Continuing Education for Existing Personnel
To maintain a basic certification, all South Dakota law enforcement officers must complete forty hours of training in every two-year period. The training must consist of courses sponsored by Law Enforcement Training or approved and documented by the law enforcement agency in the subject areas of: program administration; police practices and procedures; legal aspects; human behavior; and domestic violence. Additionally, all officers must qualify on a certified firearms course annually.
Watertown Police Department officers typically far surpass the minimum training standards required to maintain their certification. In-service training sessions focusing on core competencies are held at the WPD on a regular basis and are available to all personnel. Additionally, the WPD serves as a regional training hub, hosting several advanced classes throughout the year. These advanced classes attract officers from throughout South Dakota and western Minnesota.
Police Patrol Officer Initial Training
The Watertown Police Department new officer training program consists of twenty-two weeks of training. Each officer initially completes three weeks of classroom training and an observation week. After the observation week, officers are assigned to training officers for sixteen weeks of training covering four substantive topics which include Patrol Activities, Non-Emergency Incident Response, Emergency Incident Response, and Criminal Investigations. During the new officer's training, there is a Mid-Term Evaluation and Final Evaluation. During these evaluation weeks, the officer is evaluated for advancement in the program.
During the training program, new officers complete various assignments to aid in the development of their problem solving abilities. Some of the assignments include Problem Based Learning Exercises, Learning Activities Packages, and a Neighborhood Portfolio Exercise.
In addition to this training conducted at the WPD, each new officer is required to become certified by the State of South Dakota within their first year of employment. Certification is accomplished by successfully completing South Dakota Law Enforcement Training's Basic Certification Course, which currently consists of 520 hours of instruction (13 weeks). The Basic Certification Course is offered three times each year in Pierre, SD. Lodging and meals are provided by the State Law Enforcement Training Center. The WPD pays the officer's salary while he/she is attending the Basic Certification Course, and the officer is provided transportation to and from Pierre each week. New officers having a valid law enforcement certification from another state may be allowed to bypass the thirteen-week Basic course by passing a reciprocity test.
The goal of the Watertown Police Department Police Training Officer program is to offer invaluable training in helping police trainees to perform their duties and responsibilities in a more efficient, effective and equitable manner.
911 Communications Officer Initial Training
The training program for new 911 Communications Officers is structured similarly to the Patrol Officer training program described above. The 911 Communications Officer training program, however, is shorter in length. It consists of one week of classroom training, followed by twelve weeks assigned to a Communications Training Officer. New 911 Communications Officers complete Problem Based Learning Exercises and Learning Activity Packages to aid in the development of their problem solving abilities. In addition to the training program conducted at the WPD, new 911 Communications Officers must successfully complete the Basic 911 Telecommunicator Certification Program in Pierre, SD within their first year of employment. That two-week course is offered three times each year. Lodging and meals are provided by the State Law Enforcement Training Center. The WPD pays the employee's salary while he/she is attending the Basic 911 Telecommunicator course, and the employee is provided transportation to and from Pierre each week. New 911 Communications Officers having previously acquired a similar certification from another state may be allowed to bypass the two-week Basic course by passing a reciprocity test.
More information about the minimum standards and certification requirements for all Police Officers and 911 Communications Officers can be found on the Law Enforcement Training website.