Written by attorney David Nelson Jolly

DUI History: The History of Law Enforcement-Police Training

Published with permission from the book, DUI/DWI: The History of Driving Under the Influence, David N. Jolly. Outskirts Press (2009)

Police training at the Academy generally provides the recruits with more practical education than do the universities or colleges. Such training typically encompasses the basics of police work including weapons training, traffic accident reconstruction, commercial enforcement, emergency medical technician, emergency vehicle operations, tactical riot and general law enforcement training. Generally a candidate must complete the academy before entering the police department full time as a fully accredited officer. A quick look at different law enforcement agencies reveals similar requirements of their recruits in academy training, namely that most state and municipal law enforcement agencies require approximately six months of training at their respective academies.

The New York City Police Department sends their cadets to its Academy for 26 weeks (approximately 600 hours) of classroom instruction and field instruction. This training is supplemented by another six months in the Community Patrol Officer Program under the close supervision of experienced officers.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Academy includes 27 weeks of training which amounts to 1,100 training hours. According to CHP the cadets are responsible for 42 "learning domains" mandated by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), in addition to agency-specific policies and procedures. The CDP training information mentions that cadets must perform a 48-hour course in Emergency Medical Services, complete the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC), and complete Weapons Training, traffic accident reconstruction, commercial enforcement, emergency medical technician, emergency vehicle operations, tactical riot and general law enforcement training.

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has its own “Training Division" which administers all of the training programs for their employees. The “trooper cadets" attend a 26-week basic training course which is followed by eight weeks of practical instruction with experienced training officers.

In England, the Metropolitan Police Service uses the Hendon Police College as its principal training centre for recruits. The college is commonly referred to as the Peel Centre and between 2,000 and 2,500 recruits pass through the centre each year to undertake its 25-week basic training course. The training course consists of training in forensic and crime scene analysis, radio operations, driving skills, and investigations of serious crimes.

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Cadet Training Program consists of a 24-week basic training course, in both French and English. The Cadet Training Program consists of 785 hours which is divided into the following areas of study and practice: ** Applied Police Sciences(373 hours); ** Police Defensive Tactics ( 75 hours); ** Fitness and Lifestyle(45 hours); Firearms** (64 hours); ** Police Driving** (65 hours); ** Drill, Deportment and Tactics** (48 hours) andDetachment Visits, Exams, etc( 115 hours). Upon successful completion of the Cadet Training Program and employment with the RCMP, cadets must then complete a six-month Field Coaching Program under the supervision of a Field Coach.

In Australia, recruit training for the Victorian Police Department consists of 100 days of training at the Victoria Police Academy. The training is designed to provide recruits with the “knowledge, skills and confidence" to enable them to undertake on-the-job training while performing operational duties as probationary constables. The training is divided into academics and physical training. The academic subjects include law and policing procedures, communication skills, computers and keyboarding, and scenario training. The physical training includes drills, water safety, defensive tactics, firearms training, and physical education.

When it comes to DUI training Lt. Scott Laird of Springettsbury Township Police and Sgt. Rod Varner of York Area Regional Police believes the DUI training that most officer’s receive is sufficient for officers to successfully detect, test and prosecute DUI cases. Hoover, Mike. Official: Police need more DUI training. The Evening Sun, Hanover, PA (December 3, 2008). This appears to be the party line in most police departments and organizations. Alternatively, George Geisler, the director of law enforcement personnel at the Pennsylvania DUI Association in Harrisburg and with over 25 years in law enforcement, believes that police officers do not receive enough training. Id. In Geisler’s jurisdiction municipal police officers get basic, standard field sobriety training but could do better with more training, according to Geisler. Municipal police officers get less than a day of DUI training at the academy while getting their certification according to Geisler and he believes that this should change. Id. And the debate goes on.

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