Defensive Driving: The Tactical and Emergency Vehicle Operations Center (TEVOC)
An FBI agent is driving down a lonely stretch of road when suddenly a car comes out of nowhere and slams into the agent’s side door. The agent accelerates, but the other car catches up. Then, the driver of the other car rolls down his window, pulls out a gun, and fires at the agent. Tires squeal…
Yes, it’s really happening—just not in a Hollywood movie or on the streets of America. This scenario is taking place at Quantico, Virginia at our Tactical and Emergency Vehicle Operations Center, or TEVOC. The bullets are actually paint balls, and the car chasing our agent is driven by an FBI instructor.
TEVOC teaches agents, appropriate professional support employees, and Bureau partners, including DEA and other government and military personnel, how to drive safely and effectively—both to track and catch criminals and terrorists and avoid getting harmed by them. The training prepares drivers to handle an array of dangerous situations, from maneuvering out of a common rear-end spinout to more dangerous techniques such as how to ram a threatening vehicle. Our instructors use real-life situation exercises that give drivers only seconds to recognize danger and react accordingly. TEVOC continually works to improve and update its programs—the latest initiative involves off-road situations and techniques.
It includes a high-speed 1.1-mile oval road track; a precision obstacle course to teach such skills as evasive lane changes, backing up, and emergency breaking; and a skid pan or pad where students learn counter-steering techniques. Originally designed to improve the skills of our surveillance personnel, the TEVOC program was relocated from New York to Quantico in 1994.
Specific training for specific needs
A range of FBI and government personnel sent overseas—including Bureau executives, Legal Attachés, members of protective details, and others in key positions—receive more intensive training at TEVOC. It includes advanced counter-terrorism techniques such as attack recognition and avoidance. In addition, program managers from TEVOC and Law Enforcement Training for Safety and Survival (LETSS) created a new curriculum that integrates survival training and driving techniques for Joint Terrorism Task Forces and specialty Bureau teams.
Safety is paramount
TEVOC instructors constantly remind students of safety measures. The program teaches that there are no accidents, just crashes. It puts full responsibility in the hands of the driver and emphasizes that it is every driver’s duty to be aware of themselves and others while on the road.