By John W. Feary, Claremore City Manager
Over the last 10 months, we have all had to find new ways to complete what we would normally consider routine tasks. Obviously, those on the frontlines of public safety have had to take greater precautions when performing daily duties, including finding creative ways to continue with mandated training. I am proud to report that our Claremore Police Department (CPD) took a challenging situation and excelled!
The Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) requires every officer receive 25 hours of continuing education each year. This includes firearm certifications and at least two hours of mental health training. Generally, our department would send officers out to different agencies that offer accredited training opportunities, but, this year, we brought as much training in-house as we possibly could. Being creative with our officer’s educational opportunities allowed us to decrease travel expenses and reduce our force’s exposure to COVID.
In 2018, CPD implemented a public safety and policy training tool called Lexipol and recently expanded its capabilities for mandated training. Through this program, our officers receive a daily training bulletin that requires login and response. The bulletin typically provides a scenario that references policies, statutes and federal guidelines. After our officers have read and studied the scenario and collateral materials, they are administered a test to ensure they fully understand what they have read. This new educational tool is CLEET-accredited, and our officers receive 8 hours of continuing education each year by completing daily training bulletins. This tool increases accountability, and through it we are building a better agency by promoting proficiency and understanding.
I am honored to work with Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown because he is committed to excellence and places an emphasis on continuing education and training to provide our community the best law enforcement agency possible. But let me put it in perspective for you. In 2019, prior to the COVID pandemic, CPD averaged 59 hours per officer, 34 hours more than what is statutorily required. In 2020, despite the pandemic, our department increased training hours to an average of 77 hours per officer. Quick math shows that’s more than 3,000 hours of training for our police force of 39 people. Our officers tripled the minimum standard!
I would be remiss if I did not mention that January 18 was an important day for Chief Brown. He celebrated his ten-year anniversary as our Chief of Police. Stan has been an important part of our force since 1994, but he has done an outstanding job leading this team. Happy anniversary, Chief! We appreciate your dedication to our community and your job. You are a big reason why Claremore is an outstanding place to live!
In closing, I would also like to extend a thank you to all essential and frontline workers providing services during these challenging times. Your service is very much appreciated and to each and every Claremore Police Officer, I say thank you for your commitment to your profession and to the citizens of Claremore.