So often, officers across the country will say after a critical incident, "my training kicked in and I performed without thinking about it." This is the reason officers need to receive the best training possible.
All aspects of police work needs to have the proper training to prepare officers to respond properly. Officers from Columbus Police Dept. once hired, receive basic training in the areas of Defensive Tactics, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Chemical Agents, Firearms, & First Aid. If the new officer hasn’t yet attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy or an equivalent they will be sent to the Academy. Once the 15 week academy is completed, the officer will begin a 15-week Field Training Program to give them ‘on the job’ training. During the FTO program the officer will be trained and evaluated, and will not act in a solo officer capacity. After completing the FTO program the officer will rotate between the three shifts to be observed by the shift 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. 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 & Use of Force Decision Making.
Throughout the year officers will attend other 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 Columbus Police that are certified by the State Training Board to instruct other police officers instruct these courses.
Columbus Police officers are also sent to outside training for specialty areas. These can include Instructor courses, or those that would be job specific such as Homicide, Interview and Interrogation, SWAT, 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 Columbus is up to date on tactics and legal issues.
The State of Indiana requires that police officers attend a minimum of 16 hours of in-service training each year. The average officer at Columbus Police Dept. receives about 80 hours each year. Those in special assignments will receive much more. Ensuring that in that critical incident the training they rely on will be able to keep the officer safe as well as the citizens we serve.