By Shandi Dix, Fort Riley Public AffairsOctober 22, 2010
SALINA, Kan. - Left and right turns, backing and parking are just some of the exercises that more than 60 Fort Riley civilian and military police officers went through during a training event at the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy Oct. 4 to 14 in Salina.
This is the first time Kansas Highway Patrol has provided this training to Fort Riley police officers as their annual in-service.
The training consisted of car placement, backing, basic maneuvers, braking and provisional driving skills, said Trooper Robyn Goss with the KHP.
This also was a rare occasion to have all students from one agency, Goss said.
"Normally when we offer outside training, it's a few people from several different agencies," Goss said.
The course included exercises like slow speed/high stress, control braking, evasive maneuver and an emergency vehicle operations course.
The slow speed/high stress course involves accuracy and backing.
"This is the one we've had out here with the agency since about 1965, and it's a series of left and right turns, garage bays, serpentines and that sort of thing," said Lt. Thomas Witham with KHP.
The object is to get from the starting line and to negotiate this course to the finish line in less than 50 seconds, Witham said.
At the control braking course, the driver is required to get up to a speed of 45 mph and then steer to the left and to the right around a 12-foot barricade, while slowing to a stop within about 80 feet. The evasive maneuver course requires the driver to get up to a speed of 45 mph and then make a 12-foot wide lane change in 40 lateral feet at 45 mph.
The emergency vehicle operations course is used for evaluations and completion of the course.
"(This course includes a) series of gates, serpentines, garage bays, right and left turns. Included in that is a parallel parking bay," Witham said. "We ask the student to get through this smoothly and accurately without touching any cones in just under three minutes. The time is set to where we really stress accuracy and driving and not speed."
These courses not only test the officer's ability to drive, but also their ability to multi-task, Witham said.
"You have to be able to multi-task in order to be a fairly decent police officer. You got to do lots of different things well so it kind of helps them listen to the radio, understand a little bit, pay close attention to the radio and still get the job done out here on this (course)," Witham said.
The courses Fort Riley officers drove through during their training are the same courses KHP uses when training their troopers, with a couple of additions.
Braking and maneuverability were the key lessons two officers learned during the training.
"I think the best thing here is the threshold braking," said Sgt. Justin Siler, a noncommissioned officer in charge with the traffic section of the Fort Riley Police Department, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison. "It helps you be aware of your surroundings and knowing how you can handle your vehicle when you have to come to a sudden stop. The lane change would be the next best thing - knowing that if you don't have the opportunity to brake, then you can still maneuver without losing control."
"This is definitely helping, especially the lane change for me is what's going the best," said Spc. Kristopher Urban, traffic accident investigator with the FRPD, HHC, USAG.