More than 600 take part in Mantracker
by Wes Mayer
More than 615 law enforcement officers have gathered in Coweta County this week for the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office’s annual training conference, Mantracker 2014.
“Just about every class we have advertised this year is at or near capacity,” said Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. “This whole seminar is well-received. By the increase, it shows that it is still popular and tells us we need to continue it.”
This is the 21st anniversary of Mantracker, a three-day event that continues to evolve each year, Yeager said. The conference features numerous two-hour courses each day for officers to participate in, giving officers a maximum of 26 hours of training if they attend a class for every possible segment over the three days.
This is beneficial, according to Yeager, because, in Georgia, all officers are required to participate in at least 20 hours of training each year – Coweta County Sheriff’s deputies are actually required to take 40 hours of training.
Most courses are taught at the conference’s main location at the Coweta County Fairgrounds, but there are a number of other courses located around the county, Newnan and Senoia with the help of the Newnan and Senoia Police Departments. The courses include hands-on field training as well as classroom-setting seminars.
Some of the newest courses offered this year are those taught by Walter Marchant, a legal instructor who has taught at the Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Yeager said. For Mantracker 2014, Marchant is instructing four different courses in criminal procedure – establishing legal authority, third party arrest warrants, automobile searches and canine searches. These courses have had the largest turnout and have highlighted the conference, Yeager said.
Officers also train in the field with firearms and tactics at the sheriff’s office’s firing range on Old Corinth Road, and they can participate in an active shooter drill at the old PAPP clinic on Cavender Street in Newnan. Officers may also participate in judgmental shooting using the simulator at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.
Numerous K-9 teams also attend the conference every year, Yeager said, and they usually train non-stop throughout the three days. The teams train in K-9 tracking, detection, searching and patrol all around the fairgrounds, and some instructors have also gathered to teach canine searching with air support and perimeter and containment.
These are only a few of the courses available to officers at the conference. There are also courses involving communications, courtroom procedure, synthetic drugs, sovereign citizens and more. On top of this, there are also daily marksmanship competitions at the firing range, and today, the K-9 teams will hold their patrol dog competition to determine who the “top dog” of the conference is.
The 615 officers who registered at Mantracker this year come from 58 different agencies and nine different areas of law enforcement. These different agencies include 23 police departments, 14 sheriff’s offices, five Georgia state agencies – which include a combination of state probation and parole offices – four Alabama agencies, four federal agencies, three 911 centers, two private probation agencies, two prosecutor’s offices and one county jail.
The conference also features a number of public safety and law enforcement equipment vendors and is sponsored by Buffalo Rock Beverages and Food Services, who helped provide water and soft drinks to the officers in attendance, Yeager said. The conference will end today at 5:30 p.m. with the “Best Cookout Ever,” which is provided by the sheriff’s office and also sponsored by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Yeager said he enjoys the conference so much because of the responses he gets from the officers who attend.
“The thing I get the most is ‘thank you for putting this on,’ or how much it benefits them and how they look forward to it every year,” Yeager said. “They always come back each year and say this training helped me do this, or helped me do that. Then, I think we have accomplished our mission.”