Getting into the Academy

I meant to do this as it was happening, but with work and using my days off to well, actually do stuff to get into the academy, I didn’t get a chance to. But now, I’ve got the time to do it. This is from the start of the process to the point I am at now.

This is what I had to do to get unofficially accepted (more on unofficial vs official at the end)

First things first, I started poking around and calling local LE agencies about police academies in the Central Texas area at the beginning of January. I was pointed to CAPCOG time and time again, so I hit up their website and sent them an email. I got a reply in about an hour, and got my testing date set up, which was the initial one for that Academy, for March 4th. It was several months away, so, I just did a lot of nothing (well, I got a job at Wally World in the middle of February) until then.

Step two, I tested. I tested with 11 other people, so 12 people tested included me. The test was simple. Basic sophomore level high school math (minus the algebra), reading and comprehension, and a written section. I scored a 95, 90, and a 100 respectively. I scored the highest out of the 12. We had 3 people fail. After the tests were graded and we received our scores, we had a brief orientation, which included the Dreaded Packet of information and forms. Orientation was short and sweet, this is our grading policy, this is how tests and quizzes break down, this is how you can get kicked out, this is the rough sections of the academy, and here is the Dreaded Packet. Sections were History of LE, “Traffic Code, Penal Code, Case Law, and Federal Law,” Self defense, and the last was “The Fun Stuff”, which was shooting, high-speed driving, etc. The Dreaded Packet contained a total of 28 pages of documents, 9 of which were forms, 1 was a handy entrance checklist for the previously mentioned forms and other stuff that needed to be turned in, and the final 18 were just information, about CAPCOG, the Academy, etc. However, there was a catch. CAPCOG only had 40 slots open for this Academy, and 5 were already taken for Agency Sponsored cadets, meaning only 35 slots were open, first come first serve, deadline was April 19th.. This meant I needed to get on the ball. So, after all was said and done, I drove home, and started arranging and poking and prodding through the Dreaded Packet to get all the forms and necessary exams and what not completed.

This began step three, completing the Dreaded Packet. I’ll break it down into a list, so hopefully it’ll be easier to read and follow along. I had to turn in a total of 15 items before I could be accepted. The 15 items includes stuff like forms, transcripts, copies of stuff, payments, etc. Here are the 15 items, what I did to get them completed, and a basic idea of the purpose (if there is one):

  • Certification of Basic Requirement – The purpose for this form is simple, it’s CYA (Cover Your Ass). It said, in a nutshell, that I have read and understood the entry requirements for CAPCOG, and that I honestly believe myself to meet the requirements. Completion was easy, just had to sign and date it.
  • General Information Form – Just like it sounds, it’s my general information. Name, address, phone number(s), email, emergency contact, etc. Completion was easy, just fill in the info.
  • Photocopy of Valid Texas Driver’s License – It’s an official picture ID and means I can drive. If a question pops up about my background, they can run this to do a background check. Completion was easy, just scanned and printed a copy.
  • Form A-1 Report of Academy Applicant – This form tells TCLEOSE that I am enrolled in a Basic Peace Officer Academy, and meet all the criteria to become a Certified Peace Officer in the State of Texas. Completion was easy, just fill it out and sign and date.
  • FAST-FORM Background Check Results – Just like it sounds, this is the background check. They did it through a private company called L-1 Services. Cost was $9.95, and included a complete ten card and a photo. Ten card was all 4 fingers at once on one hand, then the other, then an individual for both thumbs, then an individual for each finger. After all that, I get a receipt with my background check number. For the Academy, all I had to do was give them the number. L-1 Services will email the Academy with my background check results. Completion was fairly easy, just went to the L-1 website, set up an appointment, went in and got it done.
  • Tuition Policy – Form says I understand the tuition policy and how it works, so, simply, more CYA. Completion was easy, just sign and date.
  • L-2 Declaration of Medical Condition – TCLEOSE form, basically says I’m living, breathing, and not going to kill over at the first sign of exercise. It includes the drug screen portion too. Completion was fairly easy, scheduled an appointment to see my doctor, went in, we did the physical, he gave me the order for the drug screen, and signed my paperwork. Physical was $20.
  • CAPCOG RTA Medical Screening Form – Essentially this is CAPCOG’s version of the above. I’m living, breathing, not going to kill over at the first sign of exercise. Completion was easy, as it was part of the above L-2.
  • Original Drug Screen Results – Second half of the above L-2. This was a 9 panel drug screen for you medical types. The doctor’s office had to fax an official copy of my drug screen results to CAPCOG. Completion was easy, just had to pee in a cup and fill it to a certain line. After the doctor’s office got the results, they faxed them to CAPCOG. Drug screen was free, since it was part of the above doctor’s visit.
  • L-3 Declaration of Psychological and Emotional Health – Yet another TCLEOSE form. I’ve already blogged about it here, so if you don’t mind, I’m not going to repeat myself. Completion was fairly easy, the only thing that sucked was the MMPI. Cost was $150.
  • Copy of College Transcript – Proof I went to college. Completion was easy, just printed it off of the Texas State website. As an aside, I think it’s pointless, since I didn’t graduate from college. Minimum is high school diploma (which I have), so my college hours is just added fluff.
  • Copy of High School Transcript – Proof I completed high school, which is a requirement to be accepted. Completion was easy, went up to my old high school, told the registrar what I needed, she did it, and I was out the door in 5 minutes.
  • Academy Shirt and P.T. order form – This is to order the required Academy shirts and P.T. gear (t-shirts and running shorts). The shirts are like dress shirts than t-shirts, so it helps us look more professional.
  • Uniform payment – This is for the above obviously. They aren’t free, so I had to pay. Completion was easy, just had to give them the proper money order. Cost was $133. $132 was for the uniforms, $1 was for the money order.
  • Tuition payment – Again, they don’t do this free of charge. Completion was easy, just had to give them a cashier’s check for the proper amount. Cost was $1500.

So, I’ve gotten all of those done, and am unofficially accepted. There are 2 reasons why I’m unofficially accepted and not officially accepted. Reason one is L-1 hasn’t emailed CAPCOG a copy of my background check yet. However, since I have turned in the background check number, CAPCOG will accept me “pending background check”. I have until May 17th for L-1 to get CAPCOG my results, so I’m not too worried. The main thing is they will reserve me a slot, even if someone else does have a completed background check. The second reason is simple, the Chief Instructor and the Director of the Academy sit down together and review all the documents for each possible cadet, to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Once they have reviewed and accepted all the forms, that person is officially approved and is officially a Cadet. The secretary reviewed all of my forms and said everything looked good, and gave me the “unofficially accepted” line. She said she actually scrutinizes the forms better than they do, and hasn’t had a case where someone was rejected before she missed something.

 Now, on the background check thing, it’s just a matter of time. I’m not too worried about it, because I passed the same exact thing last year. I haven’t been given a ticket or arrested since then, so my record will look the same it did in June 2009 when I last had it done. It’s all just a matter of time!

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