Police academy officers train for accidents
Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016
As soon as the sun disappeared behind the horizon, blue and red lights and the sounds of sirens filled Craig Field Tuesday night.
Alabama Police Academy student officers participated in an accident investigation-training course.
With wrecked cars provided by Al’s Towing and Recovery, four crash scenes were staged to give students a vivid experience of real world situations.
“They’ll get accustomed to the sights, the smells, the sounds,” said class coordinator Senior Trooper Dan Fells. “Most of these guys are going into night shift anyway, so we do it at night so we can put it as close to reality as possible.”
The staged accidents taught officers have to respond to injuries as well as fatalities. At one scene, a man was trapped into an overturned vehicle that was T-boned by an SUV.
Another scenario depicted a single vehicle crash into a ditch where the driver left the scene.
Nearly 30 students representing 19 agencies were in attendance including Madison Police Department, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, Gulf Shores Police Department, Elmore County Sheriff’s Department and others. The students were divided into four groups. After completing an investigation at one scene, they were to “respond” to another scene at a different location.
Local fire and emergency agencies such as Selma Fire Department, CARE Ambulance, Sardis Volunteer Fire Department and Craig Volunteer Fire Department were also invited to participate in the training course.
“They get training, the students get training and it’s basically a win-win for multiple agencies to do one training session,” Fells said.
During onc scenario, firemen had to cut and lift the top off a vehicle to safely secure the accident victim.
Student officers are taught to process, clear and properly investigate a crash. They are also taught how to work with other agencies and how to deal with victims’ families, friends and accident spectators.
“We don’t teach them to show up and get names and numbers,” said Senior Trooper Reginal King. “By the time they’re done they should know what the contributing circumstances of these crashes are, what caused these crashes.”