Citizen Police Academy – Week 5

Carol Stream CPA3

First let me say – female police officers kick ASS. Literally! Last night’s class was on Use of Force and Arrest Procedures. It was taught by Officers Julie Johnson and Amanda Taylor. They are both the instructors for the entire police department on these topics, plus Defensive Tactics. They were both very nice women, but boy, are they tough! 🙂

We started with Use of Force, which is a hot button issue, especially nowadays. I truly wish everyone in the U.S. could take a class like this. To truly understand the point of view of the police themselves. NOT the media and the unreliable/outright lying witnesses. Because of the media and their narrow view the first instinct is to ALWAYS blame the police. And 99% of the time they are absolutely justified in their use of force.

One complaint people have when they get pulled over for a traffic stop is that the officer was not friendly, looked at them suspiciously, etc. Well guess what? THEY DON’T KNOW YOU. You could’ve committed a bank robbery five minutes earlier and you have a gun. 18% of officer deaths each year are from traffic stops. The videos we saw of officers getting killed as they walked up to a car was chilling and horrifying. Do you blame them for constantly being on their guard? So please people, STOP and THINK the next time you have an interaction with a police officer. They are CONSTANTLY thinking about how you might harm them.

Here’s something else that will help you try and understand what physically happens to an officer when they’re in a use of force situation: 85% reported diminished sound (blocking out everything around them), 80% reported tunnel vision, 74% reported an automatic pilot feeling (when their training kicks in), 65% reported slow motion time, 51% reported memory loss for parts of the event. The amount of adrenaline coursing through their system is crazy insane.

We watched several more videos from patrol car dash-cams that made it appear that the police were shooting and killing unarmed people. Then we watched the other POV from the other patrol car dash-cam which clearly showed a weapon in their hands. Everyone nowadays is screaming for police to wear body-cams. Well guess what? This was a prime example of why they’re not effective tools – they, too, only show ONE narrow point of view. Tunnel vision. Especially if there is only one officer on the scene and there is no other camera catching the action as well. You can’t see what the officer sees out of the corner of his eye, etc.

This is a topic that I feel very strongly about. I’m tired of the police being made out to be the villain because people don’t stop and think about the SPLIT SECOND an officer has to make a decision about use of force. It’s just easier to say the police are evil and kill people whenever they feel like it without justification. Makes me sick.

To go along with that split second decision making, we had a demonstration on what’s called the “reactionary gap”. This is why the police do not want you standing any closer than five feet from them.  Why? Because YOU will win if you come at them with a gun or a knife simply because the officer cannot draw their weapon fast enough. Our officers have “Level 3 holsters”. This means they have a “hood” that flips up over the top of the gun and also a release button they have to press. It’s good and bad. Good because if someone tries to take their weapon in a struggle they’re not going to be able to. Bad, because like I just said, they have three steps to take to draw their weapon, slowing their reaction time. But people are always, “the police were mean to me!” when they’re told to stop and not come any closer.

How would you like to have a job where you ALWAYS have to think that someone might want to hurt or kill you? People need to give that some thought before passing instant judgement on the police.

Next topic was Arrest Procedures. You will be handcuffed if you’re under arrest, an escape risk or you’re a danger to yourself or others. Unlike being placed under arrest, which requires probable cause, you may be detained if the officer has reasonable suspicion you’ve committed a crime.

Every suspect is searched twice – once at the scene and again at the station prior to being booked. There are different kinds of searches: frisk/pat down, custodial/arrest, strip and body cavity. Officers never search or take anyone into custody by themselves. There is always another officer on scene.

We were shown examples of what look like everyday items that were taken off of suspects that were really weapons. There were knives hidden in belt buckles, combs, brushes, pens and even lipstick.

I mentioned this from another class, but you only need to be read your Miranda rights if you are in police custody or if you are under interrogation.

Next week’s class is being held at DuMeg, which is our county 911 dispatch center. Nearly all the towns around me no longer have 911 call centers at the police station. Because of budget cuts they’ve consolidated down to one central call center. And you can imagine how crazy it is there, taking calls from six towns. It should be a really interesting evening!

I was expecting to get my Volunteer credentials and gear last night but the sergeant came up to me and said that the photos he took of me last week were blurry and he has to take them again! ARGH!

But to end on a good note – my ride along is TOMORROW! I’ll be on patrol from 8:00 pm until 2:00 am. Wish me luck for an exciting night!

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