Utah County, Utah – 90% of a police officer’s duties include them operating a patrol car, but have you ever wondered how they are prepared for frantic maneuvers at high speeds?
Recruits from the Salt Lake City Police Department fueled up and inflated their tires on Friday for a day of speed and agility training at a secret training facility in Utah County.
“Today we’re here on the EVO course — it stands for emergency vehicle operations,” said Jay Fuhr, one of the SLCPD recruits. “So we’re just learning how to safely operate a vehicle — that’s 90% of our job as police officers.”
Fuhr is one of the candidates undergoing training to learn how to drive an automobile under pressure.
Over the course of a whole week, they cover everything at the SLCPD police academy, including practice pursuits, precise maneuvers, quick speeds, hit points, and high-speed turns. “My dad’s a police officer, my older brother’s a police officer, so it kind of runs in the family.”
“The brotherhood or sisterhood, just the family aspect of police is one of the reasons why I joined,” he said. “You know, my class… They’re my best friends. I’ll consider them family at this point.”
Officer Eric Kirkman, who oversees the training, watched these young potential officers on Friday. “This week, we’ll spend at least 40 hours out here where they are driving these cars, the whole time in different situations, and a lot of them struggle. It’s a very stressful time for them,” Kirkman said. “As a police officer, you spend, you know, if you work a 10-hour shift, you spend probably seven, eight hours of those of that day in your car driving around.”
While getting somewhere quickly may entail apprehending a wrongdoer, it is crucial for cops to do so while maintaining their own and others’ safety.
“A lot of our calls are going to be someone that just needs help, and we have to get there in a safe manner,” Fuhr said. “We all want to be police officers because we want to serve and protect the community.”
“We’re not driving fast just because we can drive fast. That’s not the case,” Kirkman added. “We’ve got to get there as fast as we can so we can help those people.”