Three Western police officers complete Police Law Institute

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University police officers Cheng Her, Jeremy Smith and Matthew Rathbone recently completed the North Carolina Justice Academy’s Police Law Institute.

The two-week course prepares law enforcement officers and investigators to conduct enforcement activities associated with search warrants, warrantless searches, interviews, eyewitness identifications and nontestimonial identification orders, and to avoid liability while conducting such activities.

The officers learned to draft valid search warrants, decide when non-lethal and deadly force should lawfully be used and determine when emergency vehicle operation is appropriate.

“As a university law enforcement agency, we have many training opportunities for our employees through the community college system, the North Carolina Justice Academy, in-house programs offered by the Office of Human Resources at Western, and seminars conducted by various groups on campus,” said Gene McAbee, director of University Police. “We try to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as possible and assure that every employee has the tools needed to improve their performance and our overall service to the community.”

Sending officers to courses such as the Police Law Institute is part of the WCU Police Department’s emphasis on annual in-service training, McAbee said. “Our officers attend training dealing with legal issues, diversity and firearms proficiency, which is above and beyond the basic training required of sworn officers,” he said.

The training also earns officers credit toward their intermediate and advanced training certificates from the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Commission.