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CRESTVIEW — There was some high-speed driving in Niceville recently and a bunch of extraordinary Crestview motorists was responsible for it.

Crestview Police Department officers, investigators and some command and administrative staff had some tricky curves to negotiate, a tight intersection to get through and out of again, and an obstacle course that was great fun—until it had to be driven in reverse.

Crestview officers line up for vehicle certification

While for many the annual Basic Vehicle Operations certification testing was like field day, it also had a serious side. When those professionals are issued a city-funded vehicle, the city's taxpayers expect the drivers to be proficient in its use.

On May 16 and 18, most CPD officers reported in the morning to the Northwest Florida State College driving pad on the Niceville campus's west side. There, they underwent a series of proficiency tests in their respective city-issued vehicles. The course will be repeated June 10 for officers who missed the May tests.

Beginning with a serpentine course that had to be driven twice forward and twice in reverse, they moved on to a speed and lane change course. That test had to be taken four times. Next, there was a figure-8 course that demanded their attention. Then came a four-way intersection in which officers had to pull in, reverse into a side "street," pull forward, reverse out, and continue around the four lanes.

Serpentine and high-speed testing

And that was just the beginning.

High-speed pursuit, including changing direction on a wet course, followed. With their sirens blaring and light bars ablaze, each officer pursued a car simulating a bad guy attempting to escape.

The annual certification is part of the Police Department's monthly testing program, in which each officer updates his or her proficiency in various policing techniques and procedures in courses that can involve classroom instruction, physical training or a combination of both.