Week Three began at the River Hills Police Department.
Sgt. Michael Gaynor began with a tour of the facility, and an explanation on some key differences in training today, compared to the past.
When the police academy started, it was who you knew. You needed a job, knew a local chief, and he'd say, "Here's your gun, good luck." Today, it's a 10- or 12-week course, hours of on-the-job training and reports and testing."
During our history lesson, we also learned that officers used to live upstairs, above the police department when the facility was shared between the police and fire departments.
Along with our tour, we got to check out some of the equipment that even a smaller police department like River Hills carries, including riot gear.
Officers carry assault rifles along with Vietnam-era M16s. Both are mounted in between the front driver and passenger seat. There's also an additional rifle in the trunk. Along with the rifle, the trunk houses a riot shield. This shield won't withstand a shot from a rifle, but can take most smaller gun fire.
And then there are teddy bears.
Officers in most of the North Shore departments carry teddy bears for children. Gaynor explained that too often children are forgotten. Officers show up for a domestic abuse situation or a car accident, and if there are children involved, they can be very scared. He said a teddy bear can make a world of difference in calming that child down.
Finally, we were able to listen to a few funny police stories, including Gaynor's wrestling match with a snapping turtle. A child's hockey stick was useful in removing that behemoth.
Next week, we head back to the for use of force training.