The South Orange Police Department is committed to the ongoing professional development of its officers to not only be in compliance with various training mandates from the New Jersey Attorney General and Essex County Prosecutor but also to foster and encourage its employees in a work environment where learning and growth are highly valued. SOPD uses a multidisciplinary approach thorough the use of general training provided by supervisory staff, off-site training provided by certified instructors, subject specific videos, reference materials, ongoing discussions during shift briefings, and scenario based exercises when scheduling and service demands permit.
The training a South Orange Police Officer receives during their career is mandated by the county prosecutor, the Attorney General, through various state or federal statutes/rules, and as determined by agency policy or the Chief of Police. The following Training, also known as in-service training, is required for a South Orange Police Officer:
- Semi-annual re-qualification with all agency-issued firearms in accordance with statewide testing standards. This process also includes instruction on and demonstration of competence in strict firearm safety and handling protocols as well as discussion & scenario-based practical exercises.
- Semi-annual training on the laws and policies that govern the use of force and vehicular pursuit, including review of policy and case law updates.
- Annual in-service training of at least four hours on domestic violence law and procedure.
- Annual in-service training on blood borne pathogens, proper use of Personal Protective Equipment, and risk exposure prevention.
- Biennial in-service CPR and automated external defibrillator recertification.
- Annual state-wide training promulgated by the CLEAR Continuing Education Institute (Community Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations). Past courses of instruction completed by South Orange Police officers include: Cultural Diversity and De-escalation, Law Enforcement and the African American Community, Understanding Bias Crimes/Incident Reporting, Sexual Assault Incident Response & Investigation, Law Enforcement Interactions with Transgender Individuals, and Law Enforcement and Jewish Orthodox Religion and Culture. For more information on the CLEAR Institute, please visit: https://nj.gov/oag/safestopnj/le.html
- Annual in-service training on internal affairs policies and procedures
- Annual in-service training on eradicating racial profiling and implicit bias
- Semi-annual in-service active shooter training
- Annual training on procedure for Missing Persons, Amber Alert, and Silver Alert
- Annual training on preventing harassment in the workplace
South Orange Police Officers also receive training and attend courses to keep and maintain certain certifications pertaining to a specialized unit they may be a part of. For example, our traffic officers have attended crash courses which train them to reconstruct complex accident scenes and write detailed crash reports. Various train-the-trainer courses prepare our officers to teach the principles and application of radar, firearms use, and field training recent police academy graduates in SOPD-specific policy & procedures.
South Orange Police Officers may also be assigned to training courses that fit their individual assignments and skill sets. Assignment to such training is dependent on availability, scheduling, and budget. Such courses include but are not limited to: investigator/detective training at a basic level and for specialized subject areas (e.g. financial crimes or fingerprint analysis), search & seizure, case law updates, handling calls for service with people that have special needs or are in emotional crisis. SOPD has also committed to ensure that all newly promoted supervisors attend an extended course of instruction (30-40 hours) to ease the transition and ensure that they are able to effectively meet the challenge of their new roles and responsibilities.
Training also comes in the form of daily briefings known to police officers as “roll call.” During roll call, usually at the start of an officer’s shift, supervisors may update officers on new and amended case law or statutes, policies, procedures, local activity (both criminal and non-criminal), officer safety bulletins, daily work assignments, and other items of professional interest. They provide instruction, answer questions, and receive feedback. Supervisors may also review videos involving police interactions with the public that can be used as an educational tool.
At the South Orange Police Department, officers are given the opportunity and encouraged to attend courses that would aid in their professional development as a South Orange Police Officer.