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January 11, 2013

Spotlight

Wisconsin State Patrol Academy

(Editor’s note: “SPOTLIGHT” is a continuing series about tenant activities and missions at Fort McCoy.)

What is it?
The Wisconsin State Patrol Academy (WSPA) provides comprehensive training, with an emphasis on highway safety, for experienced State Patrol officers as well as new recruits who become troopers or inspectors. Other local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies also participate in training courses conducted at the academy.
PHOTO: Inspector Tom Tweedy demonstrates how to inspect working equipment on tractor-trailers. Photo by Theresa Fitzgerald
Inspector Tom Tweedy demonstrates how to inspect working equipment on tractor-trailers during a Truck Law Enforcement class at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy at Fort McCoy. The class teaches State Patrol and county municipal officers commercial vehicle regulations and how to spot violations.
(Photo by Theresa Fitzgerald)

The academy, a division of the State Patrol, falls under the Wisconsin Department of Transportation located in Madison, Wis., and employs 11 full-time personnel. The State Patrol was established Sept. 1, 1939, with the creation of the Motor Vehicle Department, which included an enforcement division to execute traffic laws and regulate commercial motor carriers.

First establishing its presence at Fort McCoy in 1955, the WSPA is the longest-serving tenant activity on the installation.

Situated on 50 acres, the WSPA’s facility contains administrative offices, six classrooms, a food-service and dining area, an 80-room dormitory, an indoor firing range, a multi-purpose room, and a conference/meeting room. Adjacent to the academy is the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC). The EVOC occupies 33 of the academy’s 50 acres and is used for vehicle training courses such as First Responder Practical Scenarios, Traffic Direction, Pursuit Operations, and Vehicle Contacts.

The WSPA customers are state, federal, city and county officers, Department of Motor Vehicle dispatchers, and Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission personnel.

What have they done?
In 2011 the State Patrol began training new recruits to join its ranks for the first time since 2008. After 23 weeks of training at the academy, 32 cadets in the 58th Recruit Class graduated in March 2012. The new troopers or inspectors were needed to fill vacancies within the State Patrol.

The number of students trained at the WSPA during fiscal year (FY) 11 was 4,992, and 5,150 students were trained during FY 12. Approximately 150 training programs and conferences are conducted every year at the facility. The staff facilitates and assists other law-enforcement agencies conducting training at the academy.

Every weekend during the summer months, the EVOC is used by A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE) of Wisconsin to teach the Safe Rider Course to new motorcyclists. Military units training on Fort McCoy also use the EVOC for driver training.

The academy has participated in installation events, including the annual Armed Forces Day Open House and Safety Day, by providing demonstrations and displays such as the Transportable High-End Rider Education Facility.

What do they have planned?
The academy plans to broaden training for other agencies, such as the DOJ, DNR and FBI.

In particular, detectives and inspectors train the DOJ to conduct criminal investigations dealing with murders, robberies and drugs.

The days of only offering basic recruit courses are gone; the diversity of training has grown to include courses such as Basic Crash Investigation Course, Technical Crash Investigation I Course, and Police Firearms Instructor to name a few. If the state budget allows, the academy plans to conduct another recruit class in 2013.

Why are they important?
The WSPA staff and faculty present a variety of formal training programs to all law-enforcement agencies throughout the year, ranging in scope from basic to in-service to specialized training in technical subjects.

The education and training conducted at the academy provides troopers and inspectors with the skills needed to keep Wisconsin highways safe.

Resources:
For more information about the WSPA, call 608-269-2500. Information also is available at the website www.dot.wisconsin.gov/statepatrol/recruitment/academy.htm.

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