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Posted on January 3, 2013

Using situations drawn from real life, about three dozen police officers will sharpen their skills at training exercises planned for Jan. 8-11 in Helsel Hall.

The California University Police Department, in conjunction with the Washington County Chiefs of Police, will host two training sessions — Jan. 8-9 for officers from PASSHE universities, and Jan. 10-11 for other law enforcement officers.

Each two-day training module includes:

  • Model city scenarios that use tabletop models to visualize the incident command system. ICS is used nationwide for command, control and coordination of emergency response operations.
  • Active shooter response exercises using nonlethal, air-powered replica weapons.

Both training sessions will be taught by Lt. John Sakoian of Command Excellence LLC, a graduate of the FBI National Academy’s 163rd session. A 40-year law enforcement veteran who currently serves with the Upper St. Clair Police Department, Sakoian has trained more than 700 officers throughout western Pennsylvania.

“This training wasn’t organized in response to any particular incident,” said Robert Downey Jr., chief of the Cal U Police Department, “but events such as the Sandy Hook school shooting remind us that these skills are critical for any public safety officer.”

For more information, e-mail Chief Downey or phone 724-938-4299.

About the instructor

John Sakoian earned police instructor certification through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga., and Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s instructor development programs. He is certified by Pennsylvania’s Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) as a “general instructor” and “special instructor” in physical conditioning and emergency vehicle operations.  

Also an instructor in rapid deployment and less lethal force and chemical munitions, Sakoian is a graduate of police courses in taught by the International Association of Chief’s of Police, National Tactical Officers Association, FBI, BOMAC and U.S. Navy Seal Team 6. He is a 23-year member of the Upper St. Clair Police Department’s tactical team and the team’s current commander.