For the first time ever, a 32-hour Child Passenger Safety AAA National Certification Course was taught at the FHP Academy September 17-20. Although the Florida Highway Patrol has been an active participant in the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Program for several years, it was just last week that the Patrol held its first CPS Certification Class, taught primarily by troopers for troopers, at the FHP Training Academy in Tallahassee.
Sgt. Merritt, Trooper Miller, Lt. Burroughs
The Patrol is fortunate to have two of its own outstanding instructors - Trooper Kim Miller, who has been teaching CPS courses for years, and Lt. Mike Burroughs, who is new as an instructor, but has been actively involved in child passenger safety training for the last couple of years. Both instructors are nationally certified to teach the 32-hour training anywhere in the United States. In addition, the Patrol was fortunate to have two visiting instructors assist with the four-day training – Sgt. Bill Merritt from the Vermont State Police, a veteran instructor and a member of the National CPS Board, and Ms. Kay Fortinberry, a traffic safety specialist with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando.
The class, comprised primarily of troopers from each of the ten field troops across the state, along with a few local police officers, worked hard in and outside of the classroom. They watched numerous slides, listened to hour-long lectures, viewed videos of real life crashes and seat belt testing, and climbed in and out of vehicles in 90+ degree weather. They also studied each night to learn the technical material from their three-inch thick instructional manuals in order to prepare for the 100-question certification exam. The manual contained everything from federal regulations of car seats to air bag testing to seat belts on buses and airplanes to correct installation methods with a variety of car seat and seat belt scenarios.
At the conclusion of the training, attendees participated in a real-life Child Passenger Safety Check, where they put the skills and knowledge they learned in the classroom to work. This class worked for nearly four hours in a hot parking lot inspecting and installing car seats and answering dozens of questions for the public at the local Toys R Us store in Tallahassee.