Milwaukee hired Indy race car driver Tony Kanaan to teach police recruits about evasive driving techniques and police pursuits, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Yesterday, red lights shone, sirens blared, and the smell of burning rubber filled the air as tires screamed across a track. Two squads, known as the primary and secondary, pursued the race car driver turned bad guy for the day.
The recruits – 37 men and women who are set to graduate May 25 – will spend four days at the track practicing driving techniques. They also discuss the techniques and legal issues in 36 hours of classroom instruction. Kanaan said officers learn many of the same driving skills used on the racetrack: changing directions, knowing when to brake or not to brake, when to downshift. “A criminal, thank God, they don’t drive really well,” Kanaan said. “That’s how you’re going to get them.” At the track, Kanaan speeds past the officers. In a real situation, Sgt. Craig Henry said, officers will attempt a traffic stop. If the driver continues, the officer may initiate a pursuit. He said the training provides the recruits an opportunity to identify the physiological as well as psychological effects of being in a squad car during pursuit.