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Apopka Public Safety Academy - Week 3 - K9s and Video Games


Last Thursday's Apopka Public Safety Academy featured K9s and the Fire Arms Training Simulator. Participants also learned about the structure and organization of the Apopka Police Department (APD).

Apopka Police Department K9 Division

apopka police departmentSergeant Bryan Hall is in charge of the APD's three K9 teams. The dogs are all Belgian Malinois and were bred in the Netherlands. Each dog cost $8,000 to $12,000. The dogs and their handlers must all successfully complete a rigorous training program. The dogs and their handlers must also pass annual evaluations.

APD's K9 officers are trained to find drugs as well as to apprehend suspects.

Apopka Police Department Organization

FATS 2Officer Cindy Hall provided the class with an overview of the structure of the Apopka Police Department, from the Patrol Division to the School Resource Officers, and everything in between.

Patrol is the largest unit within the APD with 48 Officers. Patrol is the unit that responds to Calls for Service (primarily 911 calls).

In 2014 APD's Patrol Unit responded to 50,707 Calls for Service.

  • 9,464 calls were 911 hang-ups.
  • 705 Violent Crimes (Murder, Sex Offenses, Robbery, Assault)
  • 4,657 Non-Violent Crimes (Burglary, Larceny, Motor Vehicle, Misc.)
  • 137 Drug Crimes

Patrol is where all new officers start. Patrol officers work 4, 10-hour days with three days off. After two years on patrol an officer can apply to join one of the Specialized Units with sworn officers.

The Specialized Units include:

  • Bike
  • Community Policing
  • Communications Division
  • Crime Scene Evidence (CSE)
  • Criminal Investigations Division (CID)
  • Emergency Response Team
  • K9
  • School Resource Officers
  • Strategic Investigations Units
  • SWAT
  • Traffic

Apopka Police Department FATS

FATS 3Several of the participants went through a Fire Arm Training Simulator (FATS) scenario under the supervision of Captain Randy Fernandez.

FATS is a tool used by APD to train officers in marksmanship and judgement. The simulator uses video game technology to put the officer into a real-life scenario where split-second life or death decisions must be made.

Thursday night's scenario began with a confrontation with a women in the fenced backyard of FATS 1a house. The confrontation took only 8 seconds and there were 3 or 4 moments when the "shoot-don't-shoot" question had to be immediately answered.

The wrong decision could result in unnecessary death or serious injury.

Exposure to FATS left the participants with a much better understanding and appreciation of the pressure officers are put under everyday.




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