The relatively new officers sat elbow to elbow in in lesson from and First Sergeant James Hoelscher. The mostly young village and tribal police officers plus community service officers and VPSOs spend the past two weeks at a Village Police Officer Academy for foundational police training, including robust scenario based exercises
Academy Director Michael Dekreon is a retired Trooper Sergeant . He says the young officers grow a lot in two weeks.
“We had some walk in and they wear their hat backwards, which is strange because they have to hold their hand over their eye so they can see. When they leave here they wear their uniforms proudly. They do their own work, they spit shine their boots, and they’re proud of the way they look. And they work as a unit now. Even in two weeks they’re working well together, and they have confidence, a lot of confidence,” said Dekreon.
Many officers work in very small departments. Part of the training helps officers build connections with fellow officers and troopers around the state.
“Most of them feel very comfortable with what they’ve learned and they know they have backup and they know they have someone who can help them work through difficult situations,” said Dekreon.
The academy has been taught in Bethel since 2009.