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BLUFFDALE — For the next four days, officers with the Orem Department of Public Safety will be using a track near Camp Williams to learn the kinds of hazardous driving skills they hope they'll never have to do for real.
Orem Police Sgt. Shane Fredrickson has been perfecting his driving skills for the past 18 years.
“There’s a lot of pressure on you,” Fredrickson said. “There’s a danger factor.”
Training sessions like the one he attended Wednesday will help him and his fellow officers learn how to successfully carry out dangerous moves and — more importantly — learn what not to do.
“Well, it’s the only way to prepare,” Fredrickson said. “The world hands us chaos. We need to train, and we need to make it as realistic as possible.”
The officers even put KSL-TV photographer Marc Weaver and me in the car, showing us what it's like to be spun around by a precision immobilization technique maneuver. It’s when a patrol car purposely bumps the back corner of a fleeing vehicle, causing it to spin sideways and stop.
“Statistically, more officers are killed in the line of duty in accidents than are by handguns every year,” said Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez.
And the officers never know when the skills they learn here will be called upon in real-life situations.
“We have to make split-second decisions,” Fredrickson said. “It’s not easy.”