Police officer says he left Metro, took pay cut, to get training - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Police officer says he left Metro, took pay cut, to get training


In nearly six years with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, officer Michael Johanson was never trained to use a speed radar gun or to do a field sobriety test for driving under the influence.

He took a cut in pay and a reduction in rank to join the Garden City Police Department and get that training.

"It's like night and day."

That's how Johanson describes his new job in Garden City. He says he's received more training there in seven months than he did in almost six years as an officer on Savannah's streets.

"I've got no ill will towards Metro," Johanson said.

In fact, he was promoted there, to the rank of advanced police officer, but he still had to call for another officer, one certified in field sobriety testing, if he suspected someone was drunk.

"The backup unit would come, and he would take over the investigation," he said.

The only way Johanson could tell someone was driving too fast was to gauge their speed alongside his patrol car, this despite the fact that the metro police department has an in-house training unit.

"The training unit was great with posting dates and times that training was available, and if the class was full or if it wasn't full."

Johanson said he could never get the chance to go. The reason? Other patrol officers would be on vacation, or out sick, or his precinct would just be short-staffed.

"If you don't have the people on the street, then you can't go to training," Johanson said.

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