“Community Classroom” Offers Insight into Police Training



The Greensboro Police Department is hosting a monthly class to provide members of the public with first-hand experience on how police are trained to make often-complex decisions when interacting with people.Called “Community Classroom”, the interactive and hands-on seminar focuses on areas of police work that can be both contentious and misunderstood: police-citizen communication, and use of force. In fact, the content of the seminar arose from recurring themes voiced by residents during community dialogue sessions.

“We are not shying away from these topics,” said Police Chief Wayne Scott. “I want our community members to know just how much emphasis we place on teaching our officers to develop good rapport with people, and to resolve incidents with as little force as necessary. I believe that after people experience a small portion of the training we receive, they will better understand our approach to policing, and some of the challenges of our profession.”Participants first will get an overview of procedural justice training, a structured means of talking and listening to ensure all voices are heard. Participants will also learn laws regarding use of force. Next, the group will discuss use of force options that span the continuum from police presence to use of lethal means.“It’s all about decision-making,” explained Scott.

“Our officers must decide – often in a split second, and often in a chaotic situation- the best way to resolve an incident. There are a lot of things the officer must consider when deciding on what course of action to take. It’s a complex process.”The seminar culminates with an assessment of participants’ own decision-making process by undergoing the challenge of a simulated encounter portrayed in real-time, life-size action on a special movie screen using the Firearms Training Simulator (F.A.T.S.).

The system allows for the participant to interact with the actor on the screen, and, decide what level of force (if any) is needed to resolve the situation.“The real value of using the F.A.T.S. is the discussion that comes after each scenario,” said Scott. “The computer analyzes the actions taken, and the accuracy of any weapons fired at the actors. But, was that use of force lawful or appropriate? Or, did not using force result in injury or death to the student or someone in the video? These are tough decisions to make at the time. And, that’s precisely what we hope to convey during these seminars.”

Three seminars are currently scheduled: Tuesday, Nov. 15; Tuesday, Dec. 6; and, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. They are from 6 – 8 pm at the Public Safety Training Facility, 1510 N. Church St. More seminars will be scheduled for 2017.In order to get the most benefit from the seminar, class size is limited to ten people. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and have no felony convictions.  To sign up for the class, go  or call 336-373-2636 or email communityengagement@greensboro-nc.govA representative from the Office of Community Engagement will let each applicant know whether or not he has been accepted into the seminar.“Community Classroom” supports Scott’s strategy of expanding community outreach efforts to better connect with all of Greensboro’s residents.Source – GPD