Education does not stop with the completion of the basic law enforcement academy. Police Officers are re-certified every four years by the completion of forty hours of mandatory retraining. Training topics that are required include Human Diversity, Domestic Violence Investigations and Juvenile Sexual Offender training. The Training Coordinator assigns, schedules and documents all training an officer or member receives whether inside or outside of the department. Training and certification records are audited by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. Work schedule modifications along with the city’s tuition reimbursement program are two ways the department encourages all employees to continue their formal education.
The Stotz-Patterson Training Center is located on the north shore of Lake Idylwild in Winter Haven. This six-acre piece of city owned property was approved during 1998 as a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) training site. With this certification, the department can now host authorized FDLE training courses for department employees and other law enforcement agencies. The Stotz-Patterson Training Center is fully equipped with an outdoor firearms range, Emergency Response Team (ERT) obstacle course and K-9 training course.
The Winter Haven Police Department also contracts with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to utilize training facilities at the Burnham-McCall Training Center. Members utilize the shooting range for rifle and pistol qualifications and also have access to the simulator, obstacle course and other areas vital to law enforcement training.