Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being the rabbit

So today I got to enjoy one of the side benefits of my great (and I do mean great) job by being a passenger in a police cruiser during EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator Course) training.  I was there to see first-hand the stress that the cruisers are put through during the one to two day training.  The maintenance shop was concerned that a set of tires was lasting one day during the training and I needed to see first hand why this was.  I attended the class room portion a couple of weeks ago and today I was at the driving area for the hands-on portion.  I was invited to do the course myself but being too chicken to make a fool by slinging cones in all directions I demurred but did accept a ride in the passenger seat in the 'rabbit' driven by an instructor. 

The rabbit is the car being pursued by the officer undergoing the training and is the culmination (read fun part) of the course.  Before we did the rabbit part, we did the drive backwards as fast as you can and turn 90 degrees part.  The idea on this is that an officer can escape a shooter by driving backwards and then turning into the first street he/she comes to.  We only (only!) got up to 45 mph going backwards before making the turn.  Believe me it was a strange feeling, almost like falling but never hitting the ground.  The instructor liked it so much we did it again!  This was for my benefit only since the officers being trained did it on their own.

Next we were the rabbit for the hound.   We took off through the cone pattern and randomly turned left, right, or straight, weaving through the simulated streets a high enough speed that I had to brace myself hard with my left foot on the firewall and my right knee against the door to stop from ending up in the driver's lap.  We did two sessions, each for about two minutes.  It was a blast but part way through the second session I realized that the old stomach maybe wasn't up to this much yanking and banking and this was going to be my last ride as the assistant rabbit.   It was a hoot to do and the instructor was nonchalant as we seemingly randomly dodged through the various choices in the cone pattern. 

When I got out of the car I saw that yes the tires would probably be worn out by the end of the day.

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