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Students get taste of what law enforcement faces
pic CHP-1
From left, Brittany Waller and Mahlynn Liotard, students in the Careers in Law Enforcement class at Lindbergh Educational Center, take part in Wednesday’s traffic stop exercise conducted with the California Highway Patrol in Stockton. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Regional Occupational Program students in Joe Waller’s Careers in Law Enforcement classes received step-by-step instructions on several California Highway Patrol training exercises.

Many learned rather quickly Wednesday that it can be rather difficult trying to process this information while doing the actual field training exercises held in the Lindbergh Education Center parking lot.

“It’s tough and it can be scary,” said Megan Kaplan, who was caught off guard by the element of surprise while approaching a motorist with a disabled vehicle.

CHP officers warn students to expect the unexpected.

“I got ‘shot’ in the back of my neck,” Omar Ornelas said.

In this case, the officer involved in this particular exercise concealed a toy gun ‘weapon’ while being approached by the ROP student.

Ornelas, in the role of the CHP officer, noted that he made the mistake of trying to argue back at the stranded motorist and, thus, was caught off guard when a concealed weapon came into play.

Students also had the task of trying to control a pedestrian with erratic behavior and conducting a seemingly route traffic stop.

“He ran away from me,” said Kaplan while trying to arrest the officer acting like a crazed pedestrian.

 CHP Officer Mark McMahon, who provided instructions to students during the traffic stop, indicated that these exercises are the same as the ones used at the training academy.

In the traffic stop, two students were stationed behind the doors of the CHP vehicle while two others took cover nearby. “You don’t want to be caught in a cross fire,” McMahon said.

Nick Cargio, a student in the Careers in Law Enforcement class, played the role of the suspect. His classmates had the job of trying to get him out of his car and possibly disarm him. Mahlynn Liotard, for one, listening to McMahon’s direction, was instructed to bark out orders to the suspect during the arrest.

“What we’re doing are just the basics,” McMahon said. “At the academy, you would do the same drill over and over.”

Many of the students including Nathan Ippolito and Travis Johnson were thrilled to take part in the hands-on exercise.

“It was fun,” Johnson said. “I would do it again."