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Bladen County Sheriff James A. McVicker has implemented an intense training program for his deputies since taking office in December.

“One of my goals when I took office was to make sure my deputies, jailers, and telecommunicators all received not only the basic mandatory yearly training required by the state, but to go above and beyond that to insure they were up to date on new methods and to refresh the skills they use on a daily basis,” McVicker said.

McVicker said he puts a strong emphasis on training as he himself has been a certified law enforcement trainer for many years doing in service training with several agencies and also working for local community colleges and the North Carolina Justice Academy.

“To say I believe in and support training is an understatement,” he said. “I want to get my employees as much training as I can. That means I have to be wise in how the training is implemented and handled. We work hard to do all our training in a way that we do not incur overtime salary expenditures. This can sometimes be a challenge, but it is worth it.”

He gave examples of utilizing online training that is available at any time to meet some mandated state training. “We utilize community colleges who offer online training to train all our dispatchers and detention officers. By doing this they can get the training on a normal shift when things are quiet and it does not require overtime.”

He also allows his training coordinator to schedule classes at what might be considered odd hours. “If we can keep training costs down by setting up classes at night or early in the morning, then that is what we are going to do.”

Since taking office he has sent deputies to specialized training. “We have sent two deputies to a man tracking school put on by Army Special Forces. These officers have already utilized those skills since the training. All my investigators are enrolled in a Criminal Investigations Certification Program offered through the North Carolina Justice Academy that requires 500 hours of training in many areas to include crime scene evidence collection, financial crimes, identity theft, sexual assault, child abuse and death investigations just to name a few.”

The deputies are currently participating in a “hands on” driver training program at a training facility in the region. “One big expense for any law enforcement agency is vehicles. We have to keep the skill level of our officers as high as possible in order to cut down on accidents and vehicle maintenance. To do that, I have been able to get our officers involved in driver training at a nearby training facility at no cost to the county.

“My deputies participate not only in classroom training, but they then go out and drive several courses designed to increase their skills in steering, evasive action, backing, and emergency response driving,” McVicker said.

“It is my goal to get the best possible training for my employees so we can give the best possible service we can to our citizens. I also do not want to waste hard earned taxpayer dollars. No one likes tax increases including myself. I want to make every dollar count and having well trained, professional officers will help insure that goal.”