Officers worldwide training at Tampa Police Academy

- More than 60 reserve police officers came to Tampa this week for a chance to train on pursuit and use-of-force cases.

The Tampa Police Department hosted the 2015 Volunteer Law Enforcement Officer Alliance conference, with attendees coming from countries outside of the United States, such as Canada and Singapore.

On Friday, officers were able to put their book work to use through hands-on scenarios.

Officers met at the Tampa Police Academy off South 34th Street to train on pit maneuvers, a technique in which officers hit their front bumper against the rear bumper of a car in order to push a dangerous driver off of the roadway, later trapping the driver in with two other police cars.

"It's something that law enforcement across the country took from, basically, Nascar," said Corporal Alex Thiel, who lead the exercise. "We're taught our whole lives to try not to make contact with other vehicles. It's not a natural thing to hit another moving vehicle while you're moving on purpose."

Thiel said learning the technique can save the lives of other drivers on the road during a police pursuit.

Officers also had the opportunity to train on two shooting scenarios.

Using air-soft guns, officers learned the correct way to return fire when someone is shooting at them from inside of a vehicle, possibly during a traffic stop.

"You never know what's going to happen in the outside real world," said Officer Wayne Bobb-Semple, who travelled from the Cayman Islands for training. "You always want to make sure that you're well prepared to deal with any situation that approaches you."

Officers also participated in a virtual shooting simulator, watching various scenarios play out on a screen in front of them and having to react quickly in deciding whether or not it was appropriate to fire their guns.

Officers said while decision must be made in seconds, making the smart choice can mean the difference between life and death for both the officer and others involved.

"You never know what's available in the real world scenario, and it always changes. Training actually helps to keep us on top of things," said Bobb-Semple.

The VolunteerOfficer Conference began on Wednesday and will wrap up on Saturday. For more information, visit VLEOA.org.  

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