ELIZABETHTOWN — Training plays a vital and important role for any law enforcement officer and, on Wednesday, the members of the Elizabethtown Rotary Club found out how important it is — as well as learned about the different types of training classes that Bladen County’s law enforcement officers have been receiving over the past two years.
Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker, along with Sgt. Gary Turlington and Sgt. Barry Pait, spoke to the group regarding the importance of training and the various types of training that have taken place in the county.
McVicker said the reason the Highway Patrol is so successful is because of their training regimen. He said that once elected, he asked Turlington to oversee training for the Sheriff’s Office and he requested Pait to also work with training. McVicker said he wants all law enforcement officers to have training in order to save lives.
He told the club that the Sheriff’s Office now has an “Are You Okay?” program for senior citizens, purchased by the Division on Aging. He said the automated system will call program participants at a certain time of day and if they do not answer their telephone, a law enforcement officer will be dispatched to check on the individual.
McVicker also said the K-9 unit has doubled in size at no cost to the tax payers and the Sheriff’s Office has also formed an Honor Guard also at no cost to the tax payer.
Turlington told those gathered that at that time of his retirement from the Highway Patrol he was working as a training instructor at the Highway Patrol Academy in Raleigh. He said that during his career, he benefitted from specialized training he had received. Turlington recounted that when he prepared to retire, he contacted McVicker. He said that as a result of that conversation, he began to oversee the training for the Sheriff’s Office.
Turlington said that he and Pait have been working with the county’s teachers on how to respond to threats that may occur on the campus of their school.
Turlington spoke about a recent man tracking class that was held in Bladen County. He said members of the US Special Forces assisted in teaching the class. The man tracking class gives the law enforcement officers the skills necessary to track a fugitive or to track a child that has wandered away from a park, or an alzheimer’s patient who has wandered away, according to Turlington.
He also spoke briefly about preparing for a course and writing the lesson plans. He said that creating a lesson plan for the various training classes that are taught is not a simple task. Sgt. Turlington said the lesson plans for each class must meet the criteria specified by NC Training and Standards before an officer can receive credit towards his or her law enforcement credentials.
He said Pait and himself work tirelessly to see that law enforcement officers know how to defend themselves in all situations.
Pait also spoke and told the group about the Church Security Training program the Sheriff’s Office offers. He said he and Turlington have been busy helping area churches evaluate and improve their security measures.
Pait also spoke about teaching a driving courses for law enforcement and EMS. He said an upcoming class they are preparing to teach, officers will learn how to safely deploy stop sticks.
The Sheriff’s Office also has a helicopter and a boat at their disposal should either be needed.
Turlington also spoke about stress inoculation. he said during the stress training, the officers placed in scenarios and have to make decisions regarding how to handle the various scenarios. Turlington said the officers have no idea what scenario they are facing before hand. He said this helps them when they face similar situations in real life.