The Training Division keeps up to date on changes to law enforcement training requirements and ensures each officer meets or exceeds those training requirements each fiscal year.
Each officer of the Wheeling Police Department must complete a minimum of in-service or continuing education hours to remain certified as an active Law Enforcement Officer. These training requirements vary depending the officer’s rank and certain job duties. Supervisors have more training requirements to meet than patrol officers, and instructors must also maintain certification in their particular discipline.
Training management is achieved through a state-wide resource known as the Law Enforcement Professional Standards Information System (LEPSIS). All aspects of an officers training and employment status’ are tracked with this system even if an officer comes from another WV agency. In addition to managing past training, the Training Coordinator tries to bring relevant, quality training to the local area to keep officer current on changes in tactics, techniques and procedures. Budgets, scheduling, travel and training equipment needs or supplies are also handled within this office.
The Wheeling Police Department Firearms training section currently has (3) three firearms instructors assigned to it. The firearms instructors conduct bi-annual weapons qualifications and training with the weapons organic to the department. This includes pistols, patrol rifles, scoped rifles, shotguns and less lethal shotguns. Weapons qualifications are done twice a year, once during daylight hours and once during low light hours. In addition to the qualifications, training is done not only on how to use the weapons, but when to use them. The following items are examples of some firearms training conducted by the Wheeling Police Department:
In addition to the firearms training and qualifications, the department range time has also focused on tactical medicine, CPR and first aid.
FIELD TRAINING OFFICER (FTO) PROGRAM
Many people who have never served in law enforcement believe that once a police officer graduates from the training academy he/she is a trained police officer ready to work the streets. As professional law enforcement officers, this notion is far from the truth. While the academy program is important in training a new officer, working in the field with a seasoned officer is equally important. The Field Training Officer (FTO) Program becomes an essential training period for all police recruits.
The Field Training Officer (FTO) Program is designed to provide pre/post academy training that will develop the police recruit into a highly trained and positively motivated Wheeling Police officer, capable of meeting or exceeding department standards of performance. The success of the FTO program relies upon the expertise, professionalism, and dedication of the dozen Wheeling Police Department Field Training Officers. The FTO Program lasts between 12 to 16 weeks depending on officer experience.
Sgt. Doug Howell