Prattville Police Dept. Adds Training Unit


By Catalina Trivino

We're taking action against crime tonight in Prattville where the police department has a new unit they say will deter crime in the long-run and also save tax payer money.

The Prattville Police Department has started it's first ever training unit. The ultimate goal is for officers to have more tactical training incase the worst happens in real life.

Masks, paintball guns and a scene like this one make for tactical training for the Prattville Police Department.

But now it's happening more often because the department has added a new training unit in hope teaching officers how to conduct themselves when scene turns hostile. Lt. Wayne Barlow is the first officer to join the training unit.

"The big thing is having somebody assigned to a training unit full time it allows you to devote more time to developing continuing education courses," Said Lt. Barlow.

He says more education for officers means safety and having more training will help better protect officers to react better to what they may encounter on the streets.

"This will be an ongoing in-house training that will be monthly with the department," Said Prattville Police Chief, Mark Thompson.

So how does having in-house training affect your pocketbook? Chief Thompson says training was out-sourced for years due to budget restraints. But that's no longer the case. He says tax payers will be saving money.

"Usually, that's $30 a day -- that's just for the meals. And then you have lodging which could be $50 to $100 a day and then you have the gas expenses depending how far it is to the venue.

 And that's not including the price of a course -- Thompson says it could range from a free class to as much as $3,000 an officer. But Lt. Barlow says the training unit is just the start of their plan to better prepare officers and citizens.

"We are looking to acquire some more property and build a bigger training facility that's more state-of-the-art," Said Barlow

But they're not buying new land, they'll use property already owned by the city. The current training facility holds about 20 people and they're sharing it with another division. They'd like to hold up to 100 people in the new training facility.

The state says officers need to have 12 hours a year of additional training. This year, the department hopes to double that and ultimately increase training hours in the years ahead.

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