Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shenandoah's 2016 Seasonal Law Enforcement Refresher Training

Vehicle Ambush Drills

       It has been a busy week here for me at Shenandoah National Park. I can’t speak so much for up on Skyline Drive, but more for the chance I had to learn and experience law enforcement by attending Shenandoah’s Seasonal Law Enforcement Refresher Training. Each year the park puts on a 40 hour or more refresher for their seasonal park rangers. It is an excellent opportunity for those who may not work a full year and allows them to sharpen their skills of law enforcement. We began the week with Defensive Tactics. We practiced cuffing, batons, thorough searching of a person arrested and worked on some essential fighting skills. The next day was less hands on, but a lot of information. We had a three hour training that discussed criminal law that went over legal terms and cases, as well as National Park Service rules and regulations. We discussed RM-9 and the policies identified within the manual.  Later in the afternoon, Chief Ranger Sikes came to discuss vehicle safety of officers and how important it is to be safe when out on patrol or responding to a call. After that, we had a great discussion on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and how to administer them. We ran through the Three Phases of DUI Detection, and three different tests we can perform; the Walk and Turn, One Legged Stand, and a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, all tests that would help an officer check for signs of someone impaired. 

The third day of training we went down to SHEN’s range and practiced some basic tactics with the red guns. This was a great chance for me to do some role playing as the suspect and see how officers would respond to certain situations. We ran through vehicle ambush drills and how to react when you are in your vehicle under fire. Later in the day we ran through drills with paintballs and how to utilize your cover. The last day of training we were back in the classroom for the morning to go over how an officer should respond to a victim and how we can handle those situations appropriately. We also got to practice using Stop Sticks in case there is ever a time when a vehicle is being pursued and spikes need to be deployed in a safe manner. Afterward, an officer with the Virginia Game Commission and Inland Fisheries came to teach us simple Law Enforcement phrases, but in Spanish! After that he discussed poaching and wildlife issues that we might experience here in the park and also how important it is for the National Park Service and Game Commission to work together and form a great relationship. Once the afternoon rolled around we headed back down to the range to practice Taser drills. I was used again for roll playing and dressed up in a padded suit to have inert tasers shot at me. It was a pretty fun time and a great opportunity again to really see how an officer reacts to a stressful situation and when pulling out their taser might be appropriate. All in all it was an excellent week for me to really learn and experience some of things I have to look forward to when I go off to the seasonal academy next August! 
Running Taser drills.
Playing the suspect.

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