October 03, 2012
The class started their Police Vehicle Operations a few weeks ago. They had a classroom session last week before to review PVO concepts before going to the track for their first day of hands-on training.
The PVO classes are so important. When you’re a patrol constable, the majority of your shifts are spent in your cars. You have to be prepared for all sorts of driving conditions, including emergency driving, backing up, knowledge of the city, and multi-tasking.
PVO isn’t about driving fast. It’s about learning how the cars move, their stability, and various skills officers require on a daily basis.
I hopped in a car with a highly-skilled officer who leads the PVO training for the police service. He took me through nine driving exercises the recruits need to master. They involve regular skills like parallel parking and evolve to exercises like tactical backing and the star maneuver.
Most of the exercises are actually completed at quite a low speed, but due to the turns and direction changes they feel a lot faster! For all the exercises, there are times in which the recruits must complete them.
The tenth and final exercise is a cumulative skills course where they take everything from the previous nine and perform it within a time limit, which is adjusted depending on the road conditions the days they are tested.
For me, going through the exercises with the instructor driving wasn’t as simple as it sounds. The instructor can do the exercises much faster and between the zigzags, reversing, and quick turns my adrenaline kicked in!
After he explained and demonstrated the course for me, we drove around to each station watching the recruits practice. The class was split in two for PVO, with the other group working on their Firearms training. So each recruit had their own vehicle.
They were in groups of four taking turns at each station. We’d watch them, the officer would make any necessary corrections, and then they’d continue.
There are more driving trainers, so they drove around, offering advice and hopping in the car with the recruits if they need further guidance.
A large part of the training is comfort. The trainers work hard to ensure the recruits aren’t nervous and so they understand the stability of the cars. Their primary goals are to teach officer and road safety.
I didn’t get a chance to talk to RTC #125 after their day, but I asked someone from RTC #122 about PVO. He said it was his favourite part of training, and everything he learned is applicable to everyday patrol.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll answer your questions the best I can