Training of Police Officers
SPECIAL STATE POLICE OFFICER RECRUIT TRAINING
In 1992 the statutory ability to grant authority to campus police was legislated under the Department of State Police. Having since standardized the training, the Massachusetts State Police have been charged with basic recruit training for campus police officers. Early on, several sites around Massachusetts were used by the State Police to train recruit level campus police officers. Now, the Special State Police Officer (SSPO) classes are exclusively held at the State Police Academy in New Braintree, Massachusetts
This recruit training is a modified version of the same training that Massachusetts State Troopers receive. It is modified only in duration of the training and excludes or shortens some topics not crucial to campus police in general. Any exclusions that are required by the Western New England University Police, such as firearms training, are provided after the student officer graduates from the academy. Academy training lasts for 16 weeks, during which time student officers are educated on criminal law and procedure, endure physical training, and establish and hone skills required to be a police officer. The military-style training that campus police receive in the academy reinforces team building philosophies, discipline, and sound decision-making skills. Some of the other areas covered are listed with the images below. (Photos courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police.)
FIELD TRAINING AND EVALUATION
After completing the Massachusetts Special State Police Officer academy, the Western New England University police receive 12 weeks of Field Training and Evaluation. This is a period of orientation to the college campus and its basic operations, familiarization with departmental rules and regulations, and to conduct training not initially provided by the Massachusetts State Police Academy. New officers work side by side with a certified Field Training Officer (FTO) who guides, instructs, and coaches new officers as they learn to apply what they learned in the academy to real-life situations on campus. New officers are continuously supervised by the FTO and daily progress assessments are made and discussed with the officer to correct problems. After successfully completing Field Training and Evaluation, the officer is then cleared for solo patrol but is continuously evaluated during his or her probationary period.
Defensive Tactics training covers the use of physical force in the field of law enforcement. This provides instruction and practice for the use of verbalization, escalation and de-escalation techniques, the use of batons, deployment of oleoresin-capsicum (pepper spray), handcuffing techniques, prisoner and suspect searches, self-defense, handgun retention skills and a variety of other tools available to the police. Defensive Tactics instruction also provides officers with policy and procedure education as well as recent updates from the field of law enforcement and the study of physical confrontations between assailants and police officers. Officer Dan Donohue provides 16 hours of defensive tactics training every year for each Western New England University Police Officer.
Every Western New England University police officer receives standardized medical training required by law. This includes Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training as dictated by the American Heart Association. Officers also receive an initial 24 hours of First Responder training, which is supplemented by an additional 8 hours of refresher training each year. Medical training is provided by one of the department's officers who is a certified CPR and First Responder Instructor. The CPR instruction also includes the use of the Automated Emergency Defibrillator (AED).
Each Western New England University Police Officer must pass the 40-hour Tactical Pistol Course at the Smith & Wesson Academy. Firearms Qualifications are conducted on a quarterly basis. Officers must maintain and demonstrate their proficiency with a firearm four times a year. Tactical firearms training is also performed routinely. Police Officers train in different environments in all types of weather conditions. Tactical situations are designed to invoke firing under stress and involve movement drills, verbal commands, the use of cover and concealment, low light situations, target identification, and multiple officer techniques. Data from around the country is analyzed and used to shape the firearms training and the scenario based force-on-force instruction that the Police Officers receive. As with all firearms training, safety is of paramount concern.