Sheriff’s Dept. officers undergo training

Published 4:57 pm Thursday, June 26, 2008

Since January the Pearl River County Department has sent numerous personnel to a number of training classes in an effort to enhance their skills for serving the community.

The training involves sending 32 personnel, consisting of 26 deputies and 6 investigators, for 18 differing types of training, said Chief Deputy Frank Vaccarella.

Training included preventing and reacting to terrorism, suicide bombing and mass casualties; non lethal weapon use, highway narcotics interdiction, emergency incidents at high school or college campuses, search and seizure and advanced DUI detection including use of the 800 intoxilizer, portable breathalyzer and elementary field tests.

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Recently, two groups of corrections officer classes graduated a total of 32 certified jail personnel, Vaccarella said.

Two K-9 officers and their dogs also attended some training. One officer and his dog, Scoob, attended narcotics training, while the other officer and his dog, Bart, attended tracking school.

Crime scene investigation work was covered by outside instructors who taught department personnel how to preserve and process a crime scene. Instruction covered identifying a crime scene, containing the scene and protecting evidence; photographing the scene and evidence, and how to collect, identify and label the evidence, Vaccarella said.

“The cases going to the District Attorney’s office are a lot stronger than they’ve ever been,” Vaccarella said.

Two investigators attended domestic violence training conducted by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Several employees with the department are certified instructors and trained deputies and investigators in a number of crime fighting techniques, including firearm use. In that training, 62 deputies and investigators were certified in the use of a pistol. Also, 22 deputies were trained in the use of shotguns, while 12 deputies were trained in the use of long-range rifles, assault rifles and counter sniper training.

Non-lethal weapons training included certifying 18 new employees in the use of pepper spray and tasers.

The department just started instruction in tactical training and in Special Response Team training.

“We will always be seeking the best equipment and technology that law enforcement has available to detect and deter crime,” Vaccarella said.

In the six months of training that has taken place so far, about 1,200 hours of instruction has been covered. The cost to county tax payers for that training has been nothing, Vaccarella said. The training was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Attorney General’s office in Jackson and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Sheriff’s Department appreciates the support and funding from those agencies that enabled them to conduct the training, Vaccarella said.

Additional funding for the department is forthcoming since Vaccarella is seeks grants by traveling to places such as Portland Ore., Memphis Tenn., and Jackson. Currently, the department has secured more than $200,000 in funding and an additional $50,000 to $60,000 has been promised, he said.