Each year the Department of Criminal Justice Training seeks to offer law enforcement officers the classes and resources they need to stay sharp and at the top of their profession. That’s why the 2019 training schedule boasts approximately 10 new courses and brings back seven courses that were previously discontinued.
Much of 2019’s schedule targets skills and scenario-based training, which is something DOCJT Special Assistant Carey Kitts and Training Operations Division Director Steven Long said the organization is increasing.
“In scenario-based training … we can recreate things that have happened that have caused officers to lose their lives or get injured on duty,” Long explained. “(We can) reenact difficult scenarios to give them real experience in a training environment before they get out into the real world. The idea behind all scenario-based training is not to let (officers) find themselves in a situation in real life that they haven’t trained for at DOCJT.”
Skills-based courses keep law enforcement proficient on diminishable techniques they might not have reviewed since basic training.
“It never hurts anyone to have a refresher,” Kitts said. “Especially on driving, firearms and defensive tactics. If you don’t use them, you lose them.”
This year, DOCJT has partnered with the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, outside of Greenville, Ky., where Firearms Fundamentals and Marksmanship, and Handgun Proficiency courses will each be taught four times. Beyond the basics, students will receive specialized training in patrol rifle practicals, designing a course of fire, legal considerations, firearms safety and immediate-action procedures, depending on the class.
One revamped skills-based course, brought back to DOCJT after multiple requests, is the 40-hour Designated Marksman course.
“(These) are advanced skills a patrolman might need on a scene,” said Kitts.
Students will learn about the designated marksman’s role, the marksman’s rifle, marksmanship fundamentals, ballistics and range estimation.
Driving courses also are always suggested, as statistics show more officers lose their lives due to driving incidents than shooting incidents, Kitts noted.
Also new for Patrol Tactics are Active-Shooter Response and Critical Officer Skills courses.
This year, DOCJT will offer Elder Abuse Investigation. The 40-hour class will teach investigators how to interview the elderly as effectively as possible. Elder Abuse Investigation is a recently revitalized course featuring new instructors who will teach participants how to recognizance specific crimes that target the elderly and their impact on older and disabled populations.
While not new, one skills-based class Kitts cited as beneficial is the 10-week Kentucky Criminalistics Academy. This course is geared toward improving advanced aspects of crime scene investigation, such as analyzing blood spatter and photography techniques. The course is broken up over two years with five weeks in each cycle, Kitts noted. In 2019, DOCJT will offer the second five weeks with new instructors, new technology and two additional course topics, bloodstain pattern analysis and shooting scene reconstruction. Other topics taught within the academy are fingerprint pattern recognition and post-blast investigations, taught by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). During the third week, students will be taught at University of Tennessee’s Anthropological Research Facility, also known as the body farm.
Another highlight for 2019 is the Mexican Drug Cartel Investigations course, which was first offered in 2018 with a special instructor. The 40-hour class focuses on the history of cartels, the individuals bringing drugs into the United States, how they transport their merchandise, their travel corridors and more. Skills discussed include how to conduct hotel/motel investigations, conduct knock and talks, room searches, how to identify a stash house and surveillance techniques.
Returning skills-based classes relating to investigations include Managing the Investigative Unit, Basic Investigator Course and Undercover Operations. Shooting Scene Reconstruction will also be added under Special Topics. This class will only be taught once in August. As of Dec. 17 there were only 14 seats available.
DOCJT will also offer courses to prepare students for the next step, whether that’s accepting a leadership position or looking toward retirement, such as the Managing Your Life, Career and Retirement course. The class is designed to prime students for managing their family and financial needs, as well as learning about retirement benefits and options, wills, powers of attorney, taxes and more.
A new Collaborative Leadership class will also be offered. The course will emphasize creating a goal and vision-driving approach for issue resolutions and will allow participants to view issues from the stakeholder’s position by using case studies from the private and public sectors.
There are no prerequisites or rank requirements for either class.
Skills and scenario-based training isn’t just for officers. This year telecommunication students will have the opportunity to take Dispatching Pursuits, an 8-hour course, that provides insight into pursuits, containment, legal aspects and the dispatcher’s role.
A full course listing can be found on Acadis, where agencies can begin scheduling immediately. During the first week of registration, 5,372 classes were requested.