Training key in prisoner transport safety -

Training key in prisoner transport safety

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Following Friday's shooting at a Camden County police station, local officials say they are taking a closer look at how prisoners are processed and transported.

Dozens of prisoners pass through the halls of the Atlantic County Superior Courthouse on any given day, and transporting them can be a dangerous job.

"All it takes is that one second to let your guard down and somebody could then take advantage of you," says Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles.

After three Camden County Police officers were shot Friday while processing a prisoner, local officials say the incident highlights why constant training and conditioning is important.

"You can be in a fight for 30 seconds and it seems like hours. You have to maintain good physical strength and good mental strength throughout your entire career," said Balles.

Anywhere from 60 to 80 prisoners are processed at the Atlantic County Superior Courthouse on a daily basis. Though officers feel a general sense of safety, Sheriff Frank Balles says that they can never have enough training.

"When you're dealing with someone in custody, their goal is to always get out of custody, so you always have to be tactically sound and you have to make sure that they're not escaping from you."

Balles says that officers are regularly put through training exercises to prevent and react to an incident like the one in Gloucester Township.  He also says it is important to use events like this as a learning experience.

"Every time there is an incident, you always try to debrief the incident, get as much information as you can, especially on the law enforcement side, and to find out what the fatal flaws were."

Balles adds that it helps officers everywhere prevent something similar from happening, keeping them and others safe.

"Hopefully what arises out of this is additional training to make sure an incident like this won't happen in another police department."

Balles says new defense training techniques are added regularly at Police Academies throughout the state.


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