DOCJT Hosts STOPS Training for Basic Training Recruits
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After months of planning and preparation, the Department of Criminal Justice Training recently completed its first full Strategies and Tactics of Patrol Stops course. The STOPS program, produced by Pro-Train Inc., is designed to train peace officers about traffic stop tactics that ensure officer safety.
“STOPS has taken the available research and videos of officer-involved shootings, FBI statistics and other sources, and developed strategies – learning from what happened in other real-life situations,” Pro-Train President Ron Hantz previously said about the training. “The worst thing we can do is not learn from every officer killed.”
DOCJT Basic Training Academy Class 483 was the first recruit class to complete the 41-hour training, which includes three days of hands-on practical exercises. To assist with the practicals, officers from Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Kentucky State Police’s training academy and the University of Kentucky Police Department were enlisted.
Two hours of the class were devoted to commercial vehicle training, which was led by CVE Officer Anthony Blakemore and KSP Sgt. Kevin Burton. Blakemore is a resident expert on commercial-motor-vehicle laws, regulations and tactics, Burton said.
“Whenever these officers get on the road, they are going to encounter commercial-motor vehicles that are going to be stopped for legal reasons,” Burton said. “They need to know these tactics for their own safety and to give them insight on what to look for. There are certain laws that are a little bit different with commercial motor vehicles as opposed to daily driver cars. This gives these recruits more knowledge to go out and be more effective police officers.”
DOCJT staff have begun contacting local law enforcement agencies to solicit instructors and role players for STOPS training as well as other courses such as building search and ambush classes, said DOCJT Training Operations Division Director Oakie Greer. A planning committee is working toward developing a file of names for officers and certified instructors who have agreed to assist when their schedules allow.
“They can send us an email or call me, Assistant Training Operations Director John Schwartz or any of the branch managers,” Greer said of those interested in assisting with DOCJT practical training. “We would like to get to a point where we can look at our schedule four weeks ahead and see when we have a STOPS class, building search class or ambush class where we need actors and send out an email blast to see whoever is available during that time.”
Greer primarily is looking for role-play actors, but said that certified instructors are a plus because they can evaluate recruits and offer suggestions. Any amount of time is appreciated, but Greer said officers who are willing to devote approximately five hours to assisting the recruits would be ideal.
“Every recruit class now, when they get toward the end of their 23 weeks, will have a two-day, all-inclusive practical where we will put them in cruisers and dispatch them to calls,” Greer said. “We will need a lot of help for that. Again, those people don’t have to be instructors, but it might be someone who is willing to come in for an afternoon or evening. We will put them to work being bad guys. It’s kind of fun to do something other than working.”
After participating recently, Burton said he would highly encourage other officers to assist with the recruit training.
“Whether you wear gray, brown or blue, we are all on the same team,” Burton said. “We are all out to do the same job. This gives us a way of sharing our knowledge with other folks and vice versa. So many folks out there are well-versed in certain areas. In order to get better, you reach out to those people – no matter where they are – to educate yourself better and be more productive police officers.”