PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Every year Greenfield Police Department officers go through training to make sure they are prepared for any situation that may arise while they’re behind the wheel. 24-Hour News 8’s Jessica Smith was the only reporter to be there for this year’s training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
Officers go through the training at least once a year. It’s high speed and high stress, but that’s why officers say it’s so effective.
“We’re doing everything from high speed driving to backing maneuvers, evasive maneuvers, braking maneuvers. Anything that the officer might encounter on the street we’re trying to let them encounter out here in a training,” said Greenfield Police Chief John Jester. “If you think about it, officers drive every day. We drive a lot of miles at a time.”
The Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, or EVOC, puts officers’ skills to the test, at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
“We’ll get in the habit of driving, and take things for granted. So it’s important to stay on your toes when you’re driving, pay attention and make sure you get there safe. You’re not doing any good if you don’t get there.” said Greenfield Captain Brian Guinn.
The course forces officers to make split-second decisions, tight turns and quick stops, while going forward, and in reverse.
“It’s hard enough to see out of the back of your personal car, but when you get in a squad car and you’ve got a cage in there and all of your other equipment — and you’re sitting in your uniform and a gun belt on and a vest, it’s hard to turn around and look out the back,” said Guinn.
Guinn has been an EVOC instructor since 1997.
“We’re working side streets, where we have the opportunity of kids running out in front of you or something lile that, cars backing out in front of you — so we try and throw that in to where it works in our their daily patrols,” said Guinn.
If an officer hits a single cone or doesn’t finish the course in a set time, he fails and starts over. The test is intimidating, but officers say it’s invaluable.
“If we can reduce accidents then it’s all worth it. That’s our whole goal is to let the officers experience stuff that they could experience working the street — hopefully cut down and reduce the accidents. I think a lot of them come in intimidated. I think after they get to go around the track a few times, they fall in love with it,” said Jester.
Jester said it’s not every day Greenfield officers are involved in high-speed chases, but the training still applies to their every day work.
“Our officers run red lights and sirens to calls every day. The only difference is they’re not actually chasing somebody. They’re still driving fast, they’re still driving with red lights on, they’re still driving in traffic. Even though it’s not a high speed pursuit, it’s still high speed driving — so it’s practical,” said Jester.
The Rush County Sheriff’s Department, Greenfield, Fortville, Rushville and New Palestine Police Departments took part in the training.