The Colorado State Patrol has an extensive driver training program. Driver training is approximately 50 hours and begins with basic defensive driving. For emergency vehicle operations, students will learn proper vehicle control by understanding vehicle dynamics. The student will learn to operate their assigned patrol vehicle in a safe and efficient manner in a variety of situations. In addition to vehicle dynamics training, students will undergo a comprehensive pursuit decision making course comprised of classroom lectures and practical applications.
Classroom topics include:
Mental and Physical Effects of Non-Emergency Driving and Emergency Driving
Defensive Driving Methods
Performance Driving Techniques
Tactical Vehicle Intervention
Pursuit Decision Making
Driving is a task that people use everyday and Colorado State Patrol Troopers are no different. Troopers will spend an average of eight to 10 hours per day in their patrol cars. In these hours, troopers will be required to drive at a high level of performance and may be called upon to drive under extreme conditions. These extreme conditions could consist of inclement weather, high speeds, high traffic volumes or all of them combined.
Physical Application of Driving Techniques
Professional driver training is important to the Colorado State Patrol for several reasons. The first is driving on the highways of the state can be dangerous to troopers and the public. Secondly, driver-caused errors are one of the most litigated aspects of liability and negligence in the country. Finally traffic enforcement is one of the most dangerous activities that a trooper will perform. It is for these reasons that a Colorado State Patrol Trooper receives driver training at the Academy and also why it is continued throughout the field training program. Driver training is also offered as continuing education to troopers and other agencies wanting improve their driving skills.
Cadets are required to apply driving techniques learned in the classroom to situations at the Colorado State Patrol Driving Track.
Various cone patterns are used to enhance specific skills as they pertain to driving a patrol car. There are approximately 10 vehicles available for training.
Colorado State Patrol Driving Track
The Colorado State Patrol driving track on top of South Table Mountain was built in 1972 and has been used by numerous police agencies around the state. The track is approximately 1.4 miles long with several curves of variable speed and grade. The course was designed to simulate a two-lane highway.
Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI)
After cadets have a grasp of the basic techniques, they begin training using advanced techniques like Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI) and skid recovery. Pursuits are one of the highest liability areas in law enforcement today. The focus of our pursuit training is officer safety, as well as training for ending pursuits as quickly and safely as possible. TVI has been used by the Colorado State Patrol since 1995 and has proven to be an effective way to stop individuals fleeing from apprehension.
Completion of the Academy Driving Program
Cadets must pass the driving program by completing a written and practical exam with 80% or better. The final practical exam is a timed event with various cone patterns and drills. The training does not stop there. After cadets graduate from the Academy, they will participate in 10 more weeks of training with a Field Training Officer (FTO.) Driving an actual patrol car is where the training culminates and is a main focus of field training. For more information on our Field Training Officer or FTO program, click here.
P.O.S.T. Driving Instructor School
In addition to training our cadets, the Colorado State Patrol Academy provides various instructor courses such as the Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Driving Instructor course. Law enforcement officers from around the country come to the Colorado State Patrol Academy to receive advanced training in Emergency Vehicle Operations. The P.O.S.T. Driving Instructor School is 40 hours and provides members of law enforcement the skills necessary to teach driver training in an Academy setting.
Trooper Jonathan Smith
Lead Driving Instructor