Eight recruits from the Odessa Police Academy had intensive driving training

Odessa Police Academy wraps up driving course
Odessa Police Academy wraps up driving course(CBS7)
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -Eight recruits in the Odessa Police Academy had intensive driving tests this morning at Ratliff Stadium.

These tests are mandatory not only to take, but also to pass. That way the recruits can advance to the next step in the academy.

The eight recruits began training at the stadium’s parking lot at five in the morning doing drills required to pass the course, but in the dark.

Later in the morning, they did minor drills such as sharp turns, brake checks and reversing in tight spots.

The OPD recruits are going through a 30-34 week training.

At the end of the academy, five will be Odessa Police officers, two will be Midland Sheriff’s Deputies and one will be a part of the Odessa Fire Department.

Part of the training consists of a driving obstacle in a police or sheriff vehicle…

They were going around cones at certain speeds and reversing in tight areas.

“So for the first time, I did feel nervous about it, going into it, because it was new. Like I said it’s going at high speeds, having to slam on the brakes, making sharp turns it was something new. To my side of it, I was nervous initially, after taking more reps i started getting comfortable with it.” OPD recruit Nathan Sanchez says.

Before the recruits can get behind the wheel, they have to shadow a field training officer for two weeks to be able to get behind a police unit.

Robert Torres, who’s a OPD recruit says that now that they’re doing the actual driving, he’s more comfortable.

“Now we’re doing evasive driving so I’ve learned a lot of things from braking, to turning at 90 degrees, to going a certain speed and stuff like that. Different ways of braking, different ways of taking turns.” Torres says.

The driving instructors say that all eight recruits passed the intensive driving course.

One of the recruits, James Chilcoat, says he’s been involved in law enforcement for years.

“I’ve been with Midland County almost going on nine years now. Been working in corrections, (and) I’m finally able to go through the academy. And see the other side of law enforcement and I am very excited.” Chilcoat says.

The driving instructors say the recruits are taught whether they can or cannot chase a suspect in a car pursuit.

OPD has a restricted pursuit policy, which means officers can only pursue a suspect if a big crime like murder is involved.

If you’re wondering what happens if a recruit doesn’t pass the course?

If a recruit doesn’t pass it, they have to go back and train again until they are able to pass.

However, in this case, all the recruits passed and will move on to the next training.

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