The Basic Law Enforcement Academy makes changes to what it teaches incoming officers

SPOKANE, Wa. — The state of Washington has 26 new officers, with 11 of them in Spokane, working to protect the public and keep families safe.

The Basic Law Enforcement Academy has been around for decades. However, the officers who graduated on Friday experienced something new since House Bill 1310 adjusted the curriculum.

Beyond that change, they’re working hard to include more training, specific to emotional intelligence with the unrest that’s been seen in policing over the past few years.

Before Friday’s graduation ceremony, officers from all across the state put in a minimum of 17 weeks in the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA). The assistant commander who brought them through this process said this job is harder than it’s ever been before.

“When I got hired, I tested against 1,000 people for the Spokane Police Dept. Now, we’ll have maybe 50-100,” said David Adams, Assistant Commander for BLEA of Spokane.

Adams has been coaching recruits for 27 years and said graduation day is the best part. Since he went through the program, a lot has changed.

“Back then, when I went through, it was a lot more learn the law, learn criminal procedure, drive the car, shoot the gun, fight, fight, fight,” Adams explained.

Now, they’re emphasizing the importance of adjusting their approach to combat the societal issues we’ve seen emerge over the past few years.

“A lot of classroom work about things like emotional intelligence, criminal law, race relations,” said Adams.

“It’s an opportunity for law enforcement to kind of take a step back and maybe sort through more things then go head-on into them,” added Samuel Harding. Harding became a Patrol Officer for Chewelah on graduation day.

“Over the course of history, law enforcement has had to adapt to changes,” explained Harding.

He understands, in this new career, he’ll need to be flexible.

“We have worked very hard to make people understand, and help them understand, that we can change, we can adjust to what’s going on in our country when we have social unrest, or we have changes in legislation,” said Adams.

Another key lesson Adams has brought forward to these new officers is relying on their resources.

“Back in the day, they didn’t talk about how hard this career field was and what a negative impact it can have on you and your family,” explained Adams.

It’s clear, he succeeded.

“You’re never alone. No matter what’s going on what you’re going through, you always have someone to lean on,” Harding told us.

House Bill 1310 created a change to their classroom setting. They’ve added certain elements and changed the testing process specifically related to reasonable suspicion to probable cause.

That is, when they can, and can not, stop and detain.

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