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HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. — Several law enforcement agencies across Indiana are adapting their training to new statewide policies.
Each year, departments must complete a minimum of 24 hours of additional educational training. Some agencies are now freshening up on the state’s new police pursuit standards.
“Police work and the law, it’s a living breathing profession,” said Amanda Goings, the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. “So you have to stay sharp on your skills. You have to continue to learn.”
Goings said law enforcement constantly adapts to best practices. That includes new statewide police pursuit policies that went into effect at the start of the year, which sets minimum standards that every Indiana agency must follow.
“It’s not so much that it was a really large change for agencies in the state of Indiana, so much that it was making it standardized and consistent across the state of Indiana,” Goings described. “So that when you have officers respond to a situation in say, Gary, Indiana, that they’re responding the same way or similarly that officers would in Indianapolis, Indiana.”
The policy outlines how and when police officers can engage in pursuits.
“You have to weigh the safety of the citizens against the need for the officer to make the apprehension in the first place,” said Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Director Tim Horty. “Using due regard, making certain the apprehension consequences don’t outweigh the public’s safety.”
It may be brand new for some agencies; others already had their own guidelines. Agencies can also choose to implement stricter rules.
“We made a couple of tweaks to our policy so that it mirrored the state’s policy,” Goings said.
While law enforcement like Hendricks County Sheriff’s deputies sharpen up on all sorts of skills each year, these new legal updates have been an addition to this spring and summer’s training.
During that training, deputies also did closed-course practical driving exercises, which includes also sorts of tight bends and turns taking place under a time limit.
“We have to practice those types of things and learn how to get speed off of the vehicle while still maintaining control of the vehicle,” Goings said.
The Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office said many deputies receive hundreds of hours of training each year. Yearly training also includes firearm use and de-escalation tactics.