Essentials Every Patrol Officer Should Know

Patrol Officer Course Topics and Descriptions

View our full list of Patrol Officer Training Courses, available as individual classes and part of the subscription.

Click on any class title to be taken to its description. 

"Lieutenant Pangaro’s knowledge of the subjects, his hands-on, real-world (work) experience in applying the techniques and concepts along with the passion and conviction with which he presented it was exceptional."

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Advanced Street Interview

This course is for patrol officers and detectives to effectively deal with the challenges of a roadside interview. Skills taught will enable officer to manage and control the environment and deal with time constraints. Practical exercises will reinforce instruction.

Our highly-experienced instructors teach how to:

  • Identify common criminal behaviors and signals
  • Interview management
  • Detect deception by analyzing verbal and nonverbal cues
  • Developing short-term rapport and conversational skills to extend interview
  • Recognizing defense mechanisms and emotional and stress responses
  • Ways to overcome denials
  • Giving Miranda application, ensure the admissibility of statements, and constitutional requirements
  • Effective law enforcement recording

Bomb Threat Awareness & Response

Bombing and the threat of being bombed are harsh realities in today’s world. Be prepared to cope with a bomb incident. The course instructor is Detective Sergeant Jim Varick with the New Jersey State Police Arson/Bomb Unit.

The program would be of benefit to all personnel from the boots on the ground to executive staff. This course is open to all First Responders, police, fire, and EMS personnel. Through this awareness level training, First Responders will have the ability to safely respond to incidents involving improvised explosive devices and explosions. Personnel responsible for policy planning and implementation would benefit from this training by gaining knowledge that can be applied in both the planning and response phase in their respective communities.

This course covers:

  • understanding the current threat environment
  • basic understanding of bomb threats
  • how to safely and efficiently manage a bomb threat
  • classes of explosives and explosive effects
  • improvised explosive devices (IED’s), along with the components that comprise an IED
  • the evacuation decision making process
  • notification processes
  • search protocols
  • types of suspect items that might be encountered.

Conducting Effective Pedestrian Stops

This comprehensive one-day course is designed to provide police officers with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct effective pedestrian stops while ensuring the protection of citizen’s rights and safety.

  • Participants will gain a deep understanding of the following subject areas:
  • The legal framework surrounding pedestrian stops
  • The different types of police-citizen encounters
  • A review of court decisions affecting pedestrian stops. 
  • Arrest, Search, and Seizure as it relates to pedestrian stops

In addition, practical considerations and strategies will be explored to enhance officers’ abilities and safety during these encounters. This course is designed for new and veteran patrol officers who want to understand and improve their skills in conducting pedestrian stops. 

Crisis Intervention and Verbal De-Escalation

In any type of crisis call that your officers respond to, how the first officer on the scene handles it can make a life-saving difference. Our 2-day course combines classroom training led by an experienced FBI trained crisis/hostage negotiator with the use of professional role players to bring the training to life.

Crisis Intervention and Verbal De-escalation Training provides law enforcement professionals with time-tested communication skills proven to help de-escalate volatile situations. These skills when used by police officers significantly enhance the agency’s professional image and relations with the community.

This impactful course gives an overview and the basic elements of critical communication skills and negotiation techniques. Verbal De-escalation is what we use during a potentially dangerous, or threatening, situation in an attempt to prevent a person from causing harm to us, themselves, or others. This 2-day course will teach the verbal de-escalation/communication skills (for crisis and other day-to-day situations) to assist officers in the routine performance of their job in situations such as: assisting someone with a possible mental illness, domestic disturbances, dealing with children, assisting victims, helping traumatized witnesses, and even diffuse and dissuade potentially suicidal/violent subject from reacting to stressors with violence.

Topics covered:

  • Quickly evaluate any interaction to determine whether de-escalation efforts are reasonable to consider, tactically practical, and likely to be successful
  • Strategies for ensuring personal safety
  • Behavior Escalation Stages
  • Using tone, body language, and appropriate words
  • Understanding physiological changes during aggression

Domestic Violence: Understanding Abuse Dynamics and Conducting Investigations

This program, taught by a female, Captain Donna Roman Hernandez (Ret.), covers AG guidelines but goes beyond that covering the personal story of survivorship and victimization of 35 years at the hands of her father, a sheriff’s officer. By sharing her own story, students get a unique and real insight into understanding the victim mindset, the coercive control model of abusive relationships, and how the PD should handle a DV investigation between law enforcement personnel.

Domestic violence is a complex crime. Responding law enforcement officers must be equipped with an understanding of the nuances, dynamics, and course of conduct of intimate partner violence/abuse to effectively address the victim’s needs and to hold the offender accountable with a thorough and comprehensive investigation.

This course will help the student to understand:

  • Victim-centered, trauma-informed response when officers respond to domestic violence incidents whether it be the first time or the 10th time.
  • How to recognize the physiology of trauma
  • The nature, dynamics, cycle, and patterns of domestic violence
  • The signs and symptoms of abuse and its physical, emotional, and physical effects on victims and families
  • How to identify the common characteristics and mindset of batters and victims (Coercive Control model)
  • How to assess strangulation
  • How to understand the short and long term impact of violence on children
  • How to identify the primary aggressor
  • How to conduct victim-centered interviews and investigations and support systems available for victims.
  • Sexual Assault Incident Report
  • Investigative Strategies
  • Victim Coping After Sexual Assault
  • Report writing considerations
  • Trauma-Informed Victim Interviewing
  • Suspect Interrogation
  • Working with Vulnerable Populations

Effective Police Response to Traumatized Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

This course will identify the police officer’s role in responding to the specific needs of children exposed to domestic violence in the home setting to help save their lives.

Officers will learn:

  • A Victim-centered, on-scene, proactive protocol for effectively responding to the needs of children in stress
  • How to provide trauma-informed, developmentally-appropriate responses to traumatized children
  • Identification of who has been exposed to violence and trauma
  • Developing a safe environment to help children and family members re-establish a sense of security and stability
  • Providing advocacy resources for victims

A highlight of the course is a child survivor’s perspective about how the exposure to domestic violence impacted her personal life and as a police commander.

Field Training Officer Training

This Field Training Officer (FTO) Course trains the FTO to train, evaluate, and mentor recruits for work as law enforcement officers. This program covers the basic skills needed to ensure a trainee is ready to conduct solo patrols in a safe and professional manner.

During the 3 days, students will:

  • Students will use an FTO Program to follow a detailed list of skills to build on from day one to the release of trainees for solo patrol.
  • Learn practical exercises the FTO to determine trainee progress and areas that require remediation.
  • Review a set of conceptual ideas germane to law enforcement that the FTO can provide to the trainee to ensure the trainee understands the rights and responsibilities of acting as a police officer.
  • Understand and review the legal basis for police actions in situations such as arrests, searches, seizures, use of force, vehicular pursuits, handcuffing, weapons retention, and other similar actions that take place every day for police officers.
  • Understand and review an ethical and integrity-based set of standards for the trainee so they can properly interact with citizens.
    Understand and review the specific rules and regulations of their particular agency, county, and state.


Class participants will review, discuss, and practice the following topics to impart with trainees (including but not limited to):

  • Personal responsibilities as a police officer, both on duty and off duty
  • Legal and safety issues making car stops
  • Operating the police vehicle under normal and emergency conditions
  • Interacting with citizens
  • Report Writing
  • Safety and legal issues make suspicious person stops
  • Traffic direction- techniques, safety, location, and use of devices and timing
  • Approaching a crime scene
  • Fire call and response
  • Active Shooter response
  • Court procedures, responsibility, and testimony
  • Domestic Violence awareness for police officers
  • Answering calls for service both emergency and non-emergency
  • Making arrests for both disorderly person’s offenses and indictable crimes
  • Juvenile interactions and crimes against juveniles and by juveniles
  • Narcotics identification, use, and abuse
  • Police pursuit
  • Proper use of Miranda, show-ups, and other forms of ID
  • Dealing with people in crisis

Finding Concealed Compartments

Criminals use hidden compartments in vehicles to hide their illegal drugs, guns, and money from the police. Every officer has stopped a vehicle with a hidden compartment but never knew it. This course will teach your officers what to look for to spot these hidden compartments and find illegal items.

The course is taught by New York State Police Detective who is a recognized expert in this field. This course has been taught to police and government agencies around the world in conjunction with the DEA and now this course is now available to every officer in our area.

This course teaches you:

  • What to look for when stopping a vehicle, the tell-tale signs that a vehicle had been altered to create a hidden compartment.
  • To listen for the things the people say to indicate they are operating a vehicle with a hidden compartment.
  • Where to look on the vehicle and in residences to find these hidden compartments.

This course is a must for every officer that works the road and every detective that serves search warrants. The course also highlights the physical indicators and verbal clues used by individuals concealing illicit contraband. The course through the use of lecture, video, and inspection of actually concealed compartments in vehicles allows the student to see the mechanics of these compartments. Designed to familiarize the student with many types of concealment, it covers both commercially available items as well as custom manufactured compartments.

Concealed Compartments was an amazing class, even for our highly experienced narcotics investigators. Everybody can get something out of this course, no matter how skilled you are. No doubt this course has made our entire unit better and more skilled. Our production after having attended Concealed Compartments has increased dramatically. Thanks for an incredible course.” Sgt. Adam Schwartz, Bensalem PA Police Department. The day after having attended Concealed Compartments, their narcotics unit found a hidden compartment in a vehicle and confiscated drugs, weapons and thousands of dollars.

First Responder Interactions With the Special Needs Community

Very little education is available to assist the law enforcement community in interacting with the special needs community. This one-day course is designed for all members of law enforcement and covers identification and successful navigation of the interaction between the first responders and children and young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities.

We offer best practices for:

  • Field contacts
  • Arrest and Restraint
  • Miranda
  • Interview Techniques

Human Trafficking: Understanding the Mindset of the Trafficker and Victims

This course will help the law enforcement officer understand:

  • The crime of human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery
  • Its dynamics and the traumatic effects on the victims
  • The forms of human trafficking exploitation
  • The mindset/ profiles of human traffickers.

This training identifies the challenges and barriers faced by officers in handling human trafficking cases; offers interview techniques for a victim-centered interview and investigation; the need for collaboration between law enforcement agencies; and the support services that are available for victims of human trafficking.

Investigating for the Patrol Officer

This course teaches the fundamentals of investigation so patrol officers develop a complete understanding of investigations to better handle initial reports and responsibilities and to participate as needed in larger investigations. This course is valuable to agencies with limited manpower, with cross-training requirements, and for agencies looking to enhance patrol officers’ skills to assist detectives as needed.

This 2-day course teaches patrol officers the needs and dynamics of a crime scene and the fundamentals of all criminal investigations emphasizing elements necessary to build a strong case. To enhance learning, officers will interact with role players in a mock crime scene.

Unit Topics:

  • Crime Scene Management is vital to solving criminal offenses
  • Establishing physical parameters of a crime scene
  • Properly protect and record Crime scenes using report descriptions, measurements, sketches, and photographs
  • Rules governing and methods of the collection and preservation of evidence
  • Types of evidence: impressions, forensic biology, trace evidence, weapons, and written documentation
  • Review and practice using components of a forensic kit including fingerprinting
  • Conducting on scene or field interviews
  • Reviewing the unique elements of assault, burglary, and robbery crimes
  • Recognize features of suspicious death/suicide
  • How to prepare and document a proper investigative report
  • Courtroom testimony

Our Instructors use practical techniques and principles using a combination of classroom, lab, and field exercises that simulate real-world law enforcement situations that officers may face.

Patrol Tactics

This one-day course teaches Advanced Patrol Tactics and Hidden Compartment Searches. Officers learn how to go beyond ticket writing to making quality criminal cases.

Patrol Tactics will teach officers to develop and trust instincts, to identify illegal activity, to investigate with roadside interview techniques, and perform searches working within constitutional guidelines and legal restrictions leading to solid criminal cases and arrests. Illegal drug identification, paraphernalia, and recognition of their effects will be reviewed. The report writing component teaches documenting all pertinent facts needed to support the case and withstand defense scrutiny. Segments on safety practices, hidden compartments, and using in-car video for your benefit round out the day.

Planning the Active Shooter Drill

The incidents of ACTIVE SHOOTERS have increased nationwide. Training to respond to this life-threatening situation is NOT AN OPTION. The focus of this program is to train the trainer.

The course focuses on training techniques:

  • Method of instruction practices
  • Student evaluation and documentation
  • Coordinating with different agencies at varying levels of drill events highlighting areas of concern of various host locations
  • Scenario development to cover a broad range of settings and developing cross-training protocols to alleviate budget concerns
  • Simulation drills options

During the course, students will get a historical overview of tactical changes in approaches to dealing with active threats of violence from armed individuals in domestic and workplace environments and information on how to impart this training to others.

Pre-Employment Background Investigations

Many agencies rely on pre-911 pre-employment practices such as blindly accepting candidates with the highest physical and/or academic test results. State law requires us to take those qualifications into account; but the law does not require agencies to ignore the more important qualifiers such as the candidate’s character and ethical history, financial responsibility, temperament, or record of interpersonal relationships. Since 9/11, the department’s background investigations are also about ensuring national security.

Conducting an in-depth, thorough and complete investigation of each candidate is the only way to protect your agency. With this valuable information, hiring committees can make informed decisions. This course covers the scope, tactics, and techniques necessary to reveal all negative traits as well as past criminal or inappropriate behaviors and actions on the part of applicants.

Instructors will cover:

  • Getting beyond the candidate’s best friends and pre-set, practiced answers
  • Identifying areas of concern and recognizing potential red flags
  • Interview techniques and tactics that can reveal a candidate’s beliefs and feelings on a variety of job-related topics
  • Gauging a candidate’s temperament beyond their answers
  • Preparing and documenting a report including collecting and recording data and witness interviews

This course will also cover the legal requirements pertaining to when certain questions can be asked and how much information the applicant is obliged to provide. What to do if you learn the employee has lied during any part of the process and when it is legally permissible to terminate the process.

This program is designed so your agency can prevent the need for expensive law suits and worse, the disruption of your agency or company as you fight to correct the problem.

Response to Sexual Assault on School Campuses

The course will provide law enforcement personnel with best practices for sexual assault investigations and sexual violence response guidelines and investigative strategies for officers to integrate a victim-centered approach in their handling of sexual assault cases, including:

  • Victim and suspect interviews
  • The dynamics of sexual assault
  • Types of sexual violence and sex crimes
  • An awareness of victims’ experiences and rights
  • Vulnerable populations and cultural dynamics
  • Resources for victims of sexual assault.
  • All officers regardless of their rank will benefit from this course

Street Gang Recognition and Identification

Street Gang Recognition and Identification with an emphasis on MS-13.

Gang history, tattoos, hand signs, colors, codes, graffiti, and criminal activity are presented using PowerPoint, lecture, and video presentation. This is course is designed to give a basic working knowledge of gangs and the basic ability to recognize and properly identify a street gang member. An overview of how to conduct a gang investigation through the exploitation of confidential informants, sources of income, and the targeting of the hierarchy are explained in detail. These investigations concentrate on the interview and interrogation as well as the targeting of “shot callers”, the individuals responsible for committing and authorizing acts of violence in furtherance of the gang.

The Wounded Officer: The Aftermath of a Shooting

This training discusses the aftermath of a shooting and the physical, emotional and psychological effects on the wounded officer, their loved ones, and police department/colleagues. Also discussed are:

  • The physiology of trauma
  • Law enforcement post-traumatic stress
  • The signs and symptoms of PTSD
  • Mental health wellness strategies for the wounded and responding officers and their police departments
  • Wounded officer peer support groups
  • Officer safety measures


This training includes an award-winning police documentary produced by Captain Donna Roman Hernandez that features three New Jersey police officers emotionally describing what it felt like to be shot, the aftermath of their shootings, how they survived and post-incident lessons learned.