Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Pirates of the Pursuit Pad

As I mentioned, I was away for two weeks in Northern Arizona completing a Tactical Driving Instructor School. I am now certified by the state to teach that topic to Peace officers.

It was actually a bit more difficult than I had pictured in my head. How hard could it be to do a bunch of fast driving and squealing of tires. But, they actually made us work hard during the entire two weeks.

The most challenging part of the course was the fact that we had to continually qualify on different driving skills and knowledge assessments. The first week, we had to qualify at the "student" level on everything from multiple backing courses to reverse 180 "j-turns" to the pursuit track to doing evasive and breaking exercises. Most everything had time requirements and many required us to perform several consecutive exercises. This was fine, until you did three in a row of something, then blew it on your third time. Back to square one, with only a limited number of attempts to qualify. Since I haven't driven a standard patrol car for nearly two years and hadn't been exposed to some of the concepts they were teaching since the academy, it was interesting getting back behind the wheel.

The following week, we did the same exercises, having to qualify at "instructor" level. This meant that we had decrease our times, shorten our reaction times and be able to explain the concepts and reasons for the techniques we were taught and expected to teach. They threw plenty of stress on by letting us know that we wouldn't pass the course if we didn't meet all the times and do all the activities as prescribed. But, it turns out that by the second week, all the driving skills were much easier and the concerns I had were in vain.

I suppose the best part was getting to know some of the other guys taking the class. We had a retired Green Beret that is a cop up north, some tribal police, a sex crimes detective, a former gun store owner that is a cop in the Phoenix area, some former marines, a man nicknamed "gator" because of a previous run in with a gator that took two of his fingers, some state patrol guys, a few heavy drinkers, a guy just back from a year long tour in Iraq and other random characters. It was kind of like being on a pirate ship.

In all, it was a good class. Let me know if anyone wants to learn how to do a J-turn. You provide the car.

1 comment:

Agent Pipes said...

think i can do it in a minivan?