Week 3 of the 3rd Citizen’s Police Academy
The first portion of week three involved Lt. Fuxa giving us an overview of exactly what goes into training an officer once they’ve gone through the extensive hiring process that we described last week in our discussion with Captain Bryan Skaggs.
Lt. Fuxa explained how expensive training can be. If a new officer is not certified, they send you to the CLEET Academy (Council on Law Enforcement and Training). When you go to the academy in Ada, they make you sign a promissory note stating that you will be in law enforcement for a certain amount of time (3 years) or you will have to repay them for the training. Additionally, the Enid department makes you sign a promissory note for $1000.
On the off chance they are already certified, they will go straight to what they call the F.T.O. Evaluation Program. They go through policy training, CPR & First Aid training, city geography, ethics, and many other things that essentially make it a mini-academy. “Even people who have lived here all their lives have problems with city geography,” said Lt. Fuxa. “It’s something that is hard for everyone.”
When they are out in the field training with another officer, they will be under observation. Each day the training officer will fill out evaluations on the trainee. They are evaluated on many different aspects of how they are doing their job. Driving, awareness, appearance, and other aspects of how they approach their job. You might ask, how are the evaluated? They are compared generally to what an officer with 5 years experience would know and how they would behave.
They also go through different phases in their training. “It’s basically a building block system where once they master one phase, we move on,” said Fuxa. “There’s an end of phase test and then we can move them on.”
They then went into details about what they are issued and what they carry when they are on duty. They issue Glock 9mm, but they can carry whatever they want. They give them tasers, ballistic vests, their belts, CS gas, and all the other things they will need. Officer Darrin Morris was kind enough to show us just how well the ballistic vests work. He picked up a night stick and began beating himself in the chest fairly hard. He broke a button on his uniform in the process. I felt I could do a better job and offered to wield the night stick and beat him silly with it, but he declined. One interesting thing that I learned is that they have to provide their own flashlights and their own ammo. This is probably best expressed in pictures. Unfortunately, my camera was malfunctioning (it seems they do not work without batteries) and my iPhone died while I was taking pictures. So, I dipped back into the Route 60 archives and pulled some pictures from the very first Academy and some of their pictures. They are virtually the same.
The entire table full of items. A uniform, pants, boots, jacket, hat, radio, rifle, shotgun, Glock, taser, OC spray, leather belt, and all the other various accoutrements that are issued to the officer costs around $4,000. Remember when I said that Lt. Fuxa said training was expensive? When you factor in this with the CLEET training and in-house training they are given, you can easily see just how expensive it can be.
Next up, Officer Morris wanted to show us and explain some of what can go on when an officer is on patrol. They will write a report for any incident that they are called out on. “It doesn’t make a difference what day it is. Each day is different,” Morris said. “That’s what brings people into this profession a lot of times. The unknown of what you might or might not do on a given day.”
We were showed pictures of cruelty to animal calls, which absolutely devastated everyone in the Academy. The horrible things that people do to animals is astonishing.
We were shown counterfeit money. Pictures of people who shot themselves. People who had their necks sliced and even more horrible things. I have to say, the things they see are astonishing. There were even more pictures they were going to show us, but Captain Grassino vetoed them. Kudos to that.
We were then showed video of what was at the time a rather well known incident. It was a high speed chase in which the Enid Police Department was chasing a wanted felon who was known to be dangerous and needed to be taken off the streets in a very bad way. The result of the chase was a captured felon. But their was unintended consequences, of which are evident in watching the video.
The incident was under a lot of scrutiny at the time because of the high speeds of the chase. Lt. Fuxa talked extensively about how during a chase it’s very easy to become too focused on what you are chasing. He talked about how it was very easy to get tunnel vision and lose your surroundings. This was the case in this incident. While it’s horrible that the incident happened, the department can now show this video to educate other officers of the dangers of high speed pursuits. What happened in one moment, can now be used as an educational tool to perhaps help others understand how dangerous these situations really can be. I found this to be a very big thing of the department. They were taking something that perhaps was a very negative event and turning it into a positive to improve the department. It was very impressive of them.
Oddly enough, The Route 60 Sentinel was the very first news outlet to request the video despite the amount of news that it made at the time. We published the video in August of 2011. It has been viewed over 10,000 times since that time. As a result, it was seen by producers of “World’s Wildest Police Chases” and has since been featured on that show.
Next up was Sgt. Randy King. He discussed the detectives. There are two types of detectives in the department. Adult and Child. Obviously, the Adult Crimes deal with a very wide array of crimes. From homicides, thefts, fraud, etc. The detectives that deal with children crimes. Heinous stuff. The worst of the worst.
Usually, detectives are not usually the first on the scene. Patrol usually has that task. They report an incident to their commander who then determines whether to get the detective division involved. Generally, EACH detective has at least 60 open cases they are working. Amazing.
King recounted one particular case, among many he recounted for us, of how technology has progressed in helping law enforcement. They have a machine, they can plug a suspect’s phone into and retrace his whereabouts during a specific incident. How? All based off cell towers. If a suspect says, “Hey I wasn’t even on that side of town” they can look on his phone and find out. And in that particular case, they did just that.
That’s just one of many tools the Detective Division has at it’s disposal to help solve crimes. In the end, however, not all crimes are that easy. He showed video of a robbery that took place 7 years ago. The robber had a knife and forced the cashier to hand over money. The cashier complied exactly as they were supposed to in that situation, by handing over the money. However, as yet, that crime is still unsolved because even with the video, they had no idea what the robber looked like.
That was pretty much it for week 3. We did have an excited power failure during the middle of the session. That was fun. I would like to remind everyone about our Crime Prevention page. On it, you are able to see a LARGE map of Enid that is plotted with various crimes that have happened recently. Also, there important numbers and methods of getting in touch with the Enid Police Department. Included amongst that is the “Text-A-Tip” information. This has become a major source for the department as people are quickly finding out that it is truly anonymous. Since August of last year, I have had this information published on each and every page on our website that contains news or an article. In fact, you can see it on this page too. As long as that is a useful tool, I have promised Chief O’Rourke that it will be there for them on my website.
Until next week….