Wednesday marked the halfway point for the current Speedway Police Citizens Academy class. For the first part of tonight’s class, students learned about the Speedway Police Department SWAT team from several members, including Sgt. Robert Dine, Det. Chris Ristuccia, Officer Matt Dahlke, Sgt. Mike Hart, Officer Nathan Shipley, Officer Ben Rupenthal, and Officer Pat Hammel. The SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team is trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside the abilities of regular officers. Duties include hostage rescues, counter terrorism operations, serving high risk arrest and search warrants, subduing barricaded subjects, and engaging in heavily armed criminals.
They discussed the requirements and process that officers must go through to become eligible to be on the SWAT team, as well as the continuing training sessions they take part in, including firearms, building entries & searches, active shooter, and officer down rescue.
They displayed many of the specialized equipment used by the team, including firearms, submachine guns and assault rifles, stun grenades and riot control agents as well as body armor, ballistic shields, entry tools, optics, etc.
They discussed with students how they assess various situations and intel regarding the physical environment, people involved, etc. to determine how to best respond to and resolve an active situation.
During the next part of the class, Officer Mat Turpin taught students about the police department’s K-9 Unit. He started with a history of work dogs, focusing on law enforcement, detailing which breeds are typically utilized, including German shepherd, Belgian malinois, Dutch Labrador, Blood hound and Collies. Each breed is used for various purposes depending upon the dog’s characteristics. Strong positive characteristics are ball drive, hunt drive, prey drive and food. Negative characteristics are environmental (dogs that don’t like to be in certain situations or even like certain texture floors, etc.), too social, lacking in drive, or sound issues (dogs must be able to deal with gunfire).
Most law enforcement dogs are purchased from European breeders, whose dogs from have good characteristics. Law enforcement training is done in the US, and the handler and the K9 go through various levels of training, depending upon the intended purpose – patrol school is 8 weeks, narcotics school is 2 weeks, etc. K9s can be multipurpose, dual, or single purpose. Various law enforcement purposes for K9s include:
Officer Turpin then brought in K9 Officer Tom to meet the class, but he was far more interested in chewing on his plastic toy ball than he was with us!
Next week, Citizens Academy students will be learning about crime scene investigations and the following week will have a chance to try out their new skills in a simulated crime scene! Stay tuned!!
Slideshow of all photos from the Speedway Citizens Academy class: SWAT / K9
(Click the hyperlink if you cannot view the slideshow)