April 01, 2024

Exploring techniques to enhance Criminal Justice Training

students doing stairwork

Learning how to safely and efficiently search a building is an essential part of criminal justice training. Law enforcement officers must be able to quickly and safely navigate through potentially hazardous situations. "Slicing the Pie" and "stair work" are building search strategies that ensure successful searches and maintain officer safety. Both search strategies are taught to Cowley College students during their criminal justice training program.

Slicing the Pie:

Imagine a pie, and when officers “slice the pie,” they break down the area they’re searching into sections, much like cutting slices from a pie. Officers “cut the pie” by systematically clearing each section, and then move on to the next one. By breaking the area down into smaller, more manageable sections, officers can improve situational awareness, reduce blind spots, and react more quickly to potential threats.

Slicing a piece requires precision and coordination from team members. Every section needs to be inspected thoroughly, including behind doorways, under furniture and in hiding places. Officers keep each other informed throughout the process. In addition, proper separation and spacing between team members reduces the risk of friendly fire and crossfire.

Stair Work:

When searching a building, stairs are often bottlenecks and areas of vulnerability. Keeping your eyes open for potential threats is key to safely and effectively navigating stairs. To keep control of stairways, your team members need to make sure they’re spacing correctly, using cover and concealment, and employing tactical positioning.

When you’re going up or down stairs, it’s best to stay in a staggered formation. This way, each member can cover a different angle as they ascend or descend the stairs. Not only does this allow you to support each other, but it also allows you to react quickly to any potential threats. Officers should avoid silhouetting themselves against stairs by using handrails and walls.

Stair work also requires anticipating potential threats from either above or below, so officers should approach each landing or floor transition with caution, using mirrors and surveillance equipment to look for any activity. Stair work also requires clear communication and coordination, so team members should signal their movements and potential hazards as they go.

To sum up, building search techniques such as slicing the pie and stair work are important for anyone in a criminal justice profession to master. By using these techniques, officers can carry out thorough searches while minimizing risks to themselves and others. With extensive training and practice, Cowley College’s student patrol officers improve their ability to navigate complex environments and ensure public safety.

For more information about the Cowley Criminal Justice Program, visit the Program Page or contact instructor, Frank Owens.