Very brief Academy experience.
The title says it all, I got hired. The next step once being hired as an officer IS, yes you guessed it ACADEMY. I will start by saying this, there is no way to really prepare yourself for this experience. I’ve been there, searching the web for ways to get a step up and be prepared. But I promise there is no way to actually be ready for this. Hopefully reading my police academy experience will at least give you an idea of what its like.
Which actually for our academy, is called Day ZERO. I had no idea what I had actually gotten myself into. As I entered the grounds of the academy I noticed that there were several officers standing in the parking lot. As I exited my vehicle I could feel the whole vibe of the area around me change, it was tense. I was introduced to my instructors and fellow recruits by a short “smoke session”. Which is just a mix of cardio and other workouts involving team building. This was before we even entered the building. Once we got inside, we were taught the basics of standing at attention, left face, right face and about face.
The day continued with being issued our equipment (duty belt and attachments) and being measured for our vests. Although this was not a time to relax. We were still being ordered to do various workouts and cardio while gathering our equipment. It wasn’t until after I graduated, that I learned that the intent of Day ZERO was to get at least one person to quit.
As my fellow recruits and I proceeded through the 6 month academy we began to realize that apart from the academics and training, the experience was just all a mental game and it was definitely straining. At this point all of us were still on edge and found it difficult to find time to relax. Which is by design of course. When an instructor would walk the halls, all recruits would have to “wall” which means we actually yell, “WALL” and get up against it at attention until we were told “at ease”. This took me some time to realize the point, eventually it came extremely obvious that instructors were training us to keep our heads on a swivel, without us even knowing.
In my experience, being pepper sprayed is the absolute worst part of the academy. I’ve heard that some people are not effected by the spray, but let me tell you, I am. Being pepper sprayed is to date the worst pain I have ever experienced. Not only does it obviously burn, but it took my breath away.
20 Hour Day.
This is the end. It is a whole 20 hours of scenarios, cardio and mental/psychical exhaustion. At the final scenario you must complete an obstacle course and apply your defensive tactics to subdue a “suspect” who is an instructor dressed in a “Red Man” suit. At the end of this tedious day we were ordered into formation, it was at that point the instructors advised us that we had done it, academy was completed and we would be meeting our FTOs in the next coming days and hitting the streets. As myself and fellow recruits yelled our motto for the last time “maintain the chain” we could not help but break into tears of celebration.
I knew that academy was over, but I also knew that from that point forward there were no longer going to be “Red Men” and that it was going to be real life. There was no more yelling “Blue” when we needed to stop a scenario or defensive tactics training. From now on it was life or death.
After 20 hour day we had our pinning the following Monday morning at the academy. I went to sleep that Sunday night proud and excited I begin my journey, so proud and excited I did not set an alarm. I slept in Monday morning until 0900, and was supposed to be at the academy at 0730. Sleeping in on the most important day of life to that date was not the best way to start my official title as a police officer.