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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