MANSFIELD, PA (WETM) – As protests over George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks deaths continue across the country, more attention is being placed on law enforcement and the passage of police reform bills. 18 News took a look at what cadets go through during their time at the police academy.
Before cadets can get to graduation day, there’s a lot they must first learn.
Scott Henry, the Director of Mansfield Police Academy and Mansfield University Public Safety Training Institute says, “when one comes into the law enforcement world the police academy is the first opportunity we have to work and train with these individuals”.
In Pennsylvania the Police Academy is a 919 hour course (formerly 754 hours in 2018) which is divided into 5 modules, the first 4 according to Henry, involve being in the classroom.
Henry says, ““A wide array of curriculum specified by MOPEC is taught from ethics and moral issues, to community police, mental health and behavioral management and analysis”.
But, Henry says that one of the most impactful tools that they have when it comes to training recruits and those who have been on the job for years is virtual reality.
“ Virutal Reality is an asset we utilize, as a recruit to have the opportunity to not only teach in a classroom but prior to any practical demonstration or scenario these students can go into the virtual reality world and work through a multitude of critical instances”, says Henry.
Frank Levindoski, Tioga County Sheriff, and Police Academy Use of Force Module Instructor says, “I think it’s vital to continue to train which is sometimes missed. I have 24 years of experience and I love coming back and going through the training myself to refresh and sharpen my skills”. Levindoski went on to say, ” It’s a perishable skill if you don’t use it you lose it”.
While the use of force is important, it’s something both Henry and Levindoski say is a ‘last resort’.
“We do all the defensive tactics and mechanics for arrest point at the end of their training. When you arrive on the scene the most important thing is to look and listen, your most important tool is your brain and communication skills’
Web Extra: Our 18 News reporter Matt Paddock also got to walk through some of the extreme basics taught during module 5 of the police academy with Frank Levindoski, Tioga County Sheriff, and Police Academy Use of Force Module Instructor. That video is attached below: