Complex training scenarios are being offered to potential police officers at the West Hartford, Ct., College Police Academy, reports the Hartford Courant. It’s an intense, 10-day introduction to the rigors and demands of the job. “It’s so hard to be thinking about protecting your partner, safety, laws and what’s going on – all in a confined space, and all on the fly,” said one trainee. “But this is great. It’s bonus training.”
Seventy students from 15 colleges have gone through the program since it began two years ago. The students come away with a newfound appreciation for the split-second decisions that police officers have to make, and a sense of whether the job is for them. It is the only program of its kind in New England, and Officer Rob Riccobon, who coordinates the academy, said he has not been able to find another one like it in the country. The police department uses the program as a recruiting tool and has hired two of the program’s graduates as officers. The students faced several situations in which they were forced to sort out what happened while trying to protect their partner and control violent people, who in some cases had a gun or other weapon. A shooting simulator put the trainees into heart-pounding “shoot or no-shoot” scenarios. Students learned fighting skills in demanding physical training sessions and got a taste of numerous police tasks, including crime scene processing, accident investigation and stopping a suspicious car.