The Myrtle Beach Police Department did its annual training Thursday on a driving course to prepare for high-stress situations officers will encounter when they respond to calls.
“It is equally as important for us to go on the driving range and practice our abilities out on this course, so that when we are responding to calls for service, we know what our capabilities are, and we also know what the car’s capabilities are,” said Capt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach police.
The training was held in the parking lot that was once used for the now-defunct Freestyle Music Park, where cones were set up for the course.
“The course tries to mimic everything that you would see in the city environment, whether it’s lane changes on the bypass, lane changes on Kings Highway, a two-lane road, backing in and out of parking spaces, and backing in and out of a parking garage,” Crosby explained. “So we try to mimic what you would experience inside the city, out here on the driving course.”
Every officer is required to do the training in his or her patrol vehicle, dodging cones and performing a variety of maneuvers at different speeds.
“What we’re trying to do is simulate the stress that you’re going to encounter while you respond to that call for service,” Crosby added. “You’re processing a lot of information just as you would out in the streets. So it simulates that stress that you are going to have while responding to calls for service on the street, out here on the driving course so you can prepare yourself on how to react.”
Driving instructors designed the courses, giving officers minimum requirements to meet throughout the course.
“What we tell the officers here, if you hit a cone or you do not finish the course, it’s the same thing as not responding to that call for service for that officer that’s calling for your help or that citizen that’s calling for your help,” Crosby said. “While speed is not most important thing, it’s important to be consistent so that you get to that call for service.”