POCATELLO AIRPORT, Idaho - It's the first time in eight years the Pocatello Police Department has held the Citizen Police Academy. Saturday was the tactical driving portion of the academy. It started off in the classroom, going over many court cases that have contributed to how police pursuits are handled nowadays.
"They're basically the reason why we do things the way we do," said Sergeant Tim Dillon. "It gives you an insight into what we're thinking when we're going into a pursuit and what we're using to judge whether we should continue the pursuit or not."
And part of a pursuit is knowing how to handle your vehicle in any situation and in any kind of weather. Wanda Caruthers is a participant in the academy and said each course they've held has been very helpful.
"When the police academy came up I just thought it would be great, even though I'm probably older than most of the people [here]," she said after taking a turn in the skid car.
The skid car has eight wheels, with two bars on the front and back anchored to the underside that sport four smaller wheels. That serves as a hydraulic system, so the back and front of the car can raise up and lower individually or together to simulate different driving conditions.
Most people commonly spun out while the back end was raised, resulting in a fishtail, but Dillon also raised up all wheels and instructed the driver on how to steer and brake just right to regain control.
Dillon said the point of the simulation is to know how far is too far to push yourself and your vehicle. That's something Caruthers said she's taken away from this course.
"A greater appreciation and respect for the officers," she said.
If you are interested in participating in a citizen police academy, you can contact the Pocatello Police Department on their Facebook page: facebook.com/PocatelloPD