Hennepin Tech Upgrades Peace Officer Training Program
Hennepin Technical College is now offering a program that allows law enforcement students to complete their training on one campus.
“A student will start here and finish here,” said Tom Draeper, a director with the Hennepin Tech program. “With other schools in the metro, they start their degree and then they have to transfer.”
Students receive classroom instruction and hands-on training as well as a new video simulator that allows students to practice their response to real-life scenarios. The simulator has more than 300 emergency situations, including active shooter incidents and mental health crises.
CCX News attended class to see how students could interact with the simulator.
Student Joe Penny had to deal with a homeless man suffering from mental health issues.
“When he stood up and clenched his fist, I thought it might be escalating,” said Penny.
During the training, students are armed with an imitation Taser, fake mace and gun. The instructor can change the scenario based on how the students respond.
“There’s a bunch of branching options that they can use or do. Where they can comply if they’re doing well if they’re not,” explained Tom Draper, professional peace officer education coordinator.
The goal of each scenario is de-escalation.
“As soon as you put it into real life and real-time, you have to be able to make those decisions quicker, and you have to make sure you don’t over escalate it,” said student Samantha Moriarty.
Students we spoke with say they are excited to become police officers.
“The only way to build that bridge between the community and officers is to have more people with the right intentions,” said Moriarty.