LEWISBURG — It’s been well-said that police officers on any given workday may encounter scenarios not covered in their training manuals.
“You never know,” said Buffalo Valley Regional Police (BVRPD) Chief Paul Yost. “Your day-to-day can be quiet. But you can go from ‘zero to one-hundred-miles-an-hour’ really quick.”
Training helps, Yost said, and added that he believed the department was as prepared as possible for anything they encounter.
“You have to learn the street process, the rules of engagement,” he observed. “It’s that community interaction and learning how to deal with people in different scenarios.”
Yost noted that stress runs high at times for both citizens and officers.
“People don’t always react the same as they do when they are all calm and collected. Both sides, absolutely,” he said. “That’s where good training comes in on the officer’s side. He can maintain composure and work at deescalating a circumstance where you can get back down to just talking and figuring things out.”
Accreditation, formal certification of a department’s practices, recently became part of a local discussion of law enforcement after a number of well publicized incidents in other states. Yost noted the BVRPD was not certified, but their operations manual was based on a high number of guidelines which were equal to accredited practices.
“A lot of things that have been discussed in the last couple of weeks we have in policy and procedure,” Yost said. “Especially in the areas of use of force and response to racial and domestic violence situations.”
He noted the BVRPD has operational limits on use of force.
“Specifically, the ones that have been dealt with in the media over the last several weeks, choke holds and those type of actions are prohibited by our use of force policy,” Yost said. “With one stipulation, that if the officer’s life is in danger, then I guess all holds are barred then you fight to survive.”
Yost added that training for officers, both mandatory and ongoing, covers racial and LGBTQ matters.
“In that respect a hard thing to swallow a couple of publications, either anonymous or not, accusing our department of racial targeting and profiling,” Yost said. “I can tell you I’ve had no complaints during our existence here.”
Yost added that his officers were a little upset by the criticism, but the accusations did not provide facts to support them.