Monday, February 16, 2009

STOPS

"...I can appreciate that, but I'm still going to need to see that driver's license."

I'd have to say STOPS week has been the best by far - with that being said, I'm not currently enjoying being back in the classroom. STOPS, or Strategies and Tactics Of Patrol Stops, focuses on the "routine" traffic stop and how to talk to the individuals we meet. Our schedule looked was as follows:

Monday 02/09/08 - Friday 02/13/08
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 STOPS
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 STOPS
1700-1800 Dinner


Monday we had our lecture on Verbal Judo. For those unfamiliar with Verbal Judo its the "art" of deescalating a situation using words rather than physical force OR providing the proper verbal communications that will allow an officer to justifiably use physical force. The goal of Verbal Judo was stated as "gaining voluntary compliance" - and when you didn't get that, doing what was fair and necessary to gain compliance. After learning the steps of Verbal Judo (which included a lot of acknowledgement from violators that you may not agree with, hence the quote for this week) we began to practice it upon each other. We got out of class early for the day which was nice... except for hearing "I can appreciate that, but..." for the rest of the night.

Tuesday we had our lecture on STOPS tactics which was fairly interesting. Mixed in with the lecture were many videos of officers involved in accidental vehicular assaults while approaching vehicles as well as officer involved shootings. While not the videos a young officer would want to see it was indeed worthwhile; even when things go right a situation can go bad in an instant - you learn quite a bit from that. Complacency kills, the quote that you never forget, definitely held true during the lecture. We even watched the video of SBPD Sgt. Ray Wolfenbarger which hit pretty close to home.

On Wednesday we began practicing our STOPS skills on each other. We would do mock vehicle stops for the entire day (ending quite early) playing both roles of police officers and violators. We practiced the various types of vehicle approaches and ended the day with the traditional "felony stop." We had a lot of fun but learned quite a bit as well. We ended the day with a study session as our exam would be on Thursday.

Thursday morning we practiced more stops outside but added a new element: air soft. With Glock air soft guns the violator had the opportunity (but didn't always) to attack us at any time. The catch was that the officers did not have air soft weapons but red plastic guns instead. The purpose of this drill was to teach us to take cover rather than simply freeze up. After lunch we performed our practicum and also took our written exam. I got a 100% in my tactics and a 96% on my exam... can't say I can complain. The rest of the afternoon we watched a few more videos of officers in shootings except this time they ended a bit happier (notably, no officer deaths).

Friday was simply amazing. We all got to run two SIMunition scenarios during "routine" traffic stops. SIMunitions are 9mm bullets that are plastic filled with colored soap - they hurt just a bit more than your standard paint ball gun - that shoot from actual [altered] firearms. Both of my scenarios went very well and we had a blast. During the downtime we all watched police movies which was pretty good too: Hot Fuzz in the morning and Super Troopers in the afternoon. We got out early and thanked our guest instructors, went in to clean up a bit, and headed out for the weekend!


Of course the down side... STOPS was our last breakout week which means my final nine weeks are classroom oriented. I can't complain I guess, I am almost have way done! See you next week!.