Rules of the road

bbashioum@demo-mo.comNovember 8, 2013 

Justin Bass and passenger Kyle DeWeese navigate a driving obstacle course prepared by Academy Instructor Cpl. Dan Adamson to help recruits understand the foundation of defensive driving – using their mirrors and steering.

BETHANY BASHIOUM/DEMOCRAT MISSOURIAN

Graduation day is nearing for the inaugural class of recruits participating in the Cass County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy.

The 10-month program began in February under the direction of Sgt. Craig McMein.

In the final weeks of the program, recruits have been participating in practical training and first responder exercises as they assimilate to the different areas of law enforcement they have been studying.

Recently, Cpl. Dan Adamson spent two weekends with recruits teaching them road lessons as they prepare to become a patrolman.

“We all carry a loaded gun and we train with that all of the time,” Adamson said. “A lot of people don’t train as much with the driving. To me, it’s just as important.”

Adamson has been a field training officer for seven years, and is also considered a driving specialist.

“We drive all the time,” he said. “It’s important to train and keep your car in good shape.”

During the two driving course lessons given last month in the parking lot of the Cass County Justice Center, Adamson prepared obstacle courses for recruits to navigate the foundations of defensive driving – using their mirrors and steering.

“It develops the skills of knowing where your vehicle tracks and getting vehicle positioning down,” Adamson said.

One of the challenges presented to recruits was an evasive course, which basically teaches the drivers how to steer around an obstacle quicker than braking and stop safely.

“If a car all of a sudden stops in front of you, you can actually steer around it quicker than you can try to stop,” Adamson said.

Another method of training was a serpentine course, which includes a series of cones placed in a straight line on asphalt with enough room before and after, to accelerate and decelerate respectively, as well as room to each side that will allow a police car to maneuver through the course.

“We’re also having them do it backwards to again get them to use their mirrors without turning around and looking back,” Adamson said.

In addition to the courses, Adamson has taught recruits how to watch their speeds, in addition to relaying the importance of vehicle maintenance.

“We’re fortunate here that we have cars assigned to us,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to take care of them and it’s something that’s going to save their life.”

The Academy’s graduation is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Those successfully completing the program will be qualified for Class A Law Enforcement certification, enabling participants to serve throughout the state of Missouri.

This is a fourth piece in a series of articles the Cass County Democrat Missourian is publishing in following the inaugural Cass County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy to graduation day.

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