Training mandated by the Columbus Police Department for its recruits is thorough and extensive. Initially after hire and when class openings permit, the recruit is enrolled in the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Basic Training Course for a period of 12 weeks. The Academy is located in Plainfield, Indiana.
Basic Training Course
The Academy’s 15-week course for new police officers consists of a minimum of 480 hours of training in a variety of areas. Criminal and traffic law, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, physical tactics, EMS awareness and human behavior are some of the major areas of instruction during this course. A variety of other police related subjects such as accident investigation, criminal investigation, domestic violence and sexual assault, water rescue training, arresting intoxicated drivers, crime prevention and evidence collection are included in the areas an officer must study before graduating. The course of study is designed to incorporate practical as well as classroom exercises so the officers have a better idea of how they will react to situations they will encounter when they return to their departments.
Emergency Vehicle Operations Course
Basic police recruits receive 8 hours of lecture and 40 hours of hands-on driving instruction from veteran EVOC instructors. It includes the basic skills of threshold braking, skid pad, evasive maneuvers, backing and turning, shuffle steering and line of travel, pursuit driving, practical driving and four road courses. The student must pass each segment of the driving instruction and a comprehensive written examination.
EMS Awareness and Physical Training
Basic police recruits receive 20 hours of lecture and practical EMS awareness instruction from certified EMT’s. Students must demonstrate written and practical proficiency in EMS awareness. Aside from EMS awareness, students participate in a demanding physical training regimen over their twelve weeks. Students submit to a physical fitness assessment on their first day, which includes weight, blood pressure, resting heart rate, three minute step test, strength test, push-ups and sit-ups and a 1.5 mile run. The students are evaluated throughout the program and are required to meet minimum standards of push-ups, sit-ups and 1.5 mile run the final week of training.
Basic police recruits receive 6 hours of lecture and 40 hours of practical firearms instruction from veteran firearms instructors. Students must shoot a minimum qualifying score with their weapons and pass a comprehensive written examination.
Vehicle Crash Investigations
Basic police recruits receive 24 hours of lecture and practical vehicle crash training from veteran accident investigators. Students must demonstrate both practical and written proficiency in vehicle crash scenarios and written test. Aside from basic recruits, advanced vehicle crash investigation courses are offered to veteran officers.
Criminal Investigation Training
Basic police recruits receive 20 hours of lecture and practical instruction from veteran criminal investigators, which includes interviews and statements, crime scene behavior, interrogations, first responder responsibilities and collection of evidence. Students must demonstrate a practical proficiency in taking statements and conducting a criminal investigation involving a scenario, as well as pass a comprehensive written examination.
Basic police recruits receive two hours of lecture and 40 hours of practical training in physical tactics from veteran physical tactics instructors. This includes training in pressure points, joint locks, handcuffing, strikes/blocks/combinations, straight baton, ground fighting and weapon retention. Students must demonstrate a proficiency in each of the areas and pass a comprehensive written examination.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program
The Academy has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) and the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (INCASA) to provide detailed domestic violence and sexual assault training. The program has been funded by a grant awarded to ICADV and INCASA.
Basic police recruits will receive eight hours of training involving victim and officer safety, safety planning, legal issues, impact of arrest, intervention and investigation, victim assistance, overview of sexual assault, police response to sexual assault and a survivors panel.
For more information regarding the Academy, visit the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy website.
Field Training Program
Upon graduation from the academy, the officer returns to CPD where he or she begins the 15 week Field Training Program.
Each recruit is assigned an individual FTO (Field Training Officer) for a period of 4 weeks or so. The schedule runs as follows:
- One-week limbo period (1st FTO)
- Four-week evaluation period (1st FTO)
- Four-week evaluation period (2nd FTO)
- Four-week evaluation period (3rd FTO)
- Two-week (final) evaluation period (1st FTO).
After this 15 weeks of training, the final recommendation is made by the FTO’s and FTO Sergeants. A Recommendation can be either a successful completion or one where it is determined the recruit shall have continued training for a set amount of time.
A recruit is not used as a solo officer in any capacity during the training program.
So that an officer maintains the highest level of proficiency in all areas, training does not stop after the academy and the FTO program. Each year every officer must continue extensive training in the following areas:
- Defensive Tactics
- ASP Baton
- E.V.O.C . (Emergency Vehicle Operations)
- Domestic Violence
- Cultural Diversity
- Blood-Born Pathogens
- HazMat (Hazardous Materials Precautions)
This list is not all-inclusive. A variety of other courses are addressed each year.