The been getting strong reviews from area police officers just one year into the program.
The Waukesha County Technical College training center moved into an old daycare a year ago. The 20,000-square-foot facility provides scenario-based training for police officers to get enhanced experience.
A recent evaluation of the program has ranged from comments such as “great facility” or “Can’t believe how high tech it is.”
“It has allowed us to the holistic scenario-based training,” said Brian Dorow, associate dean of the criminal justice program at the college. “We have received just an incredible response from the police officers that are training there. … It is the highest level of training where someone is actively learning when you are able to do the scenario based training. We actually try to replicate what an officer is going to encounter on the streets from start to finish.”
Before exercises where an officer may have to determine whether or not to use physical force against a suspect, the training program first does what it can to raise an officer’s heart rate and increase adrenaline before the officer responds to the calls. The trainers will present different variables during the calls.
“They are fatigued, they are breathing hard,” explained Dorow. “That is going a long way.”
About 3,000 officers throughout southeastern Wisconsin have used the training center. Police officers need 24 hours of continuing education in law enforcement training in order to maintain their certificate.
Waukesha Police Capt. Ron Oremus said the Waukesha Police Department uses the facility for in-service for annual training updates for its officers. It also gets a lot of use during scenario week for new officer training.
“It is very helpful to have a facility like that,” said Oremus, who is an instructor during the training.
Before the training center was located on Morris Street, the police department used a ranch-style home near WCTC. The training center’s an improvement when it comes to scenario-based trainings.
“I can tell you that while (the ranch-style home) is nice, it just didn’t have the room to train like the new facility does,” Oremus said.
The training center at WCTC could be even more enhanced in future years. Dorow said he wants to add the element of sound into the scenarios. It is not uncommon for area police to be called to scenes that have couples arguing or children crying.