Lawton Police Department trains for high speed pursuits - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Lawton Police Department trains for high speed pursuits

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -If you were around Fort Sill Wednesday, you might have heard a lot of police sirens, but it was just the Lawton Police Department doing a drill.

Wednesday was the start of their annual driving and pursuit training. Every officer went through driving courses similar to the ones they had to pass in the academy, displaying skills such as backing, parallel parking and shuffle steering, where their hands can't cross. They also go through a pursuit course and chase the "rabbit" or suspect through winding roads and can't knock over any cones.

"Your adrenaline starts going, so you've got to really control your breathing to keep yourself focused, so you don't get into tunnel vision and you're still fully aware of all of your surroundings," said Lieutenant Mark Mason with the Lawton Police Department.

This is the sight Mason has seen for over 10 years. Driving 70 to 80 miles an hour down a winding road pretending to chase a suspect through the old Artillery village on Fort Sill. He's zig-zagging through cones the avoid hitting objects like...

"The object could be another pedestrian not seeing you or it could be a child playing in the roadway that doesn't hear or see you or it could be another car," said Mason.

Each officer is trained to drive through this course in under 4 to 5 minutes. If they hit a cone, they are not penalized like they are in the academy, but the instructor will go back and let them know how well they did and what they did wrong.

"Each year gets more challenging because I try to up my timing and being able to say that I am still benefiting overtime," said Mason. "You're never going to get all the training you possibly need no matter how long you've been doing it."

Although the officer never really "catches" the suspect in this training, the goal is to keep up with them and not let them get too far ahead of you. Lieutenant Brad Davis tells the officers this practice is important to calm their nerves, so they're confident when it actually happens.

"Several years ago we had a pursuit that lasted about 15 minutes. A lot of it went through the Lawton view area where we had residents out rolling dumpsters out in front of the police cars," said Davis. "So some of the stuff we have set up in our pursuit course kind of simulates that, where we are having to drive around different obstacles and stuff like that."

Mason says it's for the communities and their safety that each officer takes these exercises very seriously to help prevent accidents or even deaths in the future.

"There's more officers killed in the line of duty because of vehicle collisions throughout the nation than any other involvement," said Mason.

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