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California Highway Patrol (CHP) courses are only available through the CHP Academy, which provides a 27-week program for cadets interested in law enforcement. These programs combine hands-on training and classwork to provide cadets with practical skills as well as an understanding of criminal behavior and the law. CHP courses prepare students for a variety of responsibilities in highway patrol, including investigating crime scenes and accidents, operating emergency vehicles, handling weapons, communicating with superior officers and interacting with the public. Here are some common concepts covered in CHP courses:
- Military time
- Commanding officers
- Vehicle codes
- Criminal law
- EMR certification
List of CHP Courses
Operating Emergency Vehicles
In this CHP class, students follow lectures to study the dynamics of emergency vehicles and driving techniques. Cadets also gain practical experience driving emergency vehicles. They practice techniques that involve pursuit, skid control and defensive driving to prepare for the wide variety of situations they could encounter as highway patrol officers.
Chain of Command
Through this course, cadets learn to respond politely to their professors, officers and other people they encounter while on law enforcement duty. Like in the military, students are expected to respond to senior officers and staff members with 'sir' or 'ma'am.' They practice typical drill movements, where they must be in the position of attention upon command.
Cadets in this class shoot many different guns, including shotguns, rifles and semi-automatic pistols. They learn the correct way to handle a gun, adhere to safety procedures and engage in target practice in different lighting conditions to mimic night or daytime situations. This CHP class also provides students training in patting down individuals to search for weapons and safely confiscating them. Students study the uses and effects of pepper spray, not necessarily through experiencing it firsthand.
In order to ensure that the cadets are in top physical form, the CHP Academy requires students to pass certain tests of physical fitness; these include tests in running, sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups. Students further build endurance and strength training through weight training programs. They are expected to maintain and increase their levels of endurance.
In this course, cadets gain experience assessing a crime or accident scene to ensure the passengers are relatively unharmed and to determine fault. Students study techniques for investigating the scene, gathering evidence and reporting on it. This CHP class includes both lecture and practical application aspects.
CHP Training Programs
The California Highway Patrol Academy is located in West Sacramento, CA. To qualify for admission to the Academy, applicants must be U.S. citizens between 20-35 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED, have no felony convictions and be in good physical health, with normal hearing and color vision; other criteria also apply. The application and testing process is rigorous, involving an interview, background check, psychological and medical evaluation, physical testing and a written exam. The testing phase can take up to a year to complete before a cadet is admitted to training.
While in training, cadets live on the Academy grounds in dormitories. Cadets receive full pay during the 27 weeks of training. The courses involve more than 1,275 hours of classroom instruction, as well as practical training at the shooting ranges, driving track and gymnasium. After completing the CHP Academy courses, new highway patrol officers complete 55 workdays of field training.