Law Enforcement course instructor Rick Searcy was named the 2013 Instructor of the Year at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), Feb. 6.
“There are a lot of good instructors here, so I was surprised to be chosen,” said Searcy. “If you look around at some of the instructors here, you pride yourself on the people you work with and we have some of the best in the country.”
Selection for Instructor of the Year employs very strict criteria and includes a rigorous process that involves participation from Course Management, Facility Management, Staff and Instructor Peers.
Searcy, Leidos-CDP instructor, was also selected as Instructor of the Quarter for first quarter 2013.
“A recipient of the Instructor of the Year award is not only an excellent teacher, but one who is considered a well-rounded employee that is dependable, flexible with change, professionally credible, versatile with skills and involved with our Training Program as a whole,” said Stephanie McLendon, professional standards manager (the Leidos-CDP department that coordinates the awards program).
Of the seven law enforcement courses offered at the CDP, Searcy instructs five.
“He instructs not only the law enforcement classes but numerous other classes for all of the other entities at the CDP,” said Gary Pippin, senior subject matter expert for law enforcement courses and Searcy’s supervisor. “He is such a diverse guy that he can teach it all.”
With 11 years of experience teaching at the CDP, Searcy has proven to be an essential instructor for multiple classes.
“I know a little bit about a lot of stuff,” said Searcy. “I am a good substitute when they don’t have the A-team in.”
Searcy is able to assist in instructing eight different courses in other disciplines. His favorite non-assigned course to teach is Standardized Awareness Authorized Training Program (SAT).
“They (SAT students) do not have the experience yet,” said Searcy. “They are unlike anyone we teach as they are still in training to be nurses and haven’t seen some of the hazards that we train for. Once they leave, they are ready for what’s thrown at them.”
Searcy began his professional career as a reserve deputy for the Cleburne County (Ala.) Sheriff's Department in 1984. He served his last eight years as the chief deputy. In March 2003, Searcy started his career as a CDP instructor.
“I love teaching,” said Searcy. “There’s nothing like it. You’re not really teaching. You are just working with the classes. It is an exchange of information.”
Searcy’s career in law enforcement was essential in his ability to communicate and engage with students.
“His knowledge of all the courses, his preparation for all of the modules that he teaches and his extensive background in law enforcement made him eminently qualified to teach,” said Pippin.
Becoming a good instructor starts with analyzing how best to structure and organize the curriculum, said Pippin . Searcy pulled from his years of experience in law enforcement training to create a classroom setting he thought would benefit the students.
“I try to look at it the way I like classes,” said Searcy. “If it is long, boring, monotonous, I do not get anything out of it.”
Searcy also learned to be a better instructor from the course critiques offered by students. The assessments would come back with descriptors about Searcy like “entertaining and informative.” Searcy would use those comments to improve.
“If they are entertained and watching you, they are going to learn something,” said Searcy. “I keep them guessing, keep them entertained, so they are bound to learn something.”
It is Searcy’s humor that helps him engage with his audience, according to Pippin. Searcy brings his dedication, knowledge and – most of all -- humor to the classroom.
Despite joking with classes, Searcy is very serious about his mission as a course instructor. The training he facilitates is vital for the safety of the students.
“If they only learn one thing that helps them recognize a danger that they normally wouldn’t have and could potentially save their lives, I’d be happy,” said Searcy.
Outside of the CDP, Searcy is often hunting, fishing or gardening. Most of his time is spent with his 4-year-old grandson.