Based on feedback from deputies and visitors, as well as my own training experience, the recently opened Public Safety Training Center (PSTC) exceeds my expectations as an excellent place to train that conveys our commitment to professionalism and safety.
Recently, I attended training at the PSTC that is required for all uniformed staff, regardless of rank. I enjoy these training days because I have an opportunity to step out of my day-to-day role and train with frontline staff. While training shoulder to shoulder with deputies at the training center, I benefited from being challenged in new ways across multiple skill areas in one day. Before having the PSTC, we would typically spend all day on a single training discipline (defensive tactics, for example) because of the training venue’s limitations. Recent training at our new facility included “scenario village” responses, defensive driving, the indoor range, and classroom instruction. Without exception, deputies from the Jail, Patrol, and our detectives tell me their training experience is excellent and the PSTC is well-designed and an impressive, engaging place to train. Excellent training is important to me because it’s a cornerstone of a professional law enforcement agency and best prepares deputies for work that can be dangerous.
While I envisioned the PSTC would also attract new applicants, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly it came to fruition. A few weeks ago, the Sheriff’s Office hosted 46 students from a college criminal justice program – our future public safety officers. We were fortunate to have them almost the entire day, and their first stop was the PSTC. Our deputy who organized the visit shared that the students thought the training center was “amazing”, and in their visits to other agencies they had not seen a comparable training venue or such a commitment to excellence in public safety training.
These two events are strong initial statements the training center increases our skills and abilities in ways not possible before, while serving as an exciting recruiting tool in today’s competitive hiring environment. These and other benefits of this multi-disciplinary local training center include:
- Consistent training across multiple Washington County agencies enables us to work together seamlessly to best keep our community safe.
- We schedule training in ways that maximize its benefit to our deputies and specialists without having to negotiate the curtailed availability of other training facilities.
- We integrate dynamic, changing situations in a learning environment so that when a challenge arises in the community or in our Jail, it’s less likely to be a new experience for our deputies or officers, enabling a more informed and appropriate response.
- This facility provides repetitive training opportunities along with an unmatched level of realism, both critical to developing good decision-making skills while under stress.
- Excellent training ensures our community can be more confident their law enforcement professionals do the right thing, especially when they must make split-second decisions and lives are on the line.
- Recruiting is boosted when prospective applicants see both the state-of-the-art training facility, as well as our commitment to their safety and professionalism.
The work of deputies and police officers can be very dangerous, but they do it because they are committed to our community and our safety. A proven strategy to mitigate that danger is to provide excellent training in a consistent manner. Doing this requires an excellent place to train. The Public Safety Training Center is an excellent place to train, helping us best ensure we prepare our law enforcement professionals to keep our community, and themselves, safe.