The Colorado State Patrol has an extensive driver training program. Driver training is approximately 50 hours and begins with basic defensive driving.
Classroom topics include:
Driving is a task that people use everyday and State Troopers are no different. Troopers will spend an average of eight to ten hours a day in their patrol cars. In these eight hours, State Troopers will be required to drive at a high level of performance and may be called upon to drive under extreme conditions. These extreme conditions could consist of inclement weather, high speeds, high traffic volumes or all of them combined.
Physical Application of Driving Techniques
Professional driver training is important to the Colorado State Patrol for several reasons. The first is that, driving on the highways of the state can be dangerous to Troopers and the public. Secondly driver caused errors are one of the most litigated aspects of liability and negligence in the country. Finally traffic enforcement is one of the most dangerous activities that a Trooper will perform. It is for these reasons that a State Trooper receives driver training at the academy and also why it is continued throughout the field-training program. Driver training is also offered as continuing education to Troopers and other agencies wanting improve their driving skills.
Cadets are required to apply driving techniques learned in the classroom to situations at the Colorado State Patrol Driving Track.
Various cone patterns are used to enhance specific skills as they pertain to driving a patrol car. There are approximately ten training vehicles available for training.
Colorado State Patrol Driving Track
The track on top of South Table Mountain was built in 1972 and has been used by numerous police agencies around the State. The track is approximately 1.4 miles long with several curves of variable speed and grade. The course was designed to simulate a two-lane highway.
The Colorado State Patrol also has an extensive off-road course available for training. Occasionally officers in the State are required to respond where there are no roads. The off-road course teaches officers how to get to remote areas of the State safely. Off-road courses are taught to individuals and departments that have a specific need for off-road training.
When the Colorado State Patrol is not using the driving track, we rent our driving track to other law enforcement agencies for training. Many agencies take advantage of the dirt road in the middle of the track to provide their officers with realistic training. We also rent our driving track to various car clubs to ensure a safe place for training.
Tactical Vehicle Intervention, TVI
After students have a grasp of the basic techniques they begin training using advanced techniques like Tactical Vehicle Intervention, (TVI), and Skid recovery. Pursuits are one of the highest liability areas in law enforcement today. The focus of our pursuit training is officer safety, as well as training for ending pursuits as quickly and safely as possible. TVI has been used by the Colorado State Patrol since 1995 and has proven to be an effective way to stop individuals fleeing from apprehension.
Completion of the Academy Driving Program
Cadets must pass the driving program by completing a written and practical exam with 70% or better. The final practical exam is a timed event with various cone patterns and drills. The training does not stop there. After Cadets graduate from the Academy, they will participate in ten more weeks of training with a Field Training Officer, (FTO). Driving an actual patrol car is where the training culminates and is a main focus of field training. For more information on our Field Training Officer or FTO program, click here.
POST Driving Instructor School
In addition to training our cadets, the Colorado State Patrol Academy provides various instructor courses such as the Police Officer Standards and Training, (P.O.S.T.), Driving Instructor course. Law enforcement officers from around the country come to the Colorado State Patrol Academy to receive advanced training in Emergency Vehicle Operations. The POST Driving Instructor School is 40 hours and provides members of law enforcement the skills necessary to teach driver training in an Academy setting.