A law enforcement officer’s cruiser frequently is the office in which they work, so the better they know it, the better they can do their job.
That’s why an emphasis was put on vehicle maneuverability for the Williams County Sheriff’s Office during training this week.
“That’s a huge part of their job, and the better they can drive them, the more maneuverable they are, whether it’s high speed, low speed, bad weather, whatever, the more familiar they are with the vehicle the better off we all are,” said Williams County Sheriff Tom Kochert.
The training consisted of three different obstacles — one was essentially changing lanes in a step pattern between cones going forward and back within 30 seconds; another was maneuvering different degree curves forward and reverse; and the third was a five-point turn within a cone star pattern.
Sgt. Scott Shuping of the sheriff’s office was in charge of the training. Kochert said Shuping attended the two-week advanced driver training course offered by the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy.
Kochert said points are deducted for hitting a cone while on an obstacle run, as well as for being over time. A 75 is needed to pass the course.
“In this day and age, if we’re going to chase somebody in a high speed pursuit, the better my guys are driving exponentially minimizes the chance of injury and it also gives them a feel for their vehicle in a training environment,” Kochert said.
“It can help them pull the plug on a dangerous pursuit a lot faster because they now know when that cruiser’s going to go into a slide or whatever,” he added. “And that’s safer for the public.”
The sheriff added, as with all the quarterly training results, the reports go into a deputy’s file. He said this can be especially useful if something should happen during a real-life call and someone decides to sue for an action taken by a deputy.
“We have a training file (on every deputy) and you either passed or you didn’t,” Kochert said. “And we keep those on file. And they’re getting pretty thick now. So now they’re going to open their training file and find all the state required stuff, but then they’re also going to find all this other stuff every year.”
He pointed out the state requires 24 hours of continuing professional training each year, but almost all his deputies have already surpassed that.
“That is separate and apart from what I’m doing,” the sheriff said. “I mean, what are you going to say? That these guys don’t know what they’re doing?”
Another portion of this quarter’s training this week included proficiency with rifle shooting on the range. Kochert said while traditional paper targets were still used, he wanted the deputies to focus on other aspects.
“We’re going to a lot more plates, a lot more steel, a lot more moving positions and faster,” Kochert said.
He added the goal is to get the deputies handling the weapons without having to actually think about it, so they can keep their minds on what needs done in the field also.
He added the cost in overtime for the training is minimal compared to the cost avoidance of not having a lawsuit brought against the county.
“That’s the goal,” Kochert said.
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