EDITOR’S NOTE; This is the third part of a four-part series on the training that first responders of Barton County go through to ensure they are continuously ready to assist the public.
The motto to “protect and serve” has always been associated with law enforcement and in order to fullfill this motto training has to be the front lines for the people that not only keep our streets safe but to ensure they are staying out of harms way.
Our police officers participate in these practices on a daily basis. They go through many hours of training to ensure our streets are safe and our town is a good place to live in.
“This training is very important for our officers,” Great Bend Police Chief Clifton Couch said. “We want our officers highly trained to protect our citizens and to keep the streets safe.”
According to Couch, all new law enforcement officers are required to attend an academy in order to become certified as a police officer. The vast majority of them do this by attending the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson.
The course at KLETC is 14 weeks long. The officers live there during this time, leaving on the weekends to come home. They undergo classroom training and practical application training in everything from defensive tactics to driving and deadly force, to classes on how to prevent bias-based policing or racial profiling.
“When a new officer finishes the academy, we also put them through our Field Training Program. During this time, they work with a training officer for 14 weeks,” Couch said.
In addition to this, all officers in Kansas are required to complete at least 40 hours of training every year. Some training like firearms and bias-based policing prevention training are required to be done every year.
The rest of the 40 hours is achieved by officers going off to classes or by doing in-house training.
“In our in-house training, the Department provides four hours of training for each officer, each month,” Couch said. “This in-house training deals with a wide range of subjects. Sometimes it deals with issues that the department has identified as important to address, due to trends in the law enforcement profession.”
Officers also attend out-of-town training from time to time. The GBPD tries to save its training money for specialized, advanced classes that they wouldn’t be able to conduct themselves.
According to Couch, sergeants Settle and Bachar just attended the Kansas Police Administrators Seminar. This week long course is held at KLETC, and helps supervisors learn all of the different skills needed to be administrators.
It also helps familiarize them with the various issues facing law enforcement and detectives often attend specialized classes on subjects such as homicides, child crime, or interviewing techniques.