07/04/04 — Officers trained for 'Street Survival'

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Officers trained for 'Street Survival'

By Other
Published in News on July 4, 2004 7:12 AM

Representatives from 25 law enforcement agencies across the state learned they must be vigilant, adaptable and mentally prepared to survive in the changing society that is their "office."

Nearly 150 officers from the Triangle to the coast participated in the "Street Survival" seminar held Tuesday and Wednesday at Wayne Community College. They learned how to keep their "tactical edge" to survive today's threats, using both mental and physical skills.

Topics covered included assessing the risks of and surviving confrontations with terrorists, career criminals, gang members, and the emotionally disturbed. Participants learned how to put themselves in the right frame of mind and gain the tactical advantage to not just survive but to win in a crisis.

Lectures were accompanied by photos and video, some actual footage and some dramatized, and many hard to view. Officers shook their heads at bad scenarios and gasped at gruesome wounds.

"When they see a brother or sister die on the screen, they relate to these people," said lead instructor Dave Smith. "When they get an emotional trigger going, then we have a learning situation."

Because criminals are as well or even better trained and armed than law enforcement, officers need regular training to keep ahead and stay alive.

"It is literally an arms race," Smith said. "Because tactics and techniques of criminals adapt to us, we adapt to them."

In addition to keeping with the latest technology criminals are using, law enforcement must be prepared for the "latest winners of the terrorism lottery," Smith said.

"Everybody wants to go home at the end of the day. We take precautions but we don't go to the extreme we should," said Wayne County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Ray Brogden.

His colleague, Lt. Daryl Overton, agreed that the seminar shook him out of the complacency that comes with familiarity, the attitude that "this is Wayne County and we don't have that here," he said.

"This will make me get my guard up, not be so relaxed."

Several participants noted that they had recognized their own behaviors in the presentations. Others said they had begun practicing some of the new techniques they had learned the first day.

The training is designed to "reaffirm their good habits and affect their bad habits," Smith said.

Attendees receive training hours and are encouraged to share what they learned with their colleagues. "The effect will be multiplied," said Beverly Deans, the college's law enforcement training director.

The event was Wayne Community College's annual law enforcement seminar. Past seminars have dealt with criminal interdiction, investigative techniques, church arson and canine handling.

Because the annual training costs the same no matter how many people attend, Ms. Deans said, the college first enrolls local law enforcement, then opens it to all N.C. agencies. The departments pay only for their officers' lodging and meals.

Both trainers for the seminar, presented by Calibre Press, are veteran officers and law enforcement instructors. Dave Smith, also a police spouse, has been teaching law enforcement survival seminars for more than 20 years. Raimondo "Ray" DuCunto is currently a sergeant in the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

Departments represented in the training included Wayne County, Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Walnut Creek, Cherry Hospital, Wayne Memorial Hospital, Pitt County, Greenville, Ayden, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, Raleigh, Cary, Zebulon, Garner, Apex, Durham, Duplin County, Wilson, Stantonsburg, Wilson County, Rocky Mount, LaGrange, Lenoir County, and Oak Island.