Back from the Brink: New Staffing Revitalizes Louisville Training Section

Back from the Brink: New Staffing Revitalizes Louisville Training Section

The staff at the Louisville section of the Department of Criminal Justice Training had dwindled to two following the retirement of several instructors, and the future of the facility was in question when DOCJT Commissioner Mark Filburn took the helm of the agency in May 2016. Recognizing the importance of the satellite office, Filburn brought in former Kentucky State Police Training Academy Commander Phil Crumpton to take the section from the brink of closed doors to a thriving part of the agency. Together with DOCJT’s executive staff and those assigned to the Louisville section, Crumpton has helped breathe new life into the facility, revitalizing its purpose and helping to develop new training for its clients.

WHEN YOU JOINED THE DOCJT STAFF IN SEPTEMBER LAST YEAR, THE LOUISVILLE OFFICE WAS FACING CLOSURE. WHAT WAS THE STATUS OF THE OFFICE WHEN YOU ARRIVED?

When I first showed up, they said, ‘We bought you new furniture.’ I said, ‘I don’t need new furniture, I’m always on the move, I’ll take whatever you’ve got.’ But when I came into the office on the first day, you know what was in here? Nothing. They took the furniture back to Richmond. (Crumpton says laughing) So I thought, ‘Oh. I HAVE to have furniture. I understand now.’ Literally, they were going to shut the place down. They were starting to move stuff out.

Everybody was gone except for our administrative specialist, Mary Brown, and Training Instructor Lew Nugent. Instructor Jeff Harris has just been transferred from Richmond.

YOU WERE HIRED TO OVERSEE DOCJT’S REGIONAL TRAINING – HOW DID YOU END UP ASSISTING WITH REBUILDING THE LOUISVILLE OFFICE?

Originally, I was going to oversee western regional training. It made sense to put me in the Louisville office. Then it blossomed into overseeing regional training for the whole state. Having an office here works out well for me because I live in Shelbyville, so it’s a short drive for me to get here.

Really, my function is regional training, but also it now includes growing the Louisville office. When I was first hired, the idea was that we would house me, the instructors and Mary. Then we brought Pat Howard in as the office supervisor. He really frees me up to do more with the diminishable skills regional training. Now that I’m traveling throughout the state, Pat is responsible for the Louisville Office. We have hired a fourth instructor and will end up with one more full-time instructor.

CAN YOU GIVE ME AN IDEA HOW THINGS HAVE EVOLVED AT THE LOUISVILLE OFFICE DURING THE PAST FIVE MONTHS?

Instructor Sarah Tackett recently transferred to the Louisville Training Section to round out the office's new staff.

Instructor Sarah Tackett recently transferred to the Louisville Training Section to round out the office's new staff.

First we had to interview for our supervisor, which, I think we’ve got a heck of a good supervisor. Sarah Tackett also transferred from Richmond to be an instructor. We looked and interviewed for two additional instructors to round out the staff, and we have been able to identify two outstanding folks. I was talking to Pat yesterday and said, ‘Man, we’re in really good shape.’ Pat, having worked for DOCJT for 16 years, brings in the inter-workings of the agency, where I bring in the outside training aspect. It’s a pretty good partnership between us. We got instructors hired; we went through the building and got rid of a lot of obsolete equipment and brought in some new equipment and furniture. When I got here, we had four Crown Vics, and I think the 2008 was the newest one. We obtained a couple new vehicles and have just worked to increase the professionalism of the place.

I feel like the folks here felt like they were the red-headed step children of the agency a little bit. DOCJT was able to invest a little money here, and for a little bit of money, we got a lot out of it, including some really good people.

There’s not going to be a lot of downtime for the two instructors we hired. We’re looking for those folks to hit the ground running. We already have assignments for them coming up. Like the coroners’ training – where Lew was responsible for a lot of that, we’re going to be able to put one of our new instructors in for Lew to mentor and make him an asset for the coroners. Pat and Jeff coming here also increased our ability to do firearms training.

Jeff brings patrol training, and Pat came here with his Carrying Concealed Deadly Weapons training background, which Jeff is interested in, too. Now we have the ability for Pat to have a backup to assist him here. Everything is falling into place. We have a real good team. Everybody makes sure the work gets done and supports each other well.

THAT’S A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT TURNAROUND IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

It is. We went from one instructor and one administrative specialist to now having five instructors, a supervisor, an administrative specialist and a regional director out of this area. Now we’re forming partnerships with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that will bring in seven or eight outside instructors to help us throughout the year to train their own folks and some of the officers in surrounding areas. We’ve talked to a lot of folks we can partner with who are certified instructors who don’t have the opportunity to teach much. We can bring them in and help us, and they have expertise in areas where it really will improve our training.

The number one thing we have to do is protect the integrity of the training. It has to be the best.
— Phil Crumpton, DOCJT Regional Training Director

THAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND THE FUTURE OF REGIONAL TRAINING, CORRECT? TO DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS WITH CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS AROUND THE STATE?

Yes, starting with diminishable-skills training. Before this year when the Kentucky Administrative Regulation changed, you couldn’t attend the same training within a three-year time frame. Now you can receive these 16 hours of training every year, which are important diminishable skills that keep us safe. The idea is, you bring in folks from local police departments or sheriffs’ offices who have a skillset, train them to be instructors, then allow them to partner with you and hopefully one day take over that diminishable-skills training. Then our DOCJT instructors can coordinate and monitor.

The first diminishable-skills course this year is in Richmond and the second one is April 24 in Hopkinsville. The course is being taught this year 14 times around the state and we are looking to increase those numbers in 2018. Ideally, we would like to host a diminishable skills class here if we can locate a range and driving track within the area. We have the personnel to do it here. We have an eight-hour window where we’d need the defensive tactics instructors to come in and help us, and we could about do a whole week. We have Strategies and Tactics of Patrol instructors, firearms, driving – we have everybody here that we could handle that if we could locate a firing range and driving track.

WITH THOSE PLANNED 14 DIMINISHABLE-SKILLS COURSES, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO PREPARE FOR THIS TRAINING TO BE OFFERED AROUND THE STATE THIS YEAR?

I’m making sure they have training safety officers, firearms, driving and defensive tactics instructors. We have all these folks who are going to come and support DOCJT instructors this year. We hope that next year those folks will have their instructor certification in those fields where they can take over the training, as I mentioned.

A lot of the folks in these locations already are asking how many courses they can teach next year. They’re excited about it. I’m telling everyone this is a trial year, let’s see how things go. The number one thing we have to do is protect the integrity of the training. It has to be the best. Kentucky is in a great area where everybody is doing great training and we need to keep up with that. We’re making sure our new partners understand that and can take the ball and run with it.

WITH A NEW SET OF INSTRUCTORS IN THE LOUISVILLE OFFICE, ARE YOU OFFERING ANY NEW CLASSES IN THIS LOCATION IN 2017? 

We’ll host Law Enforcement Incident Preparation, Response and Mitigation, Stress and Wellness, Current Issues for Patrol Officers, Interviews and Interrogations and Leadership is a Behavior this year. We’re also going to host one of the Law Enforcement Instructor Development courses. Criminal Investigation for First Responders is a new one, and Duties of the Sheriff’s Office is one we’re hoping to expand with our JCSO partnership, with those folks taking a major role in having more of those classes next year.

We’re also hosting Gangs and Human Trafficking, which is a telecommunication course, as well as Illicit Drug Investigations and Terrorism Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. We have a good variety. Again, we are trying to find certified instructors out in the field who have an expertise, bring them in and produce new programs. That’s what we really want to do for the people who are coming here for training.

There are a lot of folks around the state – not just in this area – who want to come here and are excited we’re keeping this location open. We have great restaurants, great hotels and this is where they want to come for their week. We have to make sure we are producing new curriculum so they can continue coming to Louisville for their training. For agencies close by, it saves them a lot of money to send an officer for the day for training. He or she can go home, they’re not on expenses – and that’s a lot of what the Jefferson County sheriff is looking for. With 240 folks, they are a significant part of our client base.

We are not trying to be an individual agency – we are trying to be a viable part of the DOCJT mission. There are a lot of agencies that have folks certified in different areas. Some of them have their instructor’s certificate and they need to be teaching and keeping their certification up. We’re working with the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council when we recognize people who are getting ready to lose their certification to bring them in, find things they can instruct and get them monitored.

Louisville Regional Training Director Phil Crumpton discusses training objectives with Louisville Section Supervisor Pat Howard.

Louisville Regional Training Director Phil Crumpton discusses training objectives with Louisville Section Supervisor Pat Howard.

BEFORE JOINING THE DOCJT FAMILY, YOU RETIRED FROM THE KENTUCKY STATE POLICE AS THE COMMANDER OF THE KSP TRAINING ACADEMY. CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER?

I started with the Kentucky State Police in 1991. I worked Shelby and Spencer counties for 11 years, then I got promoted and went to Driver’s Testing for three weeks. Rob Miller, who is doing a lot of training for us this year, called and said, ‘Meet me at the fire department, I want you to take over Automated Fingerprint Identification System.’ So I got there and they said, ‘Not only do you have AFIS, but we have four sections we want you to be over.’ I oversaw about 60 employees in records there for about six months.

Then a spot for a state crime prevention coordinator opened in the D.A.R.E. office and public affairs. I went over there as the assistant commander of media relations. I got promoted to lieutenant and stayed as the commander of media relations. I had public affairs officers and worked on policy issues, discipline issues, highway safety projects, awards ceremonies, the state fair, displays and antique cars – all those responsibilities kind of fell in my lap. I did that until 2008 when I was promoted to captain and went to Bowling Green as the post commander. I was there just about a year when I was asked to come back to Frankfort as the KSP Academy commander in 2009. I retired from there in 2012. My last year is when KSP got the new academy, so I was the first commander of that and got to oversee the first year of operations and develop a plan to go forward.

After I retired, I was out about six months and did a few fun things. I worked for UPS at Christmas time and delivered flowers for Valentine’s Day. Then I went to work at Lowe’s. I thought, ‘I’m there every day, I might as well work there just for a little fun.’ Then it was time to get serious again after I played around a little while.

I went to the Wilmore Police Department and was there about a year as the major over operations. Then Taylorsville Police Department had an opening for chief, and I had several phone calls from folks saying I needed to apply. I spent the first 11 years of my KSP career patrolling the Taylorsville area, I knew a lot of folks there. I did a lot of programs there, including D.A.R.E. I interviewed and got the position and was there about two years.

WORKING FOR ONE OF THE LARGEST AGENCIES IN THE STATE AND THEN WORKING FOR A MEDIUM-SIZED AND SMALLER AGENCY HAS GIVEN YOU A UNIQUE BACKGROUND. HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING FOR THOSE THREE DIFFERENT SIZE DEPARTMENTS HELPED YOU IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW?

At the state police, I learned a lot of media relations and, as the academy commander, I learned a lot about training and building partnerships. Before that, I really had no contact with DOCJT and no contact with the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council. But in that three-year time frame, I had to really get in and develop partnerships and learn a lot more about training – other than just KSP training and how things are done. When you start going to smaller departments, there are a lot of similarities, but there is a lot that is quite different. Manpower is a huge issue when you have eight guys. But then again there are a lot of the same responsibilities. You have the same paperwork to do, the same reporting requirements, just on a smaller scale. You have to deal with city commissioners and mayors and local politics as opposed to state politics. Being a small town chief, I’d say that’s about 50 percent of what you do.

It helped me understand law enforcement from all levels. All I ever wanted to be was a trooper. I really didn’t want to promote, but for some reason or another I did. Once I started, I thought I might as well keep going. I felt like I did a lot of good things at the state police, especially in the area of training and media relations. I learned a lot about the inter-workings of media, politics and discipline. Then I went to a small town and was able to use a lot of that training. I felt really good about a lot of the things I did in Wilmore and Taylorsville in that short period of time. Every one of them – I don’t really consider them as jobs – I just enjoyed going to work. It was just fun; it was something new and exciting every day. 

Who Are You? NamUs helps law enforcement identify the unidentifiable

Who Are You? NamUs helps law enforcement identify the unidentifiable

George T. Ragsdale (1876-1937)

George T. Ragsdale (1876-1937)