Saturday, December 25, 2010

Never forget, Merry Christmas

Remember, this Christmas, while you are eating your dinners and laughing, that in another house there is an empty chair where a hero should be sitting. They gave their lives so we can be with family and we can celebrate our holidays. So, light a candle this Christmas for our fallen heroes that did not make it home from war or their day on the job.

Semper Fi, and Merry Christmas to all.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

The longest 8 months EVER!

So, like I mentioned last post its been a brutally long eight months. That's right, eight tortuous months since I suited up and marched into the police recruitment office and began my journey towards becoming a police officer. It's really been 9 months since I started gathering all of the necessary documents (driving records, copies of past tickets, finding 10th legitimate references, etc...) but 8 months since I officially had a file with the department. The problem is that they waited 4 months between my initial interview and my fitness test and polygraph. Then another month until my background check then another two months until my final interview and my medical/psych evaluations. Then it took another month to get all of my medical stuff worked out (we'll get to that in a little while...).

All the while, the start date of the academy gets closer and closer, and the spots get fewer and fewer... joining the Marine Corps wasn't even as strenuous or difficult as joining the police department has been. That only took me 2 months (and that was long, once again because of medical stuff).

About the testing... I haven't exactly made it a top priority to stay in tip top shape since I got off active duty, I go for runs every once in a while, and go to the gym when I'm in the mood which is still better than a lot of people but not as much as I need. So I started running and lifting again and finished my fitness test doing 36 (really 45, but apparently my counter couldn't count as well as do a decent number of sit UPS and push UPS on her own) in a minute, 58 push UPS in a minute, bench pressed 300lbs, and ran a mile and a half in 14:12. I was pretty satisfied with myself on everything except the run. I'm a big dude, I'm built to move heavy shit not run longer than a couple hundred yards... So I'm probably going to die for the first couple of months with all of the long distance running that's coming my way.

Next up came the background check and polygraph. They had to have surveys from 10 of my friends, my wife, my current supervisor, one of my supervisors from the Marines, and even my ex-wife (who surprisingly gave a half way decent reccomendation). After all of the surveys got submitted I had to meet with my recruiter and go over EVERY aspect of my life from why I wanted to be an officer to what I like to do in my off time to what do I see myself as in 10th years. It was intense.
After all of that I had to take a polygraph, and if you've ever heard about them from someone else they are just as, if not more stressful than whatever you've heard... They bring you into the room and sit you in a chair and hook you up to a machine that can sense shifts in your weight in the chair, tell minuscule changes in perspiration on your finger tips, tells how deep you breath, measures changes in your voice pitch, counts your resperations per minute, and measures your blood pressure constantly. Just having all the equipment hooked up is enough to stress you out and fail... I won't tell anymore about it just to prefer the sanctity of the testing, but its a hell of a day strapped in that uncomfortable chair.

The final interview was pretty standard for a job interview, sat down with 3 high ranking members of the department and thy went over all of the info collected during my recruitment process and the final evaluation written up by my recruiter. Thy asked me a few personal questions shook my hand an sent me on my way to accept my offer of employment. It was probably the easiest part of the entire process.

So my offer of employment gets me into the final parts of the process, the psych evaluation and the medical exam. The psych exam is pretty easy, just sit in front of a computer and click through four 300 question tests containing mostly the same questions in different order and with slightly different verbage. Then you meet with the department psychologist and go over all of it, and your background check yet again.

The next day I had to pay a visit to the city nurse and a local urgent care for my medical evaluation. I apparently was getting really stressed, and my bp was spiking from my normal 120/70 to around 140/96. So I had to go get a note from my Dr saying there's nothing wrong. Then the big world crusher came a few days later when my chest xray came back and the radiologist found "a mass" in my left lung. Being told you may have cancer over the phone is three things; rude, insensitive, and unprofessional. So I spent a nerve wrecking weekend thinking I could have lung cancer until I could go get a CT scan and find out there was absolutely nothing wrong with me...

Then the day finally came when I got the call to show up to orientation and that my start day would indeed be Jan 3rd 2011, and I was officially a recruit. FINALLY!!!!! That's the story of my excruciatingly long application process...
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's finally over

So after an 8 month wait the day finally came, my final day at the 911 center. And one hell of a day it was... I decided to sit at my favorite console for my last day (where all you do is dispatch police calls). It started out slow and by the end of the day god only knew what was happening on any of the four consoles for the department we were responsible for. At the exact moment the day squad first team was called in BAM armed robbery from person!! Looks like those officers won't be going home on time. 15 minutes later and only having two line officers available in the entire city, BAM strong arm robbery in the district next to the original armed robbery and searching for SOMEONE in the city to send.

Everyone in the dispatch and police world knows Christmas is the time of year for one thing, ARMED ROBBERIES. Even criminals kids need Christmas presents right!?! By the time I logged off the dispatch computer for the final time the city was roughly 25 calls behind with no end in sight. I'll miss the hell out of dispatching for sure its by far the best part of 911.

After I signed out of the computers I turned over my ID badge, my key fob, and my headset and called it quits... Not 30 minutes later there was another armed robbery just down the street from the first one. It really never stops.

The good news is, my director and both deputy directors all told me I'm welcome back anytime if I need a job, just have to come back and ask! As for what's next, two weeks vacation and then the start of the academy. It'll be great to enjoy Christmas with my wife and the in-laws. Maybe ill reveal some of the highlights of my career at 911 between now and then.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Orientation day

So... Today was the big day. The first time meeting (read seeing, because most of us didn't interact the entire 4.5 hours we sat in the all blue classroom) a decent number of our future classmates of the 100th police academy. Not everyone was there though, a decent number were hired over the past several months and have been doing bitch work for the department until the academy actually starts. I wanted to be a part of the bitch work sooooooooo bad, but only to get myself out of the dungeon at 911 that much sooner, but I digress... So there we all were, sitting in the classroom being addressed by the Lieutenant (or lt for short), and the Sergeant (Sgt) who had directly resulted in out appointments and being warned off all the things we could get in trouble for and the academy hasn't even started yet. Here's just a few to give you a taste of what we'll be dealing with...

1. Don't ever use the front door, or the stairs at the front of the building.
2. Don't ever use the bathrooms on the second floor.
3. Don't ever park in the front of the building. We park behind the building or on the street.
4. Have a duplicate I everything you might possibly EVER need in the trunk of your car, and be prepared to fork it over to help a fellow recruit.

So there's a few just to give you all a taste of what's coming. Coming from the Marine Corps, there isn't anyway that the department can make up anythig worse than there, but ill give them the benefit of the doubt and stay on the edge of my seat in anticipation...

So back to orientation... (if you couldn't tell by now I'm a big fan of the ... to continue a thought) We spent the morning talking about what to expect from the beginning of the academy, and to have it made perfectly clear that quitting should be an absolute last resort. Despite what any instructors might tell us, they want us all to pass because the city needs us out on the streets as a warm body in a patrol car at the end of this six months, that's why we're here in the first place. Also the department has invested a great deal of time and money into our future as police officers. They don't want us to fail no matter how hard they try to break us.

The rest of the day was filled with administrative paperwork from the cities personnel office, pretty much all except one sheet of which I had filled out previously at my original 911 orientation a year and a half ago.

Good news is, I got to keep my city public safety code number!! Which is very important... it shows other officers how new you are with the department, and mine is in the range of 3 PD academies ago, so I'm scamming my way into looking 'salty'.

In other news.. My last day at 911 is tomorrow, and my crew is taking me out for a few good bye drinks after my final shift. As much as I couldn't stand working there sometimes, I'm really going to miss a good number of my co-workers. So a big thanks to those of you at my current work for keeping me from going off he deep end and unleashing hells fury on one of the millions of people that dial those three life saving numbers on their phones nationwide every day. A tip of my hat to those who spend a career answering the phones calls of those in need. "See" you guys on the other side of the radio.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Whats with the thin blue line?

We've all seen them that little blue and black sticker on the back of peoples cars all across the country, but what does it really mean?? Is it just a way for police officers to know they pulled over another officer and not to write them a ticket? Is it a way for regular citizens to gain the perceived benefits of being or knowing a law enforcement officer (LEO from here on out...)? Here's what the famous little sticker actually stands for...

The Blue represents the officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with insurmountable odds.
The black background is a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers.
The Line is what officers protect, the barrier between anarchy and a civilized society, between order and chaos, between respect for decency and lawlessness.

I chose "crossing the thin blue line" for my blog title because soon enough i will be crossing over from being a normal citizen, and becoming a LEO myself. Paul Harvey couldnt have put it any better, and so I'll just let you watch this you tube video filling you in on what a LEO REALLY is...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holy shit this guy is FAST!!!

Look at that...  The blog isnt even a day old and i've already found something bike related to post...
 As a sportbike enthusiast I enjoy a couple of things, good looking motorcycles and high speeds.  Unfortunately I've recently gotten a "driving award", and learned my lesson again about riding fast on the street. So I'll save it for the race track in the future (surprisingly its my first ticket in 4 years and my first ever on the bike).  This is a video of a RIDICULOUSLY fast rider riding on what is known as "The Dragon"and is arguably the best motorcycle and sport car road in the world.  It has 318 curves in 11 insanely intense miles.  Be sure to notice the insane numbers on the speedometer throughout the video.  
Even if you don't agree with driving this way on the street you have to appreciate the level of skill it takes to do it.

Kicking things off

So...  Here I am just three weeks out from the start of my six months of hell as a Police Recruit.  Should be a good time...  Before we delve into any of that I'll take a post to familiarize my future adoring fans with who exactly they are reading about, so here goes...  (in order to protect confidentiality, i will be keeping everything somewhat anonymous throughout the blog...)

I'm 24 years old, grew up in a rural Detroit suburb and moved to a suburb of a decent sized southern city just before high school.  I graduated high school and joined the United States Marine Corps at the ripe old age of 17.  From there I became an Airport Firefighter and served for 2.5 years of my enlistment in that MOS (military occupational specialty).  7 months of my enlistment was spent in the wonderful country of Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, while there I was the Personal Security Detail Team Leader for the 2nd highest ranking State Department civilian in country.  I left the Marine Corps at 21 and started college back in my home city.  After a year of college I was pretty fed up with going to school, and decided to get back in to public safety and became a 911 dispatcher for the city (there are some good stories there, which may or may not be told in the future...).  After just over a year of being tethered (literally, the cord from your headset to the phone only reaches about 8 feet) to a desk in a basement I decided it was time to move on to bigger and better things, and my journey to become a Police Officer began.

Here's a little about my private life.  I've been married to my beautiful wife (you can read about our relationship shenanigans and her life here... My wifes blog) for just over a year and a half.  We own a house in a suburb of the city I will soon be working for.  We have three dogs (Harrier a 5 year old lab/chow, Boyd a 2 year old pit bull/bull mastiff mix, and Sadie a year old lab/German shepherd/pit bull mix) all of which are rescues.  I'm a HUGE adrenaline junkie, I can't function for long periods of time without putting my life in danger...  I ride sportbikes (a 2009 Yamaha r6), and ride BMX, pretty religiously, and will find any activity I can to get my adrenaline fix if i cant ride my bikes.

What to expect for the future of the blog...  antics, foul language, bitching of some sort (look at that the foul language already started), random thoughts, minor political insights from yours truly (get over it if you don't agree, i didn't ask you to feel the same way and i don't care about e-fighting about it with you...), probably lots about motorcycles or BMX, but the general gist is going to be about my Police Academy experience so those who follow can have an idea of what to expect.

Things not to expect... Proper grammar and good sentence structure (sorry in advance to my sister in law Bagel Fairy)or any attempt at pleasing the masses.

I'll leave you with one final thought...  At some point in this blogs future I'll probably offend you, so get ready for it.