State Investment Provides Equipment for 33 Police Academies and Agencies to Teach Reality-Based Training
New Training Will Enhance Safety During Police-Civilian Interactions
List of Agencies and Academies Receiving Equipment Available Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York will provide 33 police academies and agencies across the state with equipment for enhanced training of current officers and recruits. The state invested approximately $322,000 to purchase equipment required for reality-based training, which is designed to improve the safety of interactions between police and civilians.
"This state-of-the-art equipment and training will provide officers with new skills and enhance their ability to protect and serve their communities," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is committed to providing officers and agencies with resources, training and guidance to perform their work at the highest level and help ensure a safer New York for all."
Reality-based training allows officers to engage in realistic scenarios they are likely to experience on patrol, from routine encounters with people on the street to high-risk situations with the potential for deadly violence. The training scenarios allow instructors to work with officers to review and evaluate their performance with the ultimate goal of improving decision-making skills, reactions and responses for better outcomes on the street. The hands-on training – designed to recreate the stress experienced by officers during those interactions – requires specialized equipment: non-lethal firearms that act and feel like those carried by officers on duty and protective gear, including helmets and chest protectors.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services purchased and distributed the equipment: 269 non-lethal training firearms and appropriate ammunition and 476 full sets of protective gear, which include helmets with facemasks, neck guards, chest and groin protectors and gloves for officers. A list of academies and agencies receiving the equipment is available here. Police academies train about 1,000 recruits annually, and thousands of current officers attend in-service trainings at the academies each year.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, "We know that reality-based training better prepares officers for situations they are likely to encounter on the job. But we also understood that it may be cost-prohibitive for academies to provide the training because of the equipment necessary: safety gear and handguns specifically designed for this method of training. The state’s investment in equipment for the course and our commitment to training instructors who will teach all police recruits will help agencies ensure the safety of their officers and residents they serve."
Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike, Chair of the Municipal Police Training Council, said, "Reality-based training is critical. In addition to teaching recruits the skills they need for their new career, it provides current officers the opportunity to review prior training and make adjustments to what they have learned in the past to improve their response and reactions. Police officers must make split-second, often life-and-death decisions. This training will better prepare officers for those situations and enhance their safety and allow them to better protect those they serve."
In addition to buying and distributing the equipment, the Division of Criminal Justice Services trained police instructors so they could learn how to teach reality-based training and use the equipment. Agency staff and training officers from the Ithaca, Kingston, Rochester and Syracuse police departments and sheriffs’ offices in Onondaga and Rockland counties taught the course. The five-day-long, train-the-trainer course included lectures, covering topics such as the effect of stress on the body and use of force, and 18½ hours of practical exercises. A total of 77 training officers from 40 police agencies and academies completed the training and are now qualified to teach the training to current officers, recruits and other instructors, which will increase the capacity to provide the training throughout the state.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services is responsible for coordinating police training across the state and provides staff to the state’s Municipal Police Training Council, which sets minimum training standards for police recruits and first-line police supervisors, among other duties. The Council has endorsed reality-based training as the standard for police training and within the next year, it will be part of the state’s Basic Course for Police Officers, which all police recruits must successfully complete.
The implementation of reality-based training as the state standard follows several other initiatives by the state to improve the quality of police training and provide agencies and officers with funding, resources and equipment so they can more effectively serve their communities, including:
- Creation of model policies by the Municipal Police Training Council on topics including video recording of custodial interrogations, use of force, and utilization of body-worn cameras, in an effort to provide best practices and guidance to law enforcement agencies on critical issues.
- Implementation of a revised Domestic Incident Report, which allows law enforcement to collect more detailed information to enhance investigations, better address officer and victim safety and connect domestic violence victims with services.
- Distribution of state-of-the-art radar units to 235 police departments and sheriffs’ offices, purchased by DCJS to replace old or obsolete devices used for speed enforcement.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state's DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
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