Two new HPD officers complete MLEA
Before becoming part of the Helena Police Department, officers must complete a 12 week course at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.
With graduation this Friday, the Helena community will soon have two new police officers. But before they join the department, both men had to complete several mental and physical tests. Beartooth NBC's Jill Jagelski takes us behind the scenes as they concur one obstacle, a confrontation simulation course.
Andrew Barton and Bryan Beniger say they've dreamed of becoming police officers their whole life. As they approach their graduation from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, their dreams are about to become reality. There are only a few tests left to complete at the academy, including a confrontation simulation course. As the officers await their turn on the course, tensions are high.
Beniger says, "Well, being down in the basement you kind of hear the banging and rolling around and you just got all sorts of things going through your mind as to what they could be doing. Then you get up there and they start running you through what you will be doing, it's like eh, it doesn't sound that bad and then you get through it, it's a lot of tough work."
As soon as the training officers gave the word, the officers are off, ducking and dodging multiple obstacles. The push-pull is just the tip of the iceberg, Barton says the next series of obstacles isn't any easier.
Barton says, "Trying to continue hitting the punching bag when you are tired after you been doing all the running and everything else that you have to do and then you have them yelling right in your ear, it's just hard to keep going sometimes."
After taking down a fellow officer, wrestling off another, and handcuffing a 3rd, the men are finally done. According Beniger, the heavy breathing, excessive sweating and loud screaming is all worth it.
Beniger says, "Learned a lot about myself, found out what I can truly do when I am tired and look forward to the challenges the rest of my career of doing stuff like this."
As for Barton, he says he is looking forward to serving the Helena community. Both men will graduate from the academy on Friday. From there, they will begin a 16 week field training program.
Story by Jill Jagelski, Beartooth NBC.
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