Thursday, April 10, 2008

Patrol Procedures … and the half-way mark!

The cadets of the 142nd Central Texas Police Academy are officially on the downhill side of the mountain. As the ninth week of the 17-week academy draws to an end, the cadets continue to add skills to their repertoire.

Monday and Tuesday was more class time where the students learned procedures they will use during traffic stops and while searching buildings.

Wednesday morning, the cadets practiced how they would approach a stop if there was not a known risk – your basic traffic stop done by a single officer.

That afternoon, they practiced procedures relative to a high-risk situation.

“A high-risk situation is when the officer knows there is a problem,” TEEX instructor Larry Frye said. “It could be a stop of a car that was stolen or been involved in a bank robbery. In these types of cases, the officer will call for back-up to assist.”

For their own safety, the future officers are learning to treat every stop with caution.

“Safety is always the top priority,” said Ryan Clements, a recruit with the College Station PD. “Something could happen at every stop you make and you always have to be ready, even though the last 100 stops you have made have been without incident. Complacency can get you killed.”

Thursday the procedures shifted to searching houses. TEEX has three residential prop house used exactly for this type of training. The houses are old living quarters from the Bryan Air Force Base that once was located at Texas A&M’s Riverside Campus.

“Searching buildings is more difficult,” said self-funded recruit Ethan Patton. “There are more places for people to be and once you get someone secured in the building, you not only have to worry about searching them, but also if there is someone else in the building. You can see what is going on in the vehicle more than in a building.”

After every group of students perform a traffic stop or clear a house, the instructors gather all the students together and there is a frank discussion about what went right and what went wrong.

The instruction is non-stop during the hands-on portions of the training and the theme is always the same. According to Frye, “We want them to make their mistakes here and not make them again.”

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