Twenty recruits have graduated from the 101st Greensboro Police Academy and now join the ranks of the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) following taking the oath of office Tuesday, March 7.
The recruits are the second class to receive a revised program of instruction that focused on the skills needed to support Neighborhood Oriented Policing – specifically, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and using technology to make communities safer.
The revised program of instruction supports Police Chief Wayne Scott’s strategy of instituting professional development programs to build skilled, passionate and values-based employees.
The 20 new recruits, who entered the academy September 1, 2016 received 40 hours of formal instruction on various communication techniques. This is five times the state-mandated requirement of eight hours of training.
“The ability to effectively communicate with the people we serve is one of our most powerful tools,” said Scott.
As part of the communications training, recruits were taught the principles of procedural justice. Procedural Justice is a collaborative method of listening and talking that increases mutual understanding and trust among members of the public and police.
Understanding Implicit Bias training, which examines the inherent biases present in all people, was also incorporated in the curriculum. The program of instruction for the Academy also included formal and informal training on de-escalation, decision-making and problem-solving.
“Police are problem-solvers, and we need to develop critical thinking at the earliest stage of our career,” said Scott. Throughout the 25-week academy, instructors and peers provided feedback on recruits’ judgment and resourcefulness in successfully resolving situations. “That’s a huge part of Neighborhood Oriented Policing,” emphasized Scott.
Technology was embedded throughout the training. Future officers learned about the capabilities of GPD’s mobile data systems that provide near-real-time crime analysis information.
Body worn cameras also play an important role in the recruits’ academic success. The recruits in the 101st academy wore wear body cameras to record their actions during scenario work and as they rode with their Patrol Training Officers (PTOs) at different phases in the academy. Interspersing reality-based training throughout the academic portion of the academy was a significant departure from training models used by most police departments.
Normally, newly-sworn officers receive their first exposure to the realities of police work after they graduate from the academy and are placed under the supervision of a specially-trained senior officer to evaluate their performance.
Graduates from the 101st academy will spend about 12 weeks with their PTOs. Together, they will review footage from the body-worn cameras and discuss the new officers’ strengths and weaknesses.
The 20 graduates bring with them a diversity of experiences and backgrounds:
- Five are Greensboro natives, one is from Santo Domingo and another from Jamaica, and the others hail from five different states
- Two have military experience and 14 have college degrees
- 57 percent are minorities
- Three are African American males and one is an African American female, one male and one female are Hispanic, two are white females, and 12 are white males.
The 102nd Greensboro Police Academy began on March 1, 2016.
GPD is now accepting applications for the 103rd Academy through December 31. Among other qualifications, applicants must be at least 21 years of age and a US citizen. Residency in Greensboro is not a requirement. A full list of qualifications and other information can be found online.