Citizen Police Academy: Week 6

Citizen Police Academy








Week 6


Arrest Procedures & Use of Force

Booking Process - Live Scan / CIMIS

Firearms Training Simulator (F.A.T.S.)






Deciding when a situation warrants the use of force is the most critical decision an officer can make. Often the decision has to be made instantaneously, so the officer must be prepared to evaluate and act within seconds. This evening's class let CPA students in on the training Gurnee police officers receive to help them do just that.

Officer Charlie Hoem took the first hour of the class and explained the behaviors they may encounter that might prompt the use of physical force, as well as the various means of reasonable physical force available to them. Often a simple push on one of the body's sensitive pressure points can be enough to make an offender think twice about becoming aggressive. If not, officers can utilize their batons or other means to subdue an aggressive person. Next, Officer Mike Mann explained the arrest/booking process. He began by describing how a prisoner is arrested, cuffed, and seated in the patrol car. Once the officer and prisoner arrive at the station, a rather lengthy booking process must be completed. He explained how the prisoner's information, fingerprints,and other information are catalogued, and what happens to the prisoner once he is released into a cell.

The last part of tonight's class was interactive and featured the Firearms Training Simulator (F.A.T.S). Officer Tim Lavris, the training officer, explained that this machine projects movie-type clips onto the wall that simulate scenes in which officers may one day find themselves involved, such as a high-risk traffic stop or a bar fight. Officers use the simulator to sharpen their skills and to hone their ability to decide when to use any type of force--including deadly force. Officer Lavris controls the actions of those on the screen depending on the type of training he wants the officer to receive. Officers using the simulator are armed with a gun and a can of pepper spray (simulator props) that they can use if they feel the situation warrants it. The experience can be intense. Officer Lavris said that officers can become so involved in the scene they are dealing with that they will experience adrenaline rushes, just as they would in real life, including increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and tunnel vision.

Officer Lavris offered to let the CPA students experience the simulator for themselves. One classmate donned the gun holster on her right and held the can of pepper spray in her left. Her scene involved pulling over a speeding motorcycle on the highway at night. As soon as the man on the motorcycle stopped, he started yelling at her and moving towards her. Officer Lavris encouraged my classmate to respond to the man's comments, which she did, advising him to stay back. The man continued to yell and added threats that he was going to kill her--all while continuing to move towards her. We could see my classmate tense as she warned him to stop or she'd use the pepper spray. When he still didn't listen, she sprayed him and he fell to ground, holding his eyes. "Well, I told him to stop!" she said. Afterwards, Officer Lavris asked her to justify why she responded as she did, just as he does when an officer uses the simulator. Discussing action taken after the scene ends helps an officer determine if he took appropriate action or, perhaps, could have acted differently.

Next week's class features an Assistant State's Attorney to discuss the criminal court system, as well as teen offenses and court.