Friday, January 28, 2011

"We're not gonna make it folks..."

So the title of today's blog is one of my Sgt's favorite things to say when we screw up big time and i just wanted to share it with my adoring fans.  It generally refers to the fact that we keep messing up the minor things, so we'll never make it to the big stuff.

Things started to look up for the recruits of the 100th academy session this week.  We started wearing our uniforms on Wednesday, which surprisingly went amazingly well!  The first day of wearing uniforms at the academy has supposedly been hellish for recruits of academies past and we made it through our first informal inspection rather unscathed.  We had one squad where almost all of them forgot to button the back of their tie to their shirt, and a couple of small i.p's (Irish pennants, or little stray threads on a uniform) that instructors will pull on until one of two things happens; the thread comes out, or whatever it was holding together falls off or comes apart as we learned this morning when another recruits sleeve cuff was easily removed...  This was more than likely because his sleeve lacks the discipline it needs to stay together.

We're really starting to come together as a team, and its starting to be apparent to our instructors.  We're PTing more successfully and with exuberant amounts of motivation, we're helping each other learn how to wear the uniforms properly (mainly on the shoulders of us prior military folks), we're having study sessions at peoples houses, and the list goes on...  Thankfully we received our police recruit badges to wear on our uniforms and covers (hats for all the civilians out there), and what a feeling it was to receive my first police badge, even if its just a recruit one.

On the other hand, we're by no means perfect.  To be honest, we're only at about the week two level of teamwork achieved at a military boot camp, but going home everyday hinders that ability to meld together successfully in a relatively short period of time.  Other sad points of the week...  we had 11 failures on our search/seizure/arrest exam (i squeaked by with a 79%), and we have to people on light duty for injuries.

I'll leave you all with my favorite quote from our instructors this week "the difference between involved and committed is like ham and eggs.  The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed."

Till next time, stay motivated and keep your nose to whatever grindstone it needs to be attached to.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week three down

Still not a lot of free time to be had these days. Week three was spent once again getting thrashed, trying to get things together as a team, and getting thrashed some more.

We had a test on ethics, and the rest of our week was spent learning just about every way to not violate someone's 4th amendment rights while either detaining them, arresting them, and searching them. You wouldnt think a couple of paragraphs in a several hundred year old document would be so friggen complex! It's almost easier to just not arrest someone, because then you can't violate their rights and get sued or charged. Unfortunately that won't be an option, and I had to spend every waking moment when not at the academy trying to decipher what the 4th amendment says and how vital case laws have either changed it, or supported it. The weekend was spent doing one of two things... studying/doing homework or trying to spend time with my wife while clearing my mind of all the stuff I'd been attempting to stuff into it every other minute of the week. The only other thing i did all weekend was go to the academy for family orientation where Jenny sat in presentations from the chief on down to our training sergeant.

In personnel news... we are down to 35 people left in the academy (started with 43). I've also come to the realization that recruits of any form are inherently lost 95% of the time, and getting in trouble the other 5% of the time. We also had the grand epiphany that if you have a duty belt, it should have a buckle in order for it to actually function as a belt. For some reason a decent number of people didn't feel it was necessary to ask for a buckle at supply and we paid dearly for their lack of forethought. But what else is new? Our days are only filled with two things; classroom instruction and punitive exercise. Our sgt also gave us a little pep talk on Friday night before we went home about how be thinks we've lost everybody who really doesn't want to be here, and he wants to graduate everyone that's left. it was a little un-nerving, and a big surprise to get some motivational words from the man who always tells us he doesn't care... I took my arrest, search, and seizure test this morning and squeaked by with a 79%. even after all of the studying, I still confused all kinds of search warrant laws. I'm more of a practical application kind of guy, so once we start doing this stuff for real it'll solidify it all for me. till next week...
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 2. A little bit faster, a little bit worse.

Well week 2 has come and gone, 25 more to go.

So this week started all of our legal classes, organized PT (physical training for those that don't habla), our first academic tests, we learned that we would have two more instructors joining the team in order to better keep an eye on us too.  One of them is pretty awesome, he taught our physical fitness class, the other is a former Marine and loves to cause havoc.  We've all decided we dont want to be around him, because he will pick you apart bit by bit.

It would be safe to say that i grossly underestimated the physicality of the police academy.  I'm by no means the most out of shape person there, but i'm a big dude and big dudes ARE NOT made to run long distances.  If you want me to knock down a door, or chase a suspect for 100 yards thats fine because when i catch the guy he's not gonna be happy with his decision to run once i get my hands on him.  We ran two out of three days this week for PT, one of the runs I couldnt keep up and was put in the van to be taken back to the academy and PT'ed by our former navy seal and swat team instructor.  I havent been broken off like that since boot camp in the fall of 2004.  Most of the next 35 minutes of PT was spent either low crawling (face on the ground, and pulling with your arms and pushing with your legs) or bear crawling (essentially running on your hands and feet at the same time), but he through in some regular stuff too (flutter kicks, push ups, sit ups, stair step ups, etc...) and it was finished off with us rolling back and forth for about 40 feet until somebody threw up.  Good times...  The next run we went on, I stepped off the road and into a pot hole and twisted my ankle and only could make it about another mile before i had to fall out (not happy about that one, i could have made it i was right at the end when one of the PT instructors told me to fall out).

We got our uniforms back from the alterations shop, and were issued our boot and shoe vouchers so we could go pick out the footwear that fit us best.  So we should be in our uniforms by the end of this week!!!  I'm pretty stoked to get out of the suits they're uncomfortable and hot when doing punitive PT.

The rest of the week was spent learning about constitutional law, and arrest/search/seizure laws, and how not to violate the constitution.  On Wednesday we took our first tests on course orientation and physical fitness i scored a 95% and 82% respectively.  The good news is that our Sgt told us he isn't going to punish us for anything we do academically since he knows some people are bad testers, or have a hard time studying, etc...  So finally, one thing we wont get in trouble for!  This however does not apply to our homework, just testing...  We messed up our homework from last week, and it wasnt all uniform so it was all put through the shredder instead of being graded and we got to re-do all of it this weekend on top of the homework we already had to do.  So most of this weekend was spent re-writing (yes hand written, no typing allowed) the 8 pages of homework from last week.  I bet we wont make that mistake again...

Other good news, i've lost almost 8 pounds already in just two weeks and i can already feel my body getting stronger because the exercises are starting to get easier and i can do more of them (except flutter kicks, god I HATE FLUTTER KICKS!!!).  We lost a few more people this week, dont know why for some of them, but one of them has decided to go back into the Marines as an officer which I cant fault him for and wish him the best of luck!

Till next time...  Stay classy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

what a week!!!

So maybe hoping to do any bogging my first week of the academy was a bit optimistic... this week has been hell. From Monday at 0800 to Friday at 1830 (630 pm) it was non stop. My body hasn't been this sore since the first week of weight lifting my senior year of high school. It's quite apparent now how bad working for 911 has been for my body. I tried to keep my self in decent shape in spite of my working conditions, but to no avail. On Monday we got in trouble for not putting our notebooks together fast enough and we held our arms above our heads for 15 minutes straight. That was loads of fun. I failed both of my initial physical fitness tests miserably, along with 14 other people in my class.

Highlights of the week included finally starting classes instead of getting thrashed all day, getting our uniforms and most of our equipment issued and making it to Friday. As the academy calms down a bit ill start writing more, its crazy now so ill update as I can but we're one week down and 26 to go. Our first constitutional law class is in the morning so I've gotta hit the rack. It's gonna be a long road...
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Here we go...

Countdown... t-minus 14 hours until training day one commences.

Nervous you ask? Ever walked into something you knew was going to be completely miserable for at least two weeks as they weed out those who can't hack it with a smile on your face? Didn't think so...

All my bags are packed and waiting to be put in the car, my suit is wrinkled and needs to be ironed, and I've spent a good amount of the day studying and memorizing the packet of what us Marines call "knowledge". It's 8 pages of all the basics (10 codes, signals, codes, chain of command, use of force laws, etc...). I fortunately had a leg up on the rest of my classmates because I've been using most of the packet for the past year and a half at 911. Nevertheless the PD has a decent amount of extra codes that we at 911 don't use and have never been taught so I studied my packet like a good recruit should.

I've got a knot in my stomach just like the day before I went to boot camp in 2004 and the day before I left for Afghanistan in 2006. A bit excited, and a bit scared. Only way to find out what comes next is to bite the bullet and walk through the doors (the back doors specifically since I don't rate to use the front doors yet) and start getting my ass kicked. Should be a good time. Report coming on day 1 tomorrow night.
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