Ready to serve — new Garden City officers training in the field

3/25/2014

By KELTON BROOKS

By KELTON BROOKS

kbrooks@gctelegram.com

Four new officers of the Garden City Police Department soon will be patrolling the city to protect and serve, after recently having graduated from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

The four officers, Jairo Armenta, George Caine, Jan Plomaritis and Cody Wilson, all of Garden City, will perform the duties of patrol officers with GCPD.

The new officers were members of the 227th basic training class at the center located near Hutchinson. There, the cadets learned lessons and earned certifications in a 14-week class that enabled them to apply what they learned on the streets of Kansas when they graduate. Officers then undergo an extensive training program of about 12 additional weeks with the GCPD prior to being released as a solo officer.

Like most jobs, officers of the police department have to put in a two-weeks notice if they intend to resign, quit or retire. It might take most jobs a few weeks to fill a position, but it takes the police department nine months to complete the process of a new hire, and that's including the 14-week program.

Before becoming a solo officer, the graduates at GCPD are accompanied by field training officers who are out in police vehicles in the city responding to calls for service, and are evaluated and graded for performance on every call. Senior master patrol officer Troy Davis said the FTOs are there to help them, guide them and help them grow until they are fully certified officers. After the field training, then comes the final phase, the observation period where the senior observing officer is essentially a spectator and does not assist the officer in any way unless it's a dire situation.

One officer, Bo Taylor, who graduated from the center in December 2013, is in that final stage and said he knows exactly what the new graduates are going through.

"It was challenging educational-wise, but rewarding," Taylor said. "It was nerve-racking, but I learned an awesome amount of information and got to see different styles of how to handle cases."

Taylor said he was proud to get out and do the "real deal" and adds that an officer feels a sense of pride when completing his or her training through the academy. During his observation period, Taylor said, he has responded to thefts, domestic calls and accidents.

"We want to make sure he can function as a solo officer," said Garden City police Capt. Randy Ralston. "He won't know every answer, but we want to know if he can use his resources to find the right answer, or call another officer if he needs help."

Ralston said the new graduates are about a month away from becoming solo officers, adding that Taylor is possibly three days away from patrolling on his own.

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