By Deb Everts
Junior students in the Criminal Justice class at Ellicottville Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center recently completed a unit in Field Sobriety Training in preparation for a career in law enforcement.
After spending about five weeks on the DWI-Field Sobriety unit that includes classroom theory and performance practice in preparation for officer patrol, their lesson plan culminated on Jan. 9. Utilizing an actual patrol car on loan from the Town of Cuba, the students performed a simulated driving while intoxicated (DWI) Field Sobriety Check and a Felony Stop.
Instructor Tim Emley said the students learn about Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), identifying a driver under the Influence, absorption of alcohol, making the stop, approaching the suspect vehicle, probable cause and officer safety, among many other aspects regarding law enforcement.
Emley has taught at the career tech center for 20 years. When he’s not teaching Criminal Justice, he’s working at his part-time job as an officer for the Town of Cuba Police Department. As a working police officer, he knows how to teach his students the proper procedures of enforcing the law.
“They practice for the exam where they wear real police duty belts with simulated weapons called ‘red-gun training weapons,’” he said. “There’s also a flashlight hooked to the belt, along with handcuffs and keys in their proper compartments.”
Students Kaylee Davidson and Nick Green, both of Pioneer Central School, were in the midst of taking their Field Sobriety exams when the Press visited their class. Using student volunteers from another class, the mock suspects wear fatal vision goggles that simulate being intoxicated. Both Davidson and Green received perfect scores.
Davidson said her future plans include joining the United States Air Force after high school graduation and, afterward, become an investigator, possibly with the FBI. She chose the Criminal Justice course at the tech center and an initial career in the military because her father is in the United States Navy.
“I like the hands-on activities and the running in the Criminal Justice class. All of my friends are here, too,” she said. “I’ve always wanted a career in law enforcement. I find it interesting and I didn’t want a boring job.”
Green said his father’s dream to become a cop initially inspired him to follow the same career path and drew him to the Criminal Justice course. He wants to make a difference and be involved in making the world a little bit better.
“He never got to do it. I was thinking, ‘if he can’t do it, I can do it,’” he said. “I’m going to get his dream now.”
The Meggitt Training System is Green’s favorite class activity. The machine is a firearms training simulator (FATS) designed for both military and law enforcement personnel.
His future plans include attending college, then going into either a local police department or serving as a state police officer.
The class also undergoes rigorous physical training. So far, this year’s junior class has passed the 75-mile mark in running. As with all his classes, when they reach the 100-mile mark, Emley marks the occasion with a photograph for their portfolios.
Emley said he runs the program “paramilitary-style” and his students are required to be in uniform every day. When they are not in shirts and ties, they must be in their running gear — a formal sweatshirt with their name and CTE embroidered on it, along with black shorts and running shoes … and they run.
“We run twice a week, every week, on Tuesdays and Fridays,” he said. “We do this rain or shine, whether it’s sunny and 75 degrees or a wind chill factor of below zero. It’s part of their character building and prepares them for real-life situations where they have to endure the elements.”
The students get a professional portfolio and can earn college credits. Emley said the career tech center has articulation agreements with nearly every college in Western New York. If a student carries an 85 average for the two years, they can articulate six to nine credit hours at these local colleges.
This year’s juniors include Micaiah Lenahan, Catt-LV; Brayden Sentz, Catt-LV; Alyssea Hardy, Salamanca; Kaylee Davidson, Pioneer; Linsey Newland, Pioneer; Mikhayla Barber, Randolph; Joe Quigly, Catt-LV; Justin Imhoff, Ellicottville; Talon Lake, Pioneer; Nickolas Green, Pioneer; Bryan Briggs, Randolph; Jasper Rak, Pioneer; and Chase Williams, Pioneer.
In addition to his teaching position at Ellicottville’s CTE and his part-time job with the Town of Cuba Police Department, Emley also serves as Portville’s town supervisor and operates a small wrestling club in Olean.
The Criminal Justice program is offered at all three Career Technical and Education Centers located in Ellicottville, Olean and Belmont. To find out more, call 376-8300 or visit online at caboces.org.