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Inside scoop on law enforcement pursuits
By RACHEL BRANT
Danielle Gates grinned from ear to ear as the police car careened through orange cones Tuesday at Bremerton Raceway.
The Klahowya Secondary School senior attended the West Sound Regional Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) earlier this week and got an up-close look at the fast-paced world of law enforcement.
Gates is working on her culminating project which centers around law enforcement. Gates career choices teacher, Karin Jones, put her in contact with Deputy Scott Wilson, Kitsap County Sheriffs Office spokesman, and the pair began meeting weekly to discuss the duties of law enforcement.
Ive been meeting with Scott Wilson every Wednesday for the past three weeks to go over the basics, Gates said.
Gates has wanted to be a police officer since she was 9 years old. The Klahowya senior grew up in a rough neighborhood near Camp Union and her mother is currently in rehabilitation battling a drug addiction.
Because of where I lived, there were cops everywhere and they helped me through it, she said. I want to be able to help people like they helped me.
Wilson has taught Gates about the various aspects of law enforcement and took her on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kitsap County Jail.
That was fun, Gates said with a smile. I got an in-depth tour.
Wilson took Klahowya graduate Michelle Persall to EVOC last fall and says he enjoys teaching young people the ins and outs of law enforcement.
Its part of our tradition to bring along those who are going to one day fill our shoes, he said.
Wilson also said the media tends to show the action-packed side of law enforcement, but Gates got the inside scoop on the day-to-day activities police officers and deputies must complete while on the job.
While TV programs show the action side of stuff, its not always like that, Wilson said.
Gates immensely enjoyed her experience at EVOC. She rode shotgun during the high speed pursuit, slow speed skills course and mock pursuit training exercises.
Its exactly what I expected plus more, she said.
Gates favorite EVOC activity was the pursuit immobilization technique, or PIT. PIT is a rare tactic used to stop a pursuit in which a police officer bumps and spins the suspect vehicle, forcibly ending the chase. Police officers must be certified to perform PIT maneuvers.
That was awesome, Gates said after spinning 360 degrees in a police car.
Gates and Wilson will meet a couple more times before she pieces together her culminating project. She will make a 10-minute presentation to her career choices class in January.
Most people dont know how much police officers go through, Gates said.
Gates has thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Kitsap County Sheriffs Office and law enforcement. She said she has learned a lot and even had a little bit of fun along the way.
The most interesting had to be the jail tour, but the most fun has to be this (EVOC), she said.