To Protect and Serve...Drive to Survive!

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

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.

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