KSUPD wraps up Police Experience Academy

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Officer Vance Voyles tells students how they could have improved on their handling of a scenario involving a man breaking into cars.

David Williams

KSUPD’s Police Experience Academy came to a close Thursday evening at Crossroads Church in Kent.

The academy lasted four weeks and covered a wide range of police training practices, including detective work, K-9 handling and procedures, traffic stops and basic criminal law.

Participants put what they learned in previous classes to the test with dispatch scenarios in which the students, acting as the responding officers, attempted to diffuse a situation with a potential suspect, played by KSUPD officers.

After each scenario, the officers told participants what they did well and how they could improve on their response to certain situations.

One specific scenario had two officers responding to a suspect, believed to have a mental disorder, wielding a knife. The scenario ended with the officers convincing the man to drop the knife.

Another involved a suspect suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. KSUPD officers explained how calls involving mental illness, or CITs (Crisis Intervention Teams), need to be handled very carefully and with proper training.

“It’s very important for officers to stay calm and focused,” KSUPD Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles said, “even in very hectic and chaotic situations.”

A majority of the participants in the academy were students, some of whom are criminology and justice studies majors with hopes of pursuing a career in law enforcement. Other participants included some campus faculty and staff.

“Some of these situations occur more frequently than others, but you need to be prepared to deal with any of them at any given time,” said officer Vance Voyles.

David Williams is a safety reporter. Contact him at [email protected]