By: Daisy Rosas
Every State has its own set of requirements on becoming a police officer, and every
city within each state has a specific requirement for the amount of hours of training potential officers must complete in course training before going into the PoliceAcademy.
The Garland Police Department is a prime example. Each officer must complete more than 800 hours to graduate from the Garland Police Academy. The hands-on training, which involves the handling of firearms, is completed in about six months. Garland Police Lieutenant Pedro Barineau said because of the advancement of technology, they are able to provide a more realistic feel to the training through their Firearms Training System (FATS).
"[This is a] life-sized screen that is projected on a wall that is interactive with the officers,” Barineau said. “An officer will give commands based on the circumstance to which they are responding to at that point and time.”
The person responding to the trainee is being controlled by a training officer in order to give the trainee different scenarios to work with. Barineau said this is done because every officer and person they encounter will respond differently in a similar situation.
“The reality is no two situations are going to be the same and we want our officers to understand that,” Barineau said.
The training process in the Garland Police Academy also involves teaching their officers that they have to be calm problem-solvers. This is to ensure that not only they are safe but those in their community too. In light of high-profiled Police-involved shootings in neighboring cities, it is understandable that this is such a high priority. Barineau said community involvement is something that the Garland Police Department actively seeks in order to have a strong relationship with each other.
One of the ways they do this is by offering a 13-week program called the Citizen’s Police Academy. They offer two sections a year to give their residents an inside look into their police department and how their police officers are being trained.
“We just try to make sure that anyone who is interested in learning anything about the police department, we ask and encourage them to apply for this class,” Barineau said. “It’s a true benefit because it allows the citizens to truly see what goes on here, and ultimately build that relationship between the police and the citizens.”
The program is offered both in the Spring and the Fall with 30 to 50 open spots. For more information about the program, or the department itself, you can visit Garland Police Department website.