Training our law enforcement leaders

Mar. 23, 2013 @ 05:32 AM

Deputy David Suttles, an officer with the Rutherford County Sheriff Reserve Division, never wakes up in the morning thinking, ‘I don’t feel like going to work today.’

“I’ve always wanted to be in law enforcement, probably since the seventh grade,” Suttles said. “I did a project in school on law enforcement in a careers class and that really drew my interest.”

A Rutherford County native, Suttles is the most recent graduate of the Sheriff’s Field Training Officers Program and the sixth reserve deputy to complete the program.

The program was introduced in July of 2011 as a means to train new recruits coming into the Sheriff’s Office Reserve Division.

“In years past, before this program the Sheriff’s Office would basically give you a road map locator, a gun, a badge and a car and expect you to know from what you learned in basic law enforcement training how to enforce the laws,” explained Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis.

The program puts trainees with a seasoned deputy who has been through field training and has had additional instruction to become a field training officer.

This ensures that all incoming deputy sheriffs are trained to a proper level.

“From my point of view, the program is a good program for any officer to go through,” said Suttles. “As officers we never know what kind of scenarios we’re going to deal with out here on the roads.”

The training program consists of 480 hours of mandatory training in which trainees are supervised in four different phases by a certified field training officer.

Trainees learn about many different facets of law enforcement and must pass written testing and various scenario-based situations.

There is no set amount of time in which a trainee is required to complete the program.

How long it takes an officer to finish the training depends on many factors including whether the officer works full-time or part-time.

According to Francis, the program can take as little as three months for a full-time deputy to complete, and several additional months for a part-time reserve deputy.

Suttles successfully completed the training program in about nine months and was presented a certificate of completion Thursday at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Suttles now has the training to help him in doing his job as a law enforcement officer.

Since completing the program, he is now planning on becoming a full-time deputy.

“It’s something I enjoy doing,” Suttles said. “Each and every day you encounter different things and you never know what you’re going to come across. I love the job itself by all means.”