Patrol School Class #1
Training to be a deputy sheriff begins with a 25-week full stress academy, a grueling 954 hours of physical agility, classroom instruction and training on patrol tactics and techniques.
Typically, once graduating from the academy, deputies start their career in Custody or Court Operations. Once they are ready to promote, usually in about five years, deputies go out to contract cities or unincorporated county areas to patrol.
Last year, OCSD created the Field Training Bureau (FTB) to better prepare the deputies during their transition to patrol. Lieutenant Jeff Hallock leads the FTB with Sergeant Ron Kennedy and Sergeant Brad NewMyer. Together, they created a formalized process called PREP- the Patrol Readiness Education Program. It’s a six-step program that is self-directed, providing the necessary information and resources for the deputies to fully prepare themselves through the first four steps including mental, academic, and equipment preparation.
Step five is the FTB’s latest implementation- Patrol School. It’s a 2-week Academy refresher, refining the skills and knowledge that deputies learned in the academy.
“We’re sending a consistent, standard message to the deputies preparing to go out to patrol, and providing practical application to skills they will be using on a daily basis,” said Lt. Hallock.
Patrol School Class #1 just graduated last Friday with 47 deputies. Lt. Hallock said he’s been impressed with their total enthusiasm. Day one, he said, the deputies were lined up ready to go five minutes before class was even supposed to start, just like they would have been in the academy.
One surprising thing is the tenure of some of the deputies in Patrol School Class #1. Typically deputies spend 5 years in Custody or Court Operations before promoting to patrol. Patrol School Class #1 has deputies with 5-21 years of experience with the department. Lt. Hallock attributes it to the opportunity and investment that OCSD has put in the FTB.
Step six is the PREP Ride, where deputies spend four weeks riding along with a Field Training Officer.
To deputies preparing for patrol, Lt. Hallock offered advice. “The PREP program and particularly Patrol School are only as effective as you make it. The department is putting forth the effort, and we expect you to do the same,” he said.