SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The recent shooting that killed New York Officer Miosotis Familia showed how even highly trained officers can still be a victim to random acts of violence. The number of officers being killed has started to rise across the country, making being a cop harder than it ever has before.
“I don’t know how you prepare them for that,” Rocco Fragomeni, Director of Zone 5 Police Academy, said.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the number of officers killed across the country has risen to 68 deaths already this year, which is up three percent than last year.
“We tell them they got to keep their head on a swivel, they got to know what’s going on around them,” Fragomeni said.
New York State requires their recruits to complete 640 hours of training, but at least for Zone 5, they put their officers through 1,150 hours of training. After six months at the training academy, they then have to complete a field training course which takes about an additional 15 weeks. Before they can become an active duty police officer, they have to finish the final phase which usually takes about a year.
“We try to do a lot of scenario based training. We do things like domestic violence or handcuffing techniques, things like that we make sure we don’t just tell them, we allow them to do the activity.”
The Schenectady Police Department hired seven new officers in 2016, which is a smaller amount than in previous years. The department said this is due to the highly competitive application process.
“Those seven people come out of a pool of hundreds of people that have taken the Schenectady County Civil Service Exam. We have accepted these seven people as the most qualified candidates,” Schenectady Police Sgt. Jeffrey McCutcheon said.
Even with tensions high across the country, this challenging aspect of the job is a large part of why many join the police force.
It’s not for the weak-hearted. You don’t come to the police academy and pass it if this is not something you wanted to do,” Fragomeni said.
“It’s a job that really gives you a sense of fulfillment.”