Washington County

Posted: Jan 06, 2022 2:17 PMUpdated: Jan 06, 2022 5:39 PM

10 Attending Reserve Officer Academy Through WCSO

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Garrett Giles

10 cadets are going through a basic reserve police academy through the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO).

This is the first reserve academy WCSO Training Coordinator Carey Duniphin has led on his own. Deputy Duniphin says the process has been tiring, but he's learned plenty himself. Duniphin says they have a great group of cadets in the academy. He says everyone's test scores have been high and they have been perfecting their skills along the way.

Deputy Duniphin says six cadets from WCSO, one from the Bartlesville Police Department, two from Ramona, and one from Jenks have been attending classes since October. Deputy Duniphin says they are a little over halfway through their course work. He says they have learned how to handle traffic accidents, the legal block (taught by Washington County Assistant District Attorney Will Drake), firearms, patrol techniques, defensive tactics, officer safety, mental health and handcuffing so far.

The remainder of the course work includes oil field theft, ethics, Law Enforcement Driver Training (LEDT), basic building searches, and active shooter response. Sheriff Scott Owen says the cadets will go through the classwork portion of the LEDT training, but they will not get the practical course on the driving track yet. Owen says they will be prepared for the driving portion of the test when the opportunity becomes available locally. He says the cadets will be trained in these areas just as full-time officers have been instructed.

Sheriff Owen says it is satisfying to see the students excel in this training and know that these reserve officers will return to their respective agencies with confidence. He says little communities such as Ramona need the staffing levels that these volunteers will provide.

Deputy Duniphin says they will look to add Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) the next time the WCSO is able to hold a basic reserve academy. Duniphin says they weren't sure if they would be able to add the two week course because they were already pushing six months of training without the SFST portion. He says they would look to include this training next year as it will give everyone involved with the course more experience in this area of law enforcement.

The courses come at no cost to the cadets. Sheriff Owen says they have greatly minimized the cost for Washington County, too. Owen says the lessons are more electronic-based than paper-based. He says these reserve officers will serve and police our communities on a volunteer-basis, which will come at no cost to the taxpayers, either.

More people were enrolled in the course but have since left to handle other commitments. Sheriff Owen says it is typical that they will lose people along the way. Owen says those who enroll in the classes have full-time civilian jobs that they work on top of their hopes to volunteer as a reserve officer. He says these committed men and women have to take care of their families while working at their occupation and taking free classes three days out of the week for four hours a night through five or six months.

Sheriff Owen says this academy is a great stepping stone for these hopeful reserve officers that may want to pursue a full-time certified police officer's academy. He says the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) has a program called the "bridge academy," which allows reserve certified officers to attend an eight-week course to fulfill their full-time commission as opposed to a 16-week academy. This gets qualified officers on the streets quicker while providing great career opportunities

A pool of local instructors has made this training possible, too. Sheriff Owen says they are fortunate to have deputies at WCSO that can teach CLEET certified training. Owen says they are able to get the same training out that they would receive if they went all the way to Ada, Oklahoma, where CLEET is located. He says approximately 40-percent of their deputies are instructor certified.

The courses are set to conclude in March. Sheriff Owen says a graduation event will take place shortly after the classes conclude. Owen commends the men and women in the reserve academy for sticking with a huge commitment. He thanks the citizens of Washington County for their outpouring of support as well.

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