The Professional Standards Unit maintains training records and ensures that officers receive the proper amount and type of training each year. Paducah Police officers receive an average of more than 9000 training hours per year. In-house training includes the annual firearms training, de-escalation tactics, precision driving, defensive tactics training, CPR/first aid, Taser, active shooter response, leadership, officer wellness, use of Narcan,and others. Officers also attended their 40-hour state peace officer certification courses in a variety of disciplines.
To maintain a high level of training but to minimize the effect on the budget, the department has implemented more in-house training plans in addition to increasing the number of train-the-trainer type classes where a couple of officers are sent to attend instructor-level courses with the expectation that they come back and administer training to the rest of the workforce.
The Paducah Police Department's instructors are efficient in several areas including firearms, defensive driving tactics, Taser, pepperball, chemical munitions, defensive tactics, CPR, mobile field force, and baton use. Each instructor is certified and proficient in the discipline they teach. Other areas of training include civil rights training and the technique called Verbal JudoTM, a course in tactical communications designed to help officers persuade confrontational people into compliance without having to resort to physical force.
Training Officer Chris Fearon is responsible for organizing and scheduling all training for sworn and civilian employees. The Training Officer is also the Chief Firearms Instructor and is certified in several other areas of training. In the capacity as the Chief Firearms Instructor, the Training Officer oversees all firearms training, weapons, ammo, and upgrades for the department, and is the point of contact for new recruits and remains their liaison officer until they graduate from the academy.
The Paducah Police Department is one of only a few departments in the State of Kentucky that conducts regular driver's training usually each spring. The department has been conducting the training since 2003. Driver's training is extremely important since according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, of the 162 law enforcement line-of-duty deaths in 2010, 73 were traffic-related fatalities.
The training includes elements of precision driving, emergency response, and pursuit driving including the use of Stop SticksTM. The class addresses vehicle control, accident avoidance, skid prevention, recovery, and decision-making.
The Paducah Police Department has a restrictive pursuit policy which allows officers to pursue only the most dangerous suspects where the need to apprehend them clearly outweighs the risk to the officer and the public.
Driver's training also is linked to the Below 100 training program which has the goal of reducing the national number of officer line-of-duty deaths to fewer than 100, a number that hasn't been seen since 1943. This Paducah View episode explains the Below 100 program.
The Paducah Police Department utilizes the skills of its officers and management staff as certified trainers. Below is a list of the department's current instructors.