Passion. Skills. Ability. Train with WCSO.
At Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), we’re dedicated to providing the best training for our deputies. It’s our duty to protect and serve the community of Washington County, and our goal is to implement a comprehensive training program that prepares new recruits for real-life scenarios. Completed in 2019, our state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Center consists of a combination of simulation, physical, and educational training that helps produce well-rounded deputies. After completing WCSO’s training program, you’ll be prepared to be a part of a uniquely talented team.
Our deputy recruits go through a nine week Pre-Academy training program at the training center where they learn many fundamental skills needed to begin their career in law enforcement. While going through the Pre-Academy, recruits perfect their skills at the training center.
WCSO employs a range of instructors at our training facility, enabling new recruits to receive focused learning from start to finish. Our training staff includes two full-time instructors, a program manager, a patrol liaison, a jail liaison, and a range master. All of our instructors participate in an instructor development course to study adult learning theory, but having a passion for teaching is also critical. “You’ve got to have the right passion, the right skills, and abilities to teach people the correct way,” said full-time Training Instructor Deputy Earl Brown.
You’ve got to have the right passion, the right skills, and abilities to teach people the correct way.
– Training Instructor Deputy Earl Brown
Deputy recruits need to learn how to handle a variety of scenarios in the most realistic way possible. It’s best to learn in a controlled environment so they can apply their experience to real-world situations safely. Scenario Village is a full-scale reproduction of a commercial & residential neighborhood housed within the training center. There is also a Mock Jail that is modeled from our jail. In Scenario Village, recruits can fully immerse themselves in a variety of situations within residences, banks, coffee shops, and more. Scenario Village also has sidewalks and streets where patrol cars can drive, offering limitless possibilities to practice an array of real-world situations.
“We want it to be very realistic to what we actually encounter or whatever our instructors can cook up and be creative about,” said Deputy Brown. Examples of scenarios can be anything from de-escalating a situation to learning how to handle an unknown risk traffic stop. One of the most important skills learned in Scenario Village is decision making. “I think what really separates us is being able to make good decisions, informed decisions, based on what you have in front of you,” said Deputy Brown. “I think that’s the most critical thing that’s taught in Scenario Village.”
Deputy recruits can perform a fully simulated arrest from Scenario Village to the Mock Jail on site. For recruits training to be jail deputies, the Mock Jail is a two-floor, full-scale reproduction of a jail housing unit section. Training can be difficult in real jails with real inmates, and the Mock Jail is an opportunity to learn necessary training to be prepared for future scenarios.
A large part of a Patrol deputy’s role includes time on the road in a patrol car, which requires additional training. WCSO’s expansive Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (EVOC) allows recruits to practice a variety of on-the-road situations. Pit maneuvers, high-speed training, and even parallel parking skills are honed on the EVOC course. Recruits can practice driving in winter weather conditions year-round on Skid Cars that simulate loss of control on icy roads.
New recruits might begin their simulation training with MILO, an interactive video that produces on-screen scenarios driven by an instructor. Recruits are presented with various situations while the instructor controls whether computer-generated individuals comply or don’t comply based on how they choose to handle the situation. This type of learning is an effective way to prepare for more realistic scenarios when recruits are ready to experience Scenario Village. Each piece of the simulation training at our training center provides recruits with the decision-making tools necessary to approach a range of situations safely and effectively.
It’s important that deputy recruits are well-trained physically in order to apply their decision-making skills to the simulated experiences. In the Physical Skills room, recruits learn defensive tactics such as how to protect themselves, how to control combative suspects, how to safely perform takedowns, and how to protect themselves while fighting on the ground. Recruits also learn how to operate a taser and pepper spray and practice scenarios in which they could use them. Eventually recruits practice the above skills on role players, but dummies are also used during the training process to ensure safety.
WCSO has two indoor 50-yard shooting ranges at our training center. Each shooting range offers ear protection, eye protection, and knee pads for safety. The range has targeting systems that allow students to practice visual reactions to threats, non-threat targets, and moving targets at various speeds. The shooting ranges can simulate any time of day, including nighttime or low-light situations. The range is large enough to fit patrol cars if needed. Both shooting ranges are equipped with HVAC filtration systems to eliminate hazardous lead inhalation, and all metal used in the shooting range is sorted and recycled, including dust.
At WCSO, our goal is to train recruits into well-rounded deputies. While the physical and simulated training is critical, the mental preparedness is also a key component of success. In the classroom learning portion of training, recruits learn CPR and first aid, as well as Emotional Survival for coping with the mental demands of the job. “Emotional Survival teaches you, ‘It’s okay to feel the things you’re feeling or see the things that you’re seeing and there are healthy ways to deal with it,’” said Deputy Brown. “‘And it’s okay to talk about stuff with people you trust.’” It’s crucial that deputies understand how to deal with emotional stress both on and off duty in order to perform their job effectively.
Problem solving. Compassion. Camaraderie.
At WCSO, our decision to create a comprehensive training facility stems from our desire to cultivate skilled, well-rounded deputies to serve the community of Washington County. Our recruits learn from seasoned deputies who are passionate about teaching and building a highly skilled and qualified force. Our Public Safety Training Center’s combination of simulation, physical, and mental training gives our deputies the tools they need to protect and serve Washington County. Keeping our community safe is our top priority, and it starts at the Public Safety Training Center.
Learn with the best. Serve with the best. Train with the best.
Ready to join WCSO? Start Your Application Here.