When law enforcement officers approach a situation in which there could be people who are armed and dangerous, they have to do two things. They have to learn to approach with caution and to be observant and almost slow the scenario down in their mind. At the same time, they have to act deliberately.
On Thursday, the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy (OPOTA) out of London, Ohio, brought a large piece of equipment to a building on Fairground Road in Lucasville, and trained members of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office on the scenario of clearing out a building.
“It’s call the Advanced Building Clearing Course that OPOTA is putting on for us,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said. “The traditional way is that you spend two hours driving to OPOTA and you go through the class. But what they’ve done now is they actually have a portable academy and they load this facility up and bring it with them and actually let you do your training on your site.”
Donini said it provides standardized training for all his employees. This year, the state mandated 11 hours of additional training and they recently went through 8 hours of that training, leaving an hour from human trafficking training and two hours of elective training.
“We’re running every sworn officer through this so we’re all on the same page,” Donini said. “They’re teaching methods and techniques of entering buildings, assessing the dangers, working in teams, communicating.”
In the early part of the day, the instructors walked the employees through their paces. Then, by afternoon, changed the configuration of the facility and allowed the officers to go through scenarios they were not expecting.
“They’re going through the scenarios on their own and they’re going to make the decision to shoot or to not shoot,” Donini said. “They have simulation weapons and ammunition. As they go through these rooms there will be potentially dangerous individuals – some will have guns and some won’t – and they need to make that split-second decision of whether or not to shoot.”
“This gives the officer the opportunity to make mistakes and not have the consequential effect,” Donini said.
Deputies and detectives worked in two-person teams, drew their weapons, one stood back and opened the door while their partner entered first, followed by the other member of the team.
“Don’t enter too fast,” the instructor said. “Assess the situation.”
It was obvious by the looks on their faces they take the training seriously.
“I was out here yesterday and the guys and girls like this,” Donini said. He said even the most experienced officers were impressed with the training and acknowledged the professionalism of the instructors.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.