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Letter: Suffolk police train for stress

Suffolk County police patrol car sit in front

Suffolk County police patrol car sit in front of Empire National Bank at 1044 William Floyd Parkway where a male produced a note and robbed the bank around 10:50 a.m., April 13, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

In response to the letter "Training can prepare police for danger" [April 24], the Suffolk County Police Department agrees with many of the points of the writer, who is a retired clinical psychologist. He talks about the importance of officers not overreacting and for them to maintain control of themselves in stressful and confrontational situations. One of the methods the writer recommends is role-playing.

As a matter of fact, scripted role-playing is used extensively at the Suffolk County Police Academy. It is used in training both recruits and active officers.

Role-playing has been proven to be an effective method of training officers on how to behave professionally and objectively in high-stress situations. Performing newly acquired skills under lifelike training allows officers to become more confident and effective when they use the action or related actions on the job.

During their training, officers learn to de-escalate situations while maintaining control of their emotions. More time is spent at the academy teaching officers to be in control of their deportment, conduct and thinking than on weapons training.

Development of self-confidence through positive experiences in training can assist with controlling a stress-related elevated heart rate, improving both decision-making and performance.

Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon, Yaphank

Editor's note: The writer is the former commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Academy.