Florence police host highway interdiction training - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence police host highway interdiction training

Officers listen in as Dark Horse Law Enforcement Training conducts drills. (Source: Audrey Biesk) Officers listen in as Dark Horse Law Enforcement Training conducts drills. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - For the first time, officers from all over spent two days at the National Guard Recruiting Office to take part in specialized training in highway interdiction.

The Florence Police Department was the hosting agency to emphasize safety and provide vital information for officers to conduct the best roadside traffic stops and interviews.

A total of 13 difference agencies from South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee went through simulations and hands-on drills.

Dark Horse Law Enforcement Training goes around the country training officers in highway interdiction and to know what to look for and when to conduct criminal searches out on the road.

The officers learn about the physiology of nervousness criminals show, and how to keep themselves safe when approaching vehicles, interviewing techniques, removing a criminal from a car and searching.

“This is a way these officers can locate not only drugs and money and interrupt that flow of currency to drug dealers and terrorist organizations and drug trafficking organizations, but also it’s going to keep them safe on the roadways because they are going to be able to determine whether or not a subject is involved in, say, running guns," said Russell Hittle, the co-owner of Dark House Law Enforcement Training said.

Dark Horse Law Enforcement Training also teaches officers how to stop identify theft, cloned credit cards, terrorist interception and interdiction, explosive devices, human trafficking, money laundering and narcotics interdiction.

“Criminals behave the same. They may be involved in different things, but they all portray the same nervousness, inconsistent stories when they are trying to explain to us where they are going and what they are involved in, said Hittle.

Toby Bellamy one of the Dark Horse Enforcement training instructors, went through training on passenger-side approach when conducting a traffic stop.

“We come up to the car, do the little old thumb print, fingerprint, and we come to the side of the car about right here and go to talk to the driver and we’re dead," he said.

It only takes one second. A suspected criminal could pull out a gun right as an officer approaches a car, so Bellamy taught the officers to instead go to the passenger side of the car to see any sort of movement and more inside.

“When I come to the passenger side, I see the gun right here. I can see the screwdriver sticking out of his pocket, I see the ignition in the car," he said. "That way, I can identify if the car actually has the keys in it or is hot wired or something."

Officers are also taught these searches must be thorough and systematic and encourage two or more officers to be present at one time.

"These officers are going to learn where to look, they are going to learn how to decipher deception and go ahead with their search,” Hittle said.

The Florence Police Department said their goal is to continue to facilitate training like this even more for its own officers and others from surrounding agencies.

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