LPD trains for high speed pursuits - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

LPD trains for high speed pursuits

Lawton_You've seen wild, high-speed chases on TV, but Lawton police say those chases are rare here.  Despite the fact that high-speed chases are a rarity, every police officer is trained to drive defensively, just in case it were to happen.  On Wednesday, all 160 Lawton police officers wrapped up their last day of a defensive driving refresher course at Fort Sill.  They say that as crime increases, cars become faster, and streets become more populated, they must update their training and stay on the cutting edge.

For a police officer, instant accelerations, hair-pin turns, and unpredictable driving conditions are routine.  "Just like firearms, we spend about 90% of our time in our cars and driving, so it's very important that driving is a valid part of training," said Lawton Police Lieutenant Donnie Hanson.  Lawton Police Officer Brenna Alvarez says the job calls for a "need for speed."  "If you have a hot call you got to get to it fast - somebody's having a heart attack, somebody's been hit by a car - something like that, we need to get there as quickly as possible."

Hanson says that need for speed can be dangerous to more than the officer driving.  "Every time you turn those lights and sirens on, and you're chasing somebody, you're putting everybody on the streets lives in danger," he said.

Driving Instructor Lieutenant Ron Seratte makes sure officers know more about defensive driving than just putting the pedal to the metal.  "To give them the ability to drive in a calm nature when they are in a pursuit is very important," he said.  Each officer was required to circle the course three times while in pursuit of their instructor.  If the officer's instructor determined that a student's driving was not up to par, that officer would be required to take a private session. 

Since high-speed chases don't often happen, instructors say they want officers to become familiar with them.  They attempt to make the scenario as true to life as possible, and require the driver to answer his radio, and be able to work with a loud siren.  Police also say that wild, uncontrolled driving is forbidden - even in high pursuit cases.

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