"We don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training." - Archilochus
Our nation has again experienced tragedy after multiple recent mass casualty shooting events in Buffalo, NY, Laguna Woods, CA and Uvalde, TX. As a community, we have learned about the value of training and preparedness after our own experiences at The Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Training is necessary for any profession but critical for first responders. Their safety and the lives of those they have sworn to protect depend on it.
I can tell you from experience no matter how mentally and physically prepared someone is, amid the emotion, adrenaline and urgency of the moment, the importance of training becomes immediately apparent. With more training comes increased discipline, readiness and clarity of purpose. Speed, efficiency and accuracy are improved when we repeat actions and rehearse scenarios. You can equip people with the best tools, but they also need the knowledge and ability to use them effectively.
Today, our in-house training programs are second to none. Since accepting command of the organization, the Broward Sheriff's Office has become the first agency in Florida to have a nationally certified active shooter training unit. We continually rotate our deputies through critical incident and crisis mitigation exercises to ensure they are ready for any incident. BSO's Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services continues to raise the bar by introducing specialized training tactics and skills to enhance performance. One such skill includes the ability to draft, which involves gathering water from a static source should a fire hydrant not be available.
We have also prioritized Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for all deputies to engage more effectively with individuals experiencing a crisis or mental health issue. Currently, more than 60 percent of our Department of Law Enforcement deputies are CIT trained, which is more than double the national average, as well as 40 percent of our Department of Detention deputies. Additionally, 74 percent of all BSO employees, and 96 percent of all deputies, have completed the Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement course (RITE), which reinforces a bias-free workplace and teaches racial and cultural sensitivity and de-escalation techniques.
Tactical performance, readiness and professional development training are instrumental to preparedness in public safety and are offered at every level of our agency. We have established partnerships with top organizations and educational institutions to provide enhanced training for our sworn personnel and executive development for our command staff, managers and directors. Our comprehensive training approach has made BSO a flagship training organization and has attracted public safety professionals locally and nationally.
Our progress will continue. The construction of our state-of-the-art training center is hitting a fevered pace. Once completed, the 103,000-square-foot facility will house all our training initiatives under one roof and usher in a new and exciting era at BSO.
If you want to learn more about BSO and how we serve the community, we invite you to be a part of our Citizens Academy. The 10-week program combines classroom learning and hands-on exercises to experience everything our organization does to serve this community. Click here to learn more or visit www.sheriff.org.
Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony