Contact: Sgt. Courtney Plummer
Often, after a critical incident, officers will say, “My training kicked in and I performed without thinking about it.” This is the reason officers need to receive the best training possible.
In all aspects of police work, officers need quality training to prepare them to respond properly. New officers from the Columbus Police Department receive basic training in the areas of defensive tactics, emergency vehicle operations, chemical agents, firearms and first aid. If the new officer has not yet attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy or an equivalent, they will attend the academy. Once the 15 week academy is completed, the officer will begin a 15-week field training program (FTO) to give them ‘on the job’ training. During the FTO program the officer will be trained, evaluated but will not act in a solo capacity. After completing the FTO program the officer will rotate between the three shifts to be observed by the supervisors until they complete their probationary year.
This is not the end of training for Columbus police officers. Each year, officers attend a week of training in January. Some of the topics covered are defensive tactics recertification, Haz-Mat, First Aid/ CPR, cultural diversity, emergency vehicle operations, report writing, courtroom testimony, domestic violence, legal updates, dealing with the mentally ill, evidence procedures, media relations and use of force decision making.
Throughout the year, officers will attend additional training. Officers train and qualify four times a year with their duty weapon and any specialty weapon they have assigned to them (patrol rifle, shotgun, etc.). Officers will also attend training during the year in vehicle pursuits, active shooter situations, use of force issues, legal updates, physical fitness and other areas as the need arises. Officers of the Columbus Police Department that are certified by the Indiana law Enforcement Training Board to instruct other police officers teach these courses.
Columbus Police Officers are also sent to outside specialty training. This training can include instructor courses or those that would be job specific such as homicide investigations, interview and interrogation, SWAT, hostage negotiations, drug investigations as well as many others.
Officers are surveyed during the year to see if there are any training needs that need to be met. The training coordinator will also monitor national trends to make sure the Columbus Police Department is up to date on tactics and legal issues.
The State of Indiana requires that police officers attend a minimum of 24 hours of in-service training each year. Officers at Columbus Police Department, on average, receive about 80 hours of training each year. Those in special assignments will receive much more. These many hours of training help to ensure the safety of our officers as well as the citizens we serve.