The National Academy for Police Driving (NAPD) was founded in 1976 to improve police driving skills and lower accident rates.
The idea began when a veteran law enforcement official, C. R. Headen, inquired of Richard H. Turner, a professional race car driver, if he could develop a driver training class that could help keep his cops from wrecking cars! The result was a unique training course forged with Turner's vast driving knowledge and expertise combined with a peace officer's commitment to public safety. The later addition of Robert F. Earhart (former President of the National Motor Club) completed the founding trifecta. Earhart's wealth of business acumen and private sector experience proved invaluable to the success of NAPD.
This new type of training utilizing a low speed, high stress methodology also set a new standard in the industry. No longer was it necessary to train at high speeds with increased risks to personnel and automobiles. Plus, this training could be performed on large parking lots and other paved areas readily available in most communities.
Low speed/high stress training proved to be extremely successful. Many departments saw immediate reductions in vehicle collisions. Documented results showed accidents reduced by as much as thirty, forty, and even fifty per cent with the NAPD program. This type of success also gained the attention of the news media. NAPD was featured on CBS Sixty Minutes, as well as other national and local news broadcasts over the years.
In the beginning, NAPD training was only offered as a student level course. Later it was developed into an instructor level program. Thus the NAPD course was brought into reach of virtually any size law enforcement agency seeking a professional driver training program.
As word spread, demand for NAPD training increased beyond law enforcement circles. Specialized courses were developed to meet the needs of Fire, EMS and public works drivers. In 1982 the name was changed from National Academy for Police Driving to National Academy for Professional Driving. The name change retained the familiar NAPD initials while encompassing many new areas of driver training instruction.
NAPD returned to its roots in 2009 to once again focus exclusively on law enforcement driver training. The Fire/EMS/Public Works training division became a separate entity called International Academy for Professional Driving or IAPD. Whereas there will always be a professional kinship between NAPD and IAPD, they are separately owned and operated companies.
Today, with thousands of drivers having attended NAPD classes across the United States and beyond, NAPD remains the standard of excellence for law enforcement driver training.