Law enforcement officers do their share of adept driving, but even they have to brush up on maneuvers.

That’s why St. Joseph Police Department and Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office are participating in a vehicle recertification course this week at Remington Nature Center.

It’s an important annual practice, said St. Joseph Police Detective Blaine Seymour, who has been an instructor for five years.

“It pays to have hands-on training in certain areas of any job, especially law enforcement. We drive on a daily basis, so it’s important to have refresher courses in those fundamentals,” Seymour said.

The training includes a classroom session and a course with cones where officers practice driving procedures they could need. The course includes an accident-avoidance station where drivers have to avoid obstacles in their path, several spots where they have to use increasingly tight turns and a portion where they have to maneuver around cones in reverse.

One of Seymour’s favorite activities is the accident-avoidance drill. Even though the course’s size limits how fast drivers can go, it ensures they can react quickly and accurately while listening to directions, Seymour said.

There always are skills to improve, even after 20 years or more, Seymour said.

“As with anything, any skill, activity that you do on a regular basis, there always is that fear of complacency, be it mowing the lawn or driving a car as a civilian or as a police officer,” he said. “You want to make sure that you are always getting better and honing your skills.”

Everyone has to take the training. That means Seymour even ends up instructing his superiors at times.

“You get sergeants, you get patrol officers, you get detectives,” he said. “Some, like this year, some deputies that I really don’t work with on a daily basis, so you know, it’s different every year.”

The departments also are working on firearm recertification this week at the police department’s private range.

Alex Simone can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @np_simone.

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