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Minerva Police Department hosted local agencies for Advanced Building Clearing training by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy March 21-23 at the Great Trail Community Church of God gymnasium.
"This program is totally free and is at no cost to the village," said Patrolman Jeff Farmer who applied for the program to come to Minerva. "The free training is always booked for a year or more in advance and we are fortunate to get this opportunity."
Farmer on behalf of Minerva PD reached out to several local agencies who might be interested in sending officers to Minerva for the training. Those who participated included approximately 30 officers from Minerva PD, Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Carrollton PD, and Magnolia PD. Classes are one day, eight-hour a day classes for the three days.
Approximately 20 percent of police officer deaths on the job happen while searching residences or buildings. This training is designed to prevent this as best as possible.
The course was built using pipes and tarps. They can be manipulated to create hallways, rooms and other interiors. The Advanced Building Clearing training program also includes mannequins, armed and unarmed to simulate threats. Each officer receives a training Glock pistol loaded with sim rounds that fire non-lethal detergent based projectiles which mark the target with a color.
Instructors Travis McCourt and Dan Pastor led the training on site.
"Training in two or three man teams to clear a building is highly beneficial for us smaller departments," said Farmer, whom has been a police officer in Minerva for 12 years. "We don't have the luxury of calling in a big team quickly like they do in larger cities. Sometimes the wait for a lot of help is too long so we have to go in. Any time we can get good, quality training like this, it is a huge plus."
The group also practiced shooting at certain targets as the instructor shouted out locations coded by numbers. This exercise tested trust as each officer faced a different direction and was responsible for their own field of vision. Other training included driving simulator that simulate different situations, use-of-force training and firearm training.
"We'd like to thank The Great Trail Community Church of God who was gracious enough to host us," said Farmer. "They provided us with coffee and donuts and other refreshments and we really appreciate it."