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County might get job of training police

Southeastern Ohio police might find it easier to beef up patrol skills if officials convince the state to make Lawrence County a regional training base.

Wednesday, September 08, 1999

Southeastern Ohio police might find it easier to beef up patrol skills if officials convince the state to make Lawrence County a regional training base.

"One thing we’ve been trying to do is bring more professional training here for law enforcement officers," said Tim Sexton, chief investigator with Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr.’s office.

So far this year, the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy has offered two sessions focused on testifying in court and street drug identification, Sexton said.

"It is very crucial for a police officer to be able to present that case and carry it through from a street arrest into the courtroom," he said.

More than 25 officers who attended that session learned skills that allow them to ensure state laws and the public are protected, Sexton said.

The academy, run by Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery’s office, provides such training and likes to offer it on a regional basis, he added.

"Now, they’re wanting to branch out in different areas of Ohio instead of everybody coming to central Ohio."

If held in Ironton, at Ohio University Southern Campus where other training has been held, for instance, then local officers can stay put while the state comes to do the training, Sexton explained.

The academy is centrally located near Columbus, but departments paying for training must send officers away for days, he said.

"Regional training here would still be at minimal cost and officers would remain in their local area," he said. "This is just another thing the prosecutor’s office wants to look into providing – additional training."

Currently, all police officers must take hundreds of hours of training at programs such as one offered by Collins Career Center. They must also pass a test and become state-certified.

"These sessions will be continuing education for officers," Sexton said. "It doesn’t hurt to go back for some re-education in some areas, whether you’re a veteran or rookie. Some of the training I’ve had has certainly been helpful to me."

Basically, the prosecutor’s office wants to help improve law enforcement performance and training is a step in that direction, he said.

"And that should lead to greater reduction in crime overall."