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CHP offers glimpse into law enforcement
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CHP officer Gary Soria gives instructions on traffic enforcement stop to students of the Regional Occupational Program. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Students in Joe Waller’s Careers in Law Enforcement classes had a chance Wednesday to apply classroom knowledge using actual exercises of the California Highway Patrol academy.

For the past month, they learned just what it took to become an officer.

“This was a culmination of their training,” said Angel Arceo, who is the public information officer based in Stockton.

He along with CHP veterans Bruce Cochran and Gary Soria provided instructions to students of Manteca Unified’s Regional Occupational Program. Included were the traffic enforcement stop and the more dangerous high-risk stop.

“In each case, officer safety was paramount,” Arceo said.

Cochran, who has 28 years experience with the CHP, enjoys his line of work.

“It’s like any job – there’s the good and the bad. But you do build up some good relationships,” he said.

During the high-risk traffic stop, students quickly discovered the importance of team work while out on the field.

This exercise consisted of two students in the role of officers. They were provided with mock handguns, using the squad car doors as a shield while delivering precise instructions to the suspects of a drive-by shooting – according to this particular scenario provided by CHP – in the other car.

“You get a little excited (barking out instructions). But it’s still fun,” said Sierra High senior Michael Duenes.

Arceo indicated that it was a thrill working with these students, especially during the two CHP exercises held in the Lindbergh School parking lot.
 “These kids are interested in law enforcement,” he said.

Kevin Telles, an East Union High senior, is among those interested in becoming a police officer. “I know that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.

Although he wasn’t fond of it, Telles had a chance to play a suspect in the high-risk traffic stop exercise. He had to obey the command of the officer.

“(As officers) you don’t shoot to maim in this situation. You shoot to kill,” Cochran said.

He guided students through the training.

“Don’t let (the suspect) take control of the situation – you’re the one in control,” added Cochran.

Soria, meanwhile, worked with students on the traffic enforcement stop.

Asking a driver for license, vehicle registration and even proof of insurance are part of the regular procedure, but officers are quick to point out there’s nothing routine in any traffic stop.

Officer safety is still No. 1, Arceo said.