TPSO sponsors street narcotics training

Deputies with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office were among law enforcement officers from around the region to attend a course designed to enhance knowledge of street drugs and the people who use and sell them.

Classes were held on Aug. 26-29 for local law enforcement officials to try and better educate authorities on the issue.

The course was presented by the Mississippi-based Regional Counterdrug Training Academy. It was a 32-hour course and it was specially designed for uniformed patrol officers. The course focused on how officers can better identify violators, recognize drug symptoms and prepare for substance-specific dangers of confronting subjects.

“Armed with the detailed information from this course, uniformed officers can better reach accurate conclusions about drugs a suspect is using, as well as medical conditions drug use has caused,” said Capt. Shane Fletcher, Director of the TPSO Training Academy. “This knowledge better equips officers to identify what drug has been used, or what medical condition may require special assistance due to the drug.”

Col. Terry Daigre, Chief Criminal Deputy and former TPSO Narcotics Division Commander said the course holds value. He said based on his own experience in the field, he knows how such training can be useful.

“We are fortunate to have this academy visit and therefore be more available to our officers who wish to take the course,” Col. Daigre said. “We are also fortunate to have this training space, where we host our general law enforcement academy, as well as the range that is part of it, which is open to the public.”

The course was taught by Gil Van Attenhoven, a retired special agent in charge for the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. He also instructs Department of Defense counterdrug programs, and has done work for the U.S.D.O.J. Bureau of Justice Assistance.