To Protect and Serve...Drive to Survive!

To Protect and Serve...Drive to Survive!
Train as if your life depended on it! It does!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The New Ford Police Interceptor (Formerly the CVPI / P71) Law Enforcement Vehicle

The New Ford Police Interceptor (Formerly the CVPI / P71) Law Enforcement Vehicle - Watch four active duty officers from across the United States and Canada test drive the competition and compare them to the next generation Ford Police Interceptors (Sedan and Utility).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lt.John Leas Retires

Lieutenant John Leas, EVOC Training Manager, recently announced his retirement after serving the City of San Diego for over 31 years. John chose an early retirement to accept a job offer and start a new career with the San Diego Padres Baseball Club as their new Director of Security.  He starts his new job on February 28, 2011, with an office at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. John served the San Diego Regional EVOC program for over 25 years, dedicating himself to providing the very best in emergency vehicle operations training.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 National Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities - News Release

For the 13th year in a row, traffic related incidents continue to be the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers nationwide.  Click on the title or this link ( to view the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund News Release.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Ford Police Interceptor Sedan Quickest in LA Sheriff's Department Police Vehicle Testing

Click on the title for details and additional photos.  Check out the new Police Interceptor SUV - an excellent pursuit rated competitor in the sport utility market.  Testing occurred November 2010 in Los Angeles.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ford Police Interceptors Test Drive

In early December, Ford Motor Company invited four police officers from around the U.S. and Canada to Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds ( outside of Phoenix to experience the next-generation Police Interceptors. 

Over the course of two days, the officers had the unique opportunity to drive late-program prototypes of the Ford Police Interceptor sedan and utility, as well as the Ford CVPI, the Dodge Charger and the Chevy Tahoe for comparison purposes. Each officer had a chance to drive both Interceptors and competitors in a variety of settings, including a road course, a wet pad, an autocross course and a gravel pit (to simulate snow and other poor handling conditions).

Additionally, Ford Police Interceptor development engineers were on hand to provide officers with in-depth explanations and information on the vehicles and the development process. The results of this intensive two-day session were captured on video and will be posted to in the near future.  As a side note, we utilized a Porsche Cayenne Camera Car - check it out at:

The participating officers included Staff Sgt Chris Whaley (Ontario Provencial Police), Officer Terry Bykerk (Grand Rapids Police Department, Michigan), Officer Don Spence (Dundee Police Department, Michigan) and Lt John Leas (San Diego Police Department).

Terry, Don, Chris and John
For a look at the new Ford Police Interceptors, check out the video at Jay Leno's Garage on the sidebar or at

Monday, December 6, 2010

When Tragedy Strikes...

Former SAPD Officer David Seaton
A former San Antonio, Texas officer is convicted and sentenced to prison for an on duty traffic collision that takes the life of another officer.  Read the story at:$55637

A tragedy for all involved....

Also see this post from a jury member in this case for further insight:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Law Enforcement Driving Simulators Installed

Click on the title to view pictures of our new installation at the EVOC Training Facility at Miramar College.   For information on scheduling training, contact EVOC Training Coordinator Sgt. Kevin Rausis at (619) 388-7951.

UPDATE:  KNSD 7/39's Tony Shin stopped by and shot this related news story:
A special thanks to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) for funding and installing this specialized equipment.


Chevy unveiled their new Caprice PPV at the COPSWEST Expo.  Click on the title for further details.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Project Update

As you may have read in our October Update, the contruction bond funding originally earmarked for this project has been moved to other, higher priority projects at the Miramar College Campus.  The decision was made by the College District's Board of Trustees after receiving a recommendation from the Chancellor's Office to reallocate the Prop N construction bond funds.  Unfortunately, this has now stalled our progress to develop the NTC Camp Nimitz site as our new Emergency Vehicle Operations Center.  The big question is: Now what?  We have the property but not the funds to build EVOC...

For the time being, PSTI will continue EVOC training at several sites.  Classroom lecture and driving simulator instruction will remain at the Miramar College campus.  Behind the wheel, SkidCar and track work will be done at Qualcomm Stadium's parking lots, scheduling permitting. 

The PSTI Board of Directors will meet in January to discuss potential solutions.  Additional research and analysis is occurring in the background with City staff.  Until we receive clear direction from the Board of Directors, we will be on hold pending the outcome.   If anyone out there has any ideas on construction funding sources, please feel free to send your ideas my way (  Thank you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from vehicle pursuits, ALERT International and IADLEST are partnering to provide a FREE, comprehensive pursuit management and policy training program throughout the nation.  For those of you unfamiliar with the acronyms, ALERT is the Association of Professional Law Enforcement Emergency Response Trainers International ( IADLEST is the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (  

Recognizing that pursuit driving is a very dangerous activity, police departments around the United States have begun to change their perspective of pursuits and their understanding of pursuit policy and training.  This research has prompted programs such as this, which encourage departments across the country to analyze current pursuit policies and training requirements to ensure their officers are well trained and prepared for the challenges they face on the streets during a pursuit.

This nationwide training effort addresses law enforcement vehicular pursuit policy issues, including factors to consider when initiating, conducting, and terminating a vehicular pursuit.  Procedures discussed in the pursuit policy workshops is consistent with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) guidelines. Participants are encouraged to bring their agency's pursuit policy to the workshop so it may be discussed and compared with IACP's current best practices.  


Who should attend?  Officers, deputies, troopers, on up to the executive levels of Chief or Sheriff.  Communications dispatchers are also encouraged to attend as they are a vital link in pursuit management and tactics.

What does it cost?  This 4 hour course is FREE to attendees and agencies.  Your only investment is your time to attend this course.  

When can I take this course?  Classes are offered all over the nation and can be tailored to meet your specific agency's needs.  View the website at or call 1-888-902-1088 for details.  Classes can be assembled and delivered as quickly as 4 weeks in advance, depending on location.

Where can I take this course?  The instructors will come to you and your agency, anywhere in the United States, including Hawaii.  As a hosting agency, you will be asked to provide the Pursuit Trainers with a training or briefing room that will support audio and visual presentations.  Participant Manuals will be provided by ALERT and IADLEST and participants will receive Training Certificates at the end of the workshop.

Why should I attend?  You will receive the latest information in IACP approved pursuit management, tactics and policy best practices. Whether you are the officer on the street, the supervisor in charge of the pursuit, the radio dispatcher or the police executive reviewing and updating pursuit policy within your agency, you will be given the most current training information to protect yourself against civil and criminal prosecution as well as reduce the risk of serious injury and/or death as a result of a pursuit.  In addition, attendees who bring their pursuit policies for review will receive suggested recommendations for improvement following the IACP model pursuit policy guidelines. Attendees are welcome to take this information back to their respective legal advisors and policy makers to encourage necessary changes in policy and practice that will help reduce exposure to future civil litigation.     

How do I host a workshop or sign up for a class?  You may request to host a workshop at your department or sign up for a training session in your area by visiting the Pursuit Training website at or by calling their toll free number at 1-888-902-1088. The Pursuit Training team will do the rest for you.  

It's not very often that training is offered for free, especially when it can be delivered right to your doorstep. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to receive the latest in pursuit policy training and management so you and your officers can "Drive to Survive".   

October Project Update and Funding Issues

The PSTI EVOC Project Workgroup met on October 6th (see Meeting Minutes of 10062010).  Vice Chancellor of College District Facilities David Umstot presented an update on Prop S and N Projects, specifically those projects affecting Miramar College and PSTI.  To synopsize, the College District is faced with a $45 million construction cost with a $30 million bond fund source.  The $16 million we were working with for the EVOC Project was in serious jeopardy of being re-allocated to higher priority projects on the Miramar campus.  In addition, the Prop S and N Citizens Oversight Committee and the Chancellor's Office had raised serious concerns over equitable cost-sharing issues related to the PSTI facility.

On October 14th, the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees met and approved the Chancellor's recommendation to approve allocation of all bond funds to the priority projects on the Miramar College campus, basically shifting the Prop N funds originally earmarked for EVOC to other, higher priority projects at Miramar College.  Essentially, we have now lost our construction funding source for this project.  There has been some discussion about the City and County fronting a third each of the construction costs (approximately $5.33 million each) but with the economic issues facing our government, funding a new EVOC facility is not the priority - people's jobs are.

What does all this mean?  Well, our project work group will meet this Wednesday (October 20th) to determine where we go from here. There are many issues to be addressed beyond just relocating the EVOC to an acceptable site.  All the issues related to NTC redevelopment, our current lease and subleases on site, as well as facility management of the NTC site itself will need to be discussed. In early November, the PSTI Board of Directors will meet to act on any recommendations from our work group as well as determine a new funding strategy and course of action.

As one can imagine, this a major disappointment to the project team.  Although the fall back plan has always been to continue training at Qualcomm Stadium while the new site is being built, we will continue to look for alternative solutions to the much greater issue at hand:  building a state of the art Emergency Vehicle Operations Center training facility.  We are certainly open to your suggestions...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Below 100:Let's Get It Done!

A very timely article on officer safety and emergency vehicle operations by Dale Stockton, Editor-in-Chief of Law Officer Magazine.  Click on the heading to link to the article.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PSTI Project Update for September

The Project Team has been quite busy.  The Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the City and County of San Diego and the San Diego Community College District has been submitted to our respective legal advisors for review.  We expect some adjustments during this review and once approved and implemented, the MOU will guide future construction, operations and maintenance of the PSTI facility.

This month we were advised that the College District agreed to fund the project up to a $16M cap (up from the original $12.6M). This bump was necessary to cover projected construction costs estimates and fulfill the need to hire both a civil engineer for the overall project as well as a structural engineer to guide us on the partial demolition of Building 557.  The increased budget will provide us with a buffer should we experience unforeseen issues in the future.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, we submitted our Preliminary Review application to the City's Development Services Department. The DSD staff have been an excellent resource and sounding board for the project team.  Their review of our application was thorough, timely and in early September, we received written responses from the various disciplines within the City.  To view this multi-page report, click on this link:

Our Campus Project Manager (Scott Ellis) and I have been reviewing these reports which will guide us through the next phase of planning and development.  Yes, there is much work to be done and yes, the team is up to the challenge.

Meetings have been scheduled with U.S. Navy facilities and Applied Energy staff to work out logistics to modify and conceal the above-ground steam line running along the channel on our site (a mandate by the NTC Precise Plan).  This will eventually require a coordinated effort with the City's Public Utilities Department and the McMillin Companies (Liberty Station developer) to complete this task along our respective esplanades.

Planning is now in progress to hold a PSTI Board of Directors meeting in early November.  By then, we hope to present a finished MOU to our Directors for official approval and signature.  Once the date, time and location is confirmed, look for a future announcement of this public meeting.  This will be a major milestone for us and a positive step into the next phase of this project.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ford Police Interceptor Reveal SUV Package Sept 1st

Ford Motor Company will be revealing their new Police Interceptor SUV on September 1st at 3pm EST.  Click on the link for details.

Friday, August 20, 2010

EVOC Facility Progress Report

Over the last several weeks, the PSTI EVOC Project Workgroup has been meeting and fine tuning our planning and development of the new EVOC Facility.  As briefly as possible I'd like to share where we are at:

Our plans have been submitted to the City of San Diego Development Services Department as part of the Preliminary Review Process application.  The City will evaluate our application and report back to us in a few weeks.  Once we receive the City's report, we will fine tune our design plans for the next phase (design/build).

The PSTI member agencies have collectively completed development of our Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU), a document which will guide the ongoing planning, building, operation and maintenance of the PSTI site at NTC.  Each entity is now briefing their respective executive and legal staff to ensure their respective administrative and operational needs have been met.  Ultimately, the Project Workgroup will present the MOU for formal approval and signatures at a future PSTI Board of Directors Meeting.
We were recently notified by staff from the San Diego Coastal Commission Office that previously obtained demolition permits were still, in fact, vested and valid for the majority of the buildings PSTI has identified to be razed next year.  The validity of these permits was a major concern to us due to their age.  Although we have some modifications to run through the City's Development Services Department due to our new project scope, the news that our demolition permits were valid was quite refreshing for the Project Team. 

Where does this leave us?  First, the MOU must be approved by our legal advisers and ultimately the PSTI Board of Directors.  Second, a separate college district project (Fire EMT Program Relocation) is awaiting approvals for planning and development.  Miramar College's Fire EMT Program currently resides in the Phase II demolition area of EVOC and must be moved to make way for construction.  Thirdly, once the City returns their report on the Preliminary Review of our plans, we will regroup to address each issue and assemble the Design/Build team.  Each one of these processes will take substantial time and effort to complete.

So when do we anticipate the Groundbreaking?  Our best estimate right now is in April of 2011, barring any complications.  We'll let everyone know as we get closer so keep an eye out for periodic updates on planning. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

COPSWEST Law Enforcement Expo and Vehicle Test Day

REMINDER:  The COPSWEST Law Enforcement Expo is coming to Ontario in November.  For EVOC instructors, check out the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Police Vehicle Test Day at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on November 18, 2010.  See the latest display and testing of emergency vehicles from all the major manufacturers.

COPSWEST is produced by the California Peace Officers' Association and is endorsed by the California Police Chiefs and California State Sheriff's Associations.

Click on the link ( for registration information.  See you in Fontana on November 18th!

Monday, August 2, 2010

POST LD19 Pilot Program Workshop

During the week of July 26-29, I attended meetings and a workshop in Sacramento with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).  The purpose of this meeting was to participate in the first development workshop for a pilot program to revise Vehicle Operations Training in the Regular Basic Course (Learning Domain 19). This workshop included members of the Pilot Program, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the field of Vehicle Operations, Law Enforcement Driving Simulators (LEDS) and Directors, Coordinators, and SMEs representing Academy Programs from around the state. 

At its October 2008 meeting, the POST Commission received the Driver Training Study, Volume I and approved implementation of the recommendations in the report. One of the recommendations included  enhancing driver training curriculum in the academy. The Commission directed the implementation of an academy-based Pilot Program which would incorporate four components into LD 19:  Law Enforcement Driving Simulators, a speed component, night driving and the use of interference vehicles.

The San Diego Regional Public Safety Training Institute was selected as one of seven Pilot Program training sites in California.  Earlier this year, members of POST's SAFE Driving Campaign/VOTAC had visited and surveyed our EVOC basic academy driver training program and observed we were delivering training that closely modeled what they were trying to develop statewide.  They asked us to join in the Pilot Program along with six other locations: the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, Butte College, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium. 

Throughout the week we met to review current curricula and develop strategies to implement the LD 19 Pilot Program.  With such a wide variety of EVOC training sites throughout the state, it was a challenge to develop strategies that would enable most, if not all EVOC sites the ability to deliver a higher level of driver training without compromising safety for our students and instructors.  We were able to gain consensus on most topics and Training and Testing Specifications (TTS) Learning Needs and Objectives were modified to incorporate approved changes for Pilot Program participants.  We still have more work in progress and another workshop is scheduled for October.

For our EVOC Program, this pilot will require us to conduct additonal training with our EVOC instructors to bring them up to speed with the new TTS and evaluation guidelines.  For the students, it will offer a higher level of training designed to save their lives out on the street.  As we continue to develop this statewide Pilot Program, we'll keep you informed of changes coming our way.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Planning Update

The Project Team continues work on gathering information on a variety of topics related to the PSTI training site.  Of vital importance is the need to locate and obtain copies of building plans (As Builts) for the old U.S. Navy barracks and processing center (Building 557).  We reached out to NAVFACSW and recently obtained a CD full of information that should prove valuable for our planning/demolition/construction teams.  A sincere thanks goes out to our friends at NAVFACSW and BRAC for pulling this information out of their archives!

As we continue work on the MOU, a challenging area has been to clearly identify all potential costs for ongoing operation and maintenance (O&M) of the PSTI EVOC Facility.  The PSTI Board of Directors wants (and deserves) a clear picture of the future costs to run the PSTI.  O&M expenses include everything from building and roadway maintenance/repairs to utilities and service contracts.  Once the facility is completed by the College District, the City and County of San Diego will share O&M responsibilities for the remainder of our lease (about 63 more years).  Discussions regarding the new EVOC Building are ongoing and issues will need to be finalized in the near future to determine accurate O&M predictions.

We met last week with City of San Diego staff to review and begin work on the Preliminary Review Process.  This process links the PSTI project team with a variety of disciplines within several different City departments.  Through preliminary review, we will obtain general information on regulations with which our project must comply, find out which permits we must obtain and obtain interpretations on how the City will apply code provisions to specific situations. It is critical we have a clear understanding of these requirements as we plan and develop PSTI.  City staff responses to our specific questions will be documented and tailored to our specific project. The information we receive during preliminary review is valid for one year from the date of the correspondence, except if 1) the code on which this information is based is changed; 2) emergency legislation is enacted by City Council; or 3) there is a change in the project scope.

The City's Development Services Department has been very proactive in guiding the PSTI Project Team as we receive information needed to make informed decisions about how to proceed with the design of our project.  For more information on the Preliminary Review Process, please refer to this site:

The Project Team will continue to meet twice each month as we push forward on this project.  Suffice it to say there is a lot of research and analysis occurring in the background (much too lengthy to discuss here) but don't forget that our Meeting Minutes are listed at the bottom right side of this web page by date for your viewing pleasure.

Have a safe 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Site Visit

Today the JPA's NTC Project Workgroup met at NTC to view the site.  The purpose of this visit was to give members of the workgroup an up close and personal view of the conditions currently present at the location.  The group walked through several areas, including Buildings 479, 480 and 557.  They viewed the cache of rescue equipment and supplies at the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) warehouse in 557 and looked at the structural design of the building.  The design plans target 479, 480 and a major portion of 557 (sans the warehouse) for future demolition to make way for the EVOC driver training track and EVOC admin and classroom building. 

The discussions amongst the group included concerns about keeping USAR on site in the warehouse facility only, moving them off-site to an alternate location, bringing in portable classrooms from City College and limited funding to completely build out EVOC to meet the training needs of the JPA members.  In addition, a new traffic study will have to be completed soon as our project scope and design have changed substantially from earlier, City approved conceptual plans.  Like any project, it wouldn't be fun if there weren't some challenges along the way.

The workgroup also viewed areas affected by new construction by AT&T contractors (new fiber optics lines), MCRD's plan for the General's Gate Road and airport expansion construction adjacent to our site along McCain Road.  The Airport Authority's contractor recently completed work on the new intersection at McCain Road and N. Harbor Drive where you will find a new traffic signal controlling the intersection.  More roadway improvements are slated for McCain Road in the next year or two.

As the tough questions are asked and answered, we will be able to give everyone a more definitive timeline on the project.  Right now, we need to dig even deeper into some key issues regarding this location.  The movement of the college's Fire EMT Program back to Miramar College, the challenges involving the USAR warehouse, the need to move non-JPA member agencies off-site to make way for PSTI training enterprises and the need to establish new procedures for PSTI operations on site make for busy work days.

As you can probably imagine, with such a wide variety of agencies and entities involved and/or affected by this project, it requires a high level of diplomacy, patience, perseverance and problem-solving skills.  I am personally very thankful for the talented workgroup we have assembled for this major project.  Without their commitment, we would not have made it this far - remember, we started this in earnest just a few months ago in mid-February.

In the weeks to come, the JPA Workgroup will meet with Airport Authority and MCRD staff to work out improvements on McCain Road along with development and construction of the General's Gate Road.  We will also work with City staff and Homeland Security on the AT&T MPOE Project that supports PSTI, DHS and airport communications/IT needs, providing easements and/or right of way permits as appropriate.  In addition, the college district's construction management team will begin work on a new traffic study to determine how our new EVOC project design and street closures will effect our neighbors.  We will meet with USAR staff to determine the complexity of Building 557's demolition, collaborate on site issues and evaluate the usefulness of portable classrooms at City College for possible relocation and use at the EVOC Facility.

Much work lies ahead for us...stayed tuned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

EVOC Challenge Photos

Photos are now posted from this event.  They may be viewed by placing your mouse over the title "EVOC Challenge Photos" above and clicking.  This will take you to our Facebook photo page.  We are still waiting for the VBOX in-car camera videos which we hope to obtain in the next few weeks.  As you can see by the photos, LAPD has a state of the art driver training facility.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PSTI Workgroup Update

It's been a busy month!  The workgroup is currently focused on fine tuning the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the San Diego Community College District, the County and City of San Diego.  Each entity is identifying their expectations, roles and responsibilities in order to make the NTC EVOC/Fire-Rescue Training Facility the best possible training project.  One MOU meeting occurred today with a follow-up meeting scheduled for later next week.

Collectively, we realize this project has a multitude of side tasks to be accomplished.  As the group discusses and addresses our MOU issues, we find ourselves focusing more on establishing an overall timeline for the project.  As with any project, timing is everything and establishing workable milestones is a must. 

We are currently working through several side issues, including the undergrounding of a U.S. Navy steam line, the shared use and development of McCain Road with the San Diego Airport Authority and AT&T's need for an easement through the EVOC site.  Although these are not show-stoppers, they do present significant challenges along the way, both financially and operationally.  Our project is quite unique in that it involves three major entities, resides on City land, is leased by the San Diego Regional Public Safety Training Institute (PSTI), is being built and funded by the College District and will be operated and maintained by the PSTI. 

Everyone is eager to know our timeline for groundbreaking, demolition and construction.  The College District is working this out now and we hope to publish a timeline in the near future.  As soon as it is solidified, we will share it here.

As a side note, we have added an area entitled PSTI Workgroup Documents along the lower right sidebar of this site.  Here, you will find links to minutes from previous workgroup meetings as well as other documents pertinent to the planning and development of the NTC EVOC/Fire-Rescue Training Facility.  They provide an in-depth look at what we are trying to accomplish.   

We're on Facebook

For those of you who may not be aware of it yet, San Diego EVOC has joined Facebook, a social networking website, to help us share information on EVOC-related events here in San Diego County.  Facebook allows us to interact more with our potential customers and instructors as well as offer a schedule of upcoming events.  Many of you are already Facebook fans and for those that are not, it's free to use (see: for details).  Check out the lower right side column of this blog site to see our connection to Facebook.

We hope you enjoy the added flexibility of this site!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

EVOC Ride and Drive Event

On Wednesday April 7th, San Diego Regional EVOC staff set up the proposed NTC EVOC footprint in the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium.  We wanted to give EVOC staff and members of the JPA Workgroup an opportunity to view the size of the layout and discuss design.  Both the AM and PM sessions were well attended and many good suggestions were noted.  Everyone was impressed with the physical size of the track, with the longest straightaway measuring over 1,300 feet in length.  Our instructors took several laps around the track, providing active dialogue with many of our JPA Workgroup members as they rode along at speeds up to 70 mph.  This event proved to all of us the importance of a safe driver training area, free of outside distractions like unauthorized pedestrians and vehicle traffic, joggers, etc.

The JPA Workgroup met later this same afternoon to talk about the experience.  Work actively continues with the EVOC Project.  The College District is working to relocate their Fire EMT Program from NTC to the Miramar College campus - a critical move for full development of the EVOC.  Not only has the college committed to building EVOC at NTC, they are also expending substantial funds to relocate the Fire EMT Program. 

Discussions are narrowing in on the Specifications of the Project.  This includes everything from track design, safety equipment, EVOC building needs, training props - the actual line items necessary to make this a successful driver training facility.  A draft document is currently circulating within the JPA Workgroup to clearly define our focus on the project.  It is our hope we can finalize the Scope of Project next month so our Project Manager has as much information as possible to continue moving forward.

Another pressing assignment for the team is to develop and finalize a Memorandum of Understanding specific to the buildout, operation and maintenance of the new EVOC Facility.  Each JPA member has specific needs, roles and responsibilities.  A draft MOU is in development and we will be discussing it at future JPA meetings. 

That's the latest.  My sincere thanks to all the great EVOC instructors who volunteered to help us out with the Ride and Drive Event! 


Monday, March 29, 2010

CalPOST SAFE Driving Campaign

On March 25th and 26th, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (CalPOST) sponsored the SAFE Driving Campaign Meeting in San Diego.  SAFE stands for Situation-Appropriate, Focused and Educated, which is a driving campaign working to reduce the number of law enforcement officers (LEOs) killed or injured in traffic collisions.  As most of us are painfully aware, on-duty traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for LEOs in California and across the nation.

CalPOST is actively advancing and supporting the SAFE Driving Campaign, embracing stakeholders from across the nation.  They have assembled a hybrid group of multidisciplinary experts to coordinate efforts to understand and address LEO traffic-related deaths.  There is no other program, research or officer safety initiative currently in existence to offer this level of expertise and service to our LE agencies.

The SAFE Driving Campaign consists of an Advisory Board, Research Team and the Vehicle Operations and Training Advisory Council (VOTAC).

The Advisory Board membership includes:

Craig W. Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund;
Gordon J. Graham, Esq., Graham Research Consultants;
Stan Hilkey, Sheriff of Mesa County, CO Sheriff's Department;
Charles E. Miller III, Coordinator, FBI Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Ambushed (LEOKA);
Colleen Mestas, Chief of the Visalia Police Department;
Michael Geraci, Director, NHTSA Office of Traffic Safety;
Gary Hart, U.S. Senator (ret.), State of Colorado/University of Colorado, Denver.

The Research Team includes:

Dr. Geoff Alpert, University of South Carolina;
Dr. Mary Dodge, University of Colorado, Denver;
Dr. Tom Rice, University of California, Berkeley;
Dr. Ron Tarr, University of Central Florida;
Dr. Bryan Vila, Washington State University, Spokane;
Dr. Kevin Wehr, California State University, Sacramento;
Dr. Jerry Williams, University of Colorado, Denver.

The Vehicle Operations and Training Advisory Council includes:

Richard Lindstrom, Director, State Center Regional Training Center, CA Academy Directors Association;
Jim Gordon, Lt., Stanislaus County Sheriff's Academy, CA Academy Directors Association;
Bob Miller, Chief of the Colton Police Department, CA Police Chiefs Association;
Brian Raffish, Lt., Los Angeles Police Department, CA Peace Officers Association;
John Leas, Lt., San Diego Police Department, CA Peace Officers Association;
Mark Pazin, Sheriff of Merced County Sheriff's Department, CA State Sheriffs Association;
Rod Rifredi, Sgt, Davis Police Department, PORAC;
Brent Newman, Captain, CA Highway Patrol Academy;
Mike Poore, Sgt., CA Highway Patrol Academy;

The SAFE Driving Campaign members have met periodically over the last several months and recently produced Volume 1 of the VOTAC Driver Training Study, an outstanding report on issues and cause factors relating to LEOs injured and killed in police collisions.  The VOTAC Study (found on this website) not only addresses the tough questions about why this happens to our officers and deputies but more importantly, focuses on improving LEO driver training strategies.  Volume 1 initially identified several notable driver training best practices:
  • Blended Training - use of both behind-the-wheel and simulators - produces the best training outcomes (performance in the field). 
  • Driver training technologies such as the SkidCar and LEDS allow for situational training that cannot (safely) be undertaken in a "real" setting.  (LEDS = law enforcement driving simulators)
  • Training at speeds equivalent to emergency operating speeds is an effective way to prepare officers for the challenges of emergency operations in traffic. 
  • Use of interference vehicles is an effective way to prepare officers for the challenges of emergency operations in traffic.
  • Use of training vehicles that are similar in make and model, equipment and weight distribution is an effective way to achieve realistic behind-the-wheel training.
  • Driver training during hours of darkness is an effective way to achieve realistic training.
CalPOST has done an admirable job of assembling a nationwide group of experts to focus on a very sensitive and pressing issue - law enforcement driver training.  They are committed to making this not only a training priority, but a mission to improve officer safety through enhanced driver training to effectively reduce LEOs injuries and deaths.

For more information on CalPOST's SAFE Driving Campaign, check our website's side bar.

Monday, March 15, 2010

EVOC Training Facility Survey Results

The results of the EVOC Facility Survey are in.  A special thank you to the 25 people who participated!  Without being too lengthy, I'll touch on the areas many of you had suggestions or concerns about.

Skid Pans and Skid Cars - We plan to incorporate both types of training props in our instruction at the new facility.  Each prop offers a different perspective on training delivery and we plan to maximize what we have to offer.  The new Skid Pan will be polished concrete with a rain bird/water recovery system similar to what is used at other EVOC Facilities.  The Skid Pan will be used during performance and pursuit driving exercises as well.

EVOC Building - The plan is to design a new building to accomodate EVOC staff, classrooms, restrooms, support equipment, props and driving simulators.  An area adjacent to the EVOC Building will house storage and a maintenance area for the EVOC track/support fleet with student parking close by.  Ultimately, the EVOC will provide one location for all driver training needs on-site, eliminating any down time due to travel.  Much like a firearms range or other EVOC facilities in California, students will report directly to the EVOC for their assigned training session (basic and in-service).

The Track - The proposed design (see layout at bottom of this page) incorporates different driving surfaces (asphalt, concrete, dry and wet pavement, minor elevations) as well as the flexibility to add/delete intersections.  With roughly 13 acres to work with, we may not be able to have all the bells and whistles (such as full railroad crossings and water hazards) but we'll evaluate what we can put into the design/build stage.  The Traffic Hazard Simulator (THS) will be built in with electronic signal lighting controls overhead.  Our longest straightaway spans just over 1,300 feet which should give us some fairly challenging speeds before we transition into the curves.  The perimeter wall will be Jersey/K-rail barriers with fencing on top, both for site security and containment of training vehicles.  A Control Tower will be constructed at the northeast corner of the track for safety purposes.  We will eventually conduct driver training on a variety of service vehicles.

Instructor Input - Many of you (92%) offered to participate in our group design discussions.  When we get to this point, I will send out a meeting invitation so you may join us.  In the near future, we will be using the blueprint of the proposed EVOC design to replicate it at the stadium parking lot for field testing.  Look for a future announcement so you can stop by, see it and drive it.

Priority of EVOC Training Delivery - Law enforcement basic academy and in-service training received the highest rating priority (100%), followed by Fire Rescue EMS basic/in-service and Federal agencies training, both tied at 76%.  State agencies received 72%, private ambulance companies 60%, with commercial fleet operations (trucks, limos, etc) receiving 48%.   The survey respondents priority is public safety service providers - we agree.  Our Joint Powers Agreement defines that first priority be given to JPA member agencies (City of San Diego Police and Fire Rescue, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the San Diego Community College District).  The next priority goes to our allied agencies who attend the PSTI for basic and advanced training.

Outside Facility Use - 76% of respondents felt the EVOC Facility could be used for outside interests (for a user fee) as long as it did not interfere with the training priorities of the facility. If an outside event is not related to training but generates revenue, a portion of the proceeds of the outside event may need to be shared with the City of San Diego as a condition of our lease. 

Top 3 Training Props/Techniques - Survey respondents gave their opinions on their favorites:  #1 - Driving Track demonstrations and driving exercises (100%),  #2 - Classroom Presentations with adult learning strategies and exercises (92%) and #3 - Commentary Driving Exercises (88%).  Law enforcement driving simulators (LEDS) followed at 84%. 

Night and Weekend Training - 100% of respondents felt night training is important to the overall training delivery package.  The Commission on POST agrees - we need to train in the conditions we will face on the street.  This also includes the use of "distractor" or "interference" cars during Code-3 Emergency Response and Pursuit driver training.  An interesting sidenote: 96% of you felt training should be conducted on weekends.  This is not unusual given the fact we currently use part-time driver training staff who take time off from full-time jobs to help instruct EVOC courses.

EVOC Staffing - Many of you would like to see a full-time EVOC staff on board when the facility opens, much like what we see at other EVOC and Firearms Training Facilities throughout the nation.  There are pros and cons to part-time and full-time staffing.  It is our hope that we can continue to provide an EVOC Facility Manager to market and manage this multi-million dollar facility as a business enterprise and an EVOC Coordinator who will run the day-to-day training operations, scheduling instructors and courses, maintaining props, vehicles and updating curricula.  Adjunct instructors will most likely continue as the norm until such time as the Board of Directors chooses to move in a new direction.

Survey Comments in General - The Pursuit Immobilization Technique (PIT) Manuever - will we train it?  This is an agency specific policy issue/question.  Most agencies do not use the PIT for a variety of reasons.  If the training need becomes a priority for the County Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, we will explore it but it does require specially equipped vehicles to teach and an area safe to allow for spin outs - two things we don't have right now.  The PIT is an excellent tool when used correctly at slow speeds to terminate a pursuit.  We'll keep an eye on this topic for future discussion.

We need to train to the issues that cause accidents.  We agree and will coordinate our training delivery to reduce current cause factors as well as forecast potential training issues associated with the new technology facing us, both inside the car as well as the systems supporting traction and stability controls.  Most agencies review collisions internally and share their findings with our EVOC instructors.  We also look at nationwide trends and address them with our students.  Some of the best training comes from "Lessons Learned".

We need to teach more POST Driving Courses here in San Diego.  Yes, we agree and plan to do just that when we have the proper facility in place to do it right.  This includes Driving Instructor courses.  San Diego is a fantastic training venue and we constantly field calls requesting training here.  If we build it, they will come.

Again, thanks to all who participated in the survey!  It is much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

POST Meeting in San Diego - Driving Simulators

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) began a 3 day conference in San Diego today to discuss law enforcement driving simulators (LEDS) and force option simulators (FOS).  Regional Skills Centers and a variety of law enforcement agency presenters attended to discuss the rollout of over $10m in LEDS throughout the state.  See: for details on the POST contract.  San Diego is scheduled to receive 4 new FAAC LEDS in October 2010, courtesy of POST!

Attending today's LEDS conference were George Beitey, Dean of Miramar College's School of Public Safety, Sgt Kevin Rausis (EVOC Coordinator), Lt John Leas (EVOC Training Manager) and retired officer Bob Hendrix (EVOC Instructor).  Bob will assist POST with LEDS installations throughout the state as a consultant over the next several months.  A number of logistical issues were discussed including what to do with the older L3 simulators we currently have, instructor training/certification, site installation challenges, etc.  Without boring everyone, let's just say Kevin has his work cut out for him over the next several months as we strategize on San Diego's options and ultimate installation.  The next Regional Officer Training cycle will include LEDS in the EVOC curriculum.  The new FAAC system will be an excellent addition to our training props.  EVOC instructors - keep an eye out for future announcements regarding training on the new system.

Dane Pitarresi from SkidCar Incorporated ( spoke at the conference to share the latest on SkidCars in North America.  Almost every EVOC center represented today has at least one SkidCar as a training prop.  Dane asked for feedback from the group and shared his thoughts on how EVOC instructors need to be prepared for the next generation of vehicles hitting the street, specifically those that incorporate electronic stability programs (ESP) that controls throttle and braking application beyond the driver's input.  The Dodge Charger is an example of just such a vehicle... As ESP equipped cars start to roll out in our fleets, we'll need to be prepared to discuss the pros and cons and handling characteristics that our officers will face in the future.  More to come on this topic later... 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Planning Meeting and Construction Update

On Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, members of the NTC PSTI EVOC Workgroup met at Miramar College to kick off our next phase of our project.  This was the first in a series of meetings that will be conducted twice each month to keep momentum going as we work towards our ultimate goal.

Attending from the San Diego Community College District was Richard Burkhart, Construction Manager;  Scott Ellis, Project Manager-Continuing Ed;  and George Beitey, Dean, School of Public Safety, San Diego Miramar College.  From the San Diego Police Dept.:  Lt. John Leas,  Sgt. John Trent and Sgt. Kevin Rausis. From the San Diego Fire Rescue Dept.:  Ken Barnes, Battalion Chief, and guest Chris Webber, representing our Region's Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) group.  From the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept.:  Brian Sampson, Director, Support Services; and Lt. Dave Moss, Academy Director.  Future meetings will include City of San Diego staff from the Development Services, Real Estate Assets and the Redevelopment Agency-Community Planning Departments.  Their expertise, guidance and support will be crucial as we work through the necessary goverment agency approvals.

Our discussion centered first on developing an MOU between the City, County and Community College District, to identify our respective roles, commitments and responsibilities during the development and eventual rollout of EVOC at NTC.  Each group is working internally to identify construction, operation and maintenance expenses specific to their entity. We are also evaluating projected personnel staffing and training equipment needs for the EVOC facility.  Eventually, we'll reconvene to discuss, modify and draft the EVOC MOU for approval by each Director on our Board.  All attendees agreed we need to identify as much as possible now to avoid ambiguity later.

Discussion also covered the need to prepare a seperate MOU for a potential parking lot vendor after Phase I construction is completed.  Because of the two phase construction timetable and logistics with moving the Fire/EMT Program off their present site (in our Phase II construction area), the opportunity exists to use the completed Phase I area temporarily as a parking lot servicing airport patrons.  If this option presents itself, the MOU will need to include agreements as to who draws up the RFP for the vendor, how parking revenues are disbursed and where the revenues will ultimately land.  The Project Team would like to see parking revenues placed into the NTC EVOC Revenue Account for use in funding Phase II construction as well as support ongoing operation and maintenance expenses.  Our 66 year lease agreement with the City of San Diego defines various uses of the property and this issue will require further negotiation to define the outcome in our MOU.

Richard Burkhart reminded us that the College District has Prop S and N bond money for the construction of the EVOC, Fire/EMT program and Academy program, for a total of $30 million. The District’s goal is to build EVOC at NTC, move the Fire/EMT program from NTC to a new site and also complete renovations, deferred maintenance and improvements to our existing Regional Academy facility at Miramar College.  It is clear to all of us that the College District is highly committed to their School of Public Safety.

Guest Chris Webber from San Diego Fire Rescue inquired about the status of the existing buildings 66-70 at NTC.  USAR uses these buildings for training and drills and he was concerned they would be demolished prior to USAR’s scheduled June qualification drills.  The Project Team advised they would be available one last time for their qualification drills, then demolished afterwards.

Many other minor discussions took place during this meeting.  George Beitey, Dean of Public Safety suggested we take our design plan for NTC and set it up to scale in the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium to test and evaluate the viability of our proposed layout.  We all agreed and Leas and Rausis will coordinate this in the near future.

As a sidenote, you may have noticed the SD Airport Authority contractors have been busy working on the McCain Blvd and N. Harbor Drive entrance to PSTI (see photos on side bar).  They are doing an excellent job and ultimately will cut into the center median of N. Harbor Drive, install a traffic signal and greatly improve ingress and egress for all of us.  This should make for a very nice entrance to our facility when it is completed.

That's the latest for now.  Remember to take the survey (see side bar) as it will close March 15th.  Look for the results in a future posting after that time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New EVOC Coordinator Selected!

As many of you may know, Sgt Paul Becotte from SDPD retired in December 2009 after serving almost 12 years as our EVOC Training Coordinator.  Paul did a great job orchestrating our program with hundreds of presentations each year and coordinating multiple instructors from throughout the county.  His well earned retirement left us with a major void in our EVOC Program and a search was recently conducted to find a replacement.

Six candidates competed for the EVOC Training Coordinator position, all very well qualified in a variety of skills, including collision investigation, traffic enforcement, EVOC instruction and leadership ability.  After reviewing resumes, conducting interviews and getting through the vetting process, Sgt Kevin Rausis from SDPD was selected as our new EVOC Coordinator.  We hope to bring him on board in early March.  Kevin will join us as we forge ahead on the new EVOC Facility at NTC.  Congratulations and welcome, Kevin!

Friday, February 12, 2010

PSTI Board of Directors Vote

The PSTI Board of Directors met on February 11, 2010, to discuss and vote on a proposal to move forward with the EVOC Project at NTC Camp Nimitz.  The Board, consisting of Chancellor Constance Carroll, PhD, San Diego Community College District; Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ray Fernandez, County of San Diego; and Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone, City of San Diego attended the meeting along with executive staff from each of their respective JPA entities.

The Action Items were:
  1. Authorize staff to begin negotiations of an operating agreement whereby the SDCCD funds capital costs of the project offset by parking lease revenue in Phase I in exchange for the City and County of San Diego providing EVOC staffing, operations and maintenance funding for the term of the agreement.
  2. Authorize staff to proceed with issuing a RFP and negotiate a potential lease with a parking concessionaire on a month to month basis until EVOC is completed.
In discussion, the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) agreed in concept to provide bond funding to support the capital outlay needed for the EVOC Project, a major investment. SDCCD funding will also support moving the college's Fire Science and EMT Program from NTC to a new, off site facility to make room for Phase II of EVOC.  In addition, the college district intends to upgrade facility support and operations at the Miramar College campus.  This multi-prong approach will ultimately improve three facilities and offer modern, comfortable training venues for hundreds of students every semester.

The County and City of San Diego discussed and agreed in concept to provide funding for operations and maintenance (O&M) of the new EVOC Facility as well as continue to provide training personnel to support ongoing basic and advanced law enforcement training at this site.  All entities were concerned that the projected O&M costs of up to $72,000 per year might accelerate to an unreasonable expense in time.  It was pointed out that EVOC will house a smaller administrative support building with most of the site consisting of open asphalt and concrete roadway.  Staff believes actual O&M costs should be less, offset by revenue income generated via the operation of the EVOC Facility.

Votes were cast for Action Items 1 and 2 and both passed unanimously! In addition, a vote was cast to reinstate annual Board Meetings during October of each year with the caveat that additional meetings may be called on an "as needed" basis.  This passed unanimously as well.

Now, the JPA Workgroup must meet to discuss and prepare the necessary documents and agreements to satisfy the needs of all parties.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention the key members of this workgroup who have come together to help push this project forward:

Dave Umstot, Vice Chancellor
George Beitey, Dean of Public Safety
Richard Burkhardt, Construction Manager, Facilities Management
Scott Ellis, Campus Project Manager

Marta Williams, Program Manager, Facilities Management
John Leas, Lieutenant, Training Division
John Trent, Sergeant, Volunteer Services
Paul Becotte, Sergeant, Training Division

Ken Barnes, Battalion Chief, Training Division

Brian Sampson, Director, Support Services
Mark Elvin, Captain
Dave Moss, Lieutenant

Bill Booth, President and CEO

Bill Howard, President

Now the hard work begins...