Local agencies join forces in criminal justice academy scenario training
Each year, the St. Johns River State College Criminal Justice Academy concludes its law enforcement program with a hands-on final exam, thanks to the partnerships with local law enforcement agencies throughout the College's three-county district. Seven agencies participated in the Academy's "grand finale" exercise for cadets preparing to graduate from the Florida Law Enforcement Academy.
During this day-long event, recruits rotate through real-life scenarios to test how effectively they would handle service calls relating to areas such as trespassing, felony and active capias traffic stops, the Baker Act, domestic disturbance, assault and battery, and infant CPR.
The scenarios also require the cadets to apprehend volunteers posing as criminal suspects, testing the cadets’ critical thinking skills and ensuring they are properly prepared to serve the public as law enforcement officers.
“Without the support of the volunteers, this grand finale would not be possible,” said Criminal Justice Academy Instructor/Coordinator Dan DeCoursey, thanking the Clay, St. Johns and Putnam County sheriff’s offices, along with the Orange Park, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and Green Cove Springs police departments.
Richard Hackelton, volunteer project coordinator from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, said that the members of the Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) program, who also provide role-playing services for the Clay County Swat Team, thoroughly enjoy the experience and look forward to participating. “They learn a lot of useful information and are treated well,” he said. “We look forward to helping out whenever our assistance is needed.”
“I think SJR State’s grand finale is a wonderful tool to give the cadets a chance at making arrests, dealing with the public, and generally handling the everyday situations that will arise in their law enforcement careers,” said Hackelton. “It’s great that this opportunity also provides training on how to handle citizens from different age groups, from their complaints to their misbehavior, whatever it may be.”
Applications are being accepted for the SJR State Criminal Justice Academy’s upcoming day and evening law enforcement and corrections officer programs. For more information, contact SJR State’s criminal justice academy at (904) 808-7490 or visit the website at SJRstate.edu/criminaljustice.html.
Corrections cadet Lacey Crisler, of Putnam County, practices fingerprinting techniques on Cecilia Bonham from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) program. Adjunct instructor and Reserve Deputy John Donlon, left, and Detention Deputy Dustin Johnson, right, both from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, look on. The exercise was part of a hands-on final exam for cadets enrolled in the College’s criminal justice academy.
Law enforcement basic recruit Sierra Moody, of St. Johns County, practices an active capias traffic stop with Willard Powers and Cecilia Bonham from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) program. The exercise was part of the hands-on final exam for cadets enrolled in the College’s criminal justice academy.