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Sylvania Twp. police may turn to tapes to train

Sylvania Township police employees may soon embark on a different type of distance learning to go along with their regular training. It's called ... the videotape.

However, these are not your normal weekend rentals.

For around $5,200, the department is seeking to purchase videotapes from the Texas-based Law Enforcement TV Network in a deal that comes with a computer and VCR.

The 850 available tapes come with information about blood splatter, combat handcuffing, use of force decisions, drugs, sexual harassment, and crime prevention, and a nine-part series on winning armed confrontations.

The idea is to help patrol officers who tend to suffer the most because they are not to attend seminars because of time complications, police chief Wayne Seely said last week.

It's difficult to schedule officers for training and balancing the need to keep officers on the streets, days off, vacation, and budgeting overtime, he said.

This training is not an attempt to replace other formal training, but is meant to serve as a supplement, the chief said.

The 64-member department will all gain from the series. There are tapes as well about records management and retention for administrative employees.

When an officer or an employee watches a videotape, there's a pre-test about knowledge. And after watching 25-40 minute of tapes, there's a post test.

The computer records the tests and keeps records for the department. The department will get about 30 tapes per month.

The department doesn't need a formal resolution from trustees to get approval for the program, but needs an endorsement to spend the money.

The Law Enforcement Training Network began in 1989. Township officers want to use the Specialized Training Testing and Recordkeeping System or STTAR.

Township police authorities presented the idea to trustees earlier this month.

"I think it's important to have a well-trained department," Trustee Dock Treece said.

"I think it's probably a better system with training more people with the same dollars than sending them to seminars," Mr. Treece said. "This will be a cost-effective way of doing it."

It will be easier for officers to all watch the same tape than to send them to seminars which could be out of town.

Program officials say it "a convenient way to manage your entire training program and help reduce legal liability by providing third-party documentation."

"This is just another way to reach officers," Mr. Seely said, adding a lot of the younger officer were "brought-up on videos" and have learned with visuals.

About 1,200 law enforcement agencies - including some in Ohio - are using the technology.

"I learned early on how important training was," Terrell Schaffer, 51, the network's regional manager said from Texas, said. He is a former police officer in Riley County, Kansas.

"When you are out there one-on-one you got to be well-trained and be a jack-of-all-trades," he said.

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