Toledo police Officer Kevin Dumas’ eyes jumped back and forth across the room as he watched two police cadets talk to a couple involved in a domestic dispute.
The dispute was really a role-play scenario acted out by two cadets at the Toledo Police Academy. Such scenarios, which started Wednesday, help the cadets get a feel for what they’re about to experience when they graduate in less than a month.
Toledo Police officer Kevin Dumas, a training officer for the academy, discusses the responses to the domestic violence scenario with the two cadets after they completed the exercise. Toledo Police cadets are in the last month of training at the Toledo Police Academy at Owens Community College in Perrysburg.
The class of 40 — including 39 soon-to-be officers and one firefighter — will graduate Feb. 2. They will then be paired with field-training officers for four months.
While it was a more relaxed atmosphere than their first day in July — which included push-ups, wall-sits, and other strenuous physical activities critiqued by their supervisors — one of the trainers still let a cadet know his collar was popped on one side.
“Thank you, sir,” the cadet responded.
Officer Dumas, an academy training officer, observed the cadets as they calmly spoke to the couple, trying to find out what happened during the dispute between a husband and wife.
The cadets walked through each step during the scenario, from knocking on the door, separating the couple, and interviewing the man and woman. The couple had begun arguing over a television show when a neighbor called the police, the cadets learned.
There was a weapon in the home, which worried the wife, and the man also had a knife in his pocket.
Toledo Police officer Amanda Coressel, left, makes a suggestion to Cadet Rutherford after the scenario is complete. She played the role of the angry wife in the domestic violence scenario.
In one scenario group, the officers each gained a personal connection with the couple by talking about the television show. By engaging in a light conversation, it helped put the tense man and woman at ease, Officer Dumas said.
Officer Dumas debriefed the cadets on what they did well, what they could improve on, or posed questions about what cadets might do in certain situations. It was also a time for the cadets to ask questions of their veteran instructors.
Domestic situations can be more complex with weapons in a home or children present, police said. While a situation may appear resolved when officers leave, it can later turn deadly, said Officer Dumas.
“Something so small can change the whole scenario,” said Officer Amanda Coressel, who played the wife’s role in the exercise. “Hopefully they pick up on the little things the more they do the scenarios.”
Officer Coressel said she’s seen the cadets improve throughout the course of the academy, and they’ve also become more confident.
The cadets will also review burglaries, a person stumbling in the street, two men assaulting each other, and even barking-dog complaints in their scenarios. The exercises are based on real-life situations officers have encountered.
“This is stuff that they’re going to deal with on a daily basis,” said one of the training officers, Rudy Santibanez. “They don’t know every day what we’re going to be dispatched to.”
After graduation, the officers and their field trainers will be back for more scenario-based training at the academy so they can walk through the scene together before hitting the street.
“The more reps they get of not only running the scenarios, but also writing the reports, it’s only going to make them better,” Officer Santibanez said.
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