pursuit during a driving certification in June at the Central Arizona College CARLOTA test track