A total of 46 Constables participated in the Continuing Education Program, which is mandated by the state every four years. In addition to providing legislative updates and information on new rules and forms from Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), several of the sessions focused on officer health and safety issues.
Erwin Ballarta, Executive Director of the Texas Police Association, provided a lively, hands-on training on simple techniques that can be used to keep deputies safe in the field. Ballarta demonstrated arrest and control tactics to help deputies get out of bad situations, such as being confronted with a gun or knife. Ballarta also presented handcuffing techniques that provide better control over offenders.
“Many of the leadership sessions focused on safety and security, which goes along with the duties of being a peace officer,” said Rebecca Bowden, program coordinator for Constable programs. “He taught them how to take control and gain leverage.”
The Constables also were provided lessons in stress management, learning how to deal with issues on the job and at home. The session was led by Marx Howell, a 32-year veteran of the Texas State Police.
The program also included a session on leadership and presentations on interoffice strategic planning to encourage Constables to plan ahead for the next two to five years. That includes walking the halls of the courthouse and getting to know officials in the county and the communities as well as planning for emergencies that come up in their departments and the community. Constables also were provided information on how to deal with the press and to use social media to enhance the office.
Continuing Education for Constables is held three times a year in March, July and December and a course for new Constables is presented annually. LEMIT also offers a Constable Leadership Command College, a three-week program for current or up-and-coming leaders in Constables’ offices, which is modeled after LEMIT’s Leadership Command College for command staff in police departments, sheriff’s offices and school and campus police.
For more information about Constable programs, visit http://www.lemitonline.org/programs/tcp/ or call Rebecca Bowden at (936) 294-4756.