Academy Orientation

The Academy hosted Orientation/Family Night tonight. I got to see some of the cool stuff we’ll be doing in about a month or so, listened to the Director and the Chief Instructor talk about whats going to be happening over the next few months, and all the ways they can terminate you.

For instance, we have to take a minimum of half a page of notes per each hours of instruction, including films we watch. Those are our rough notes. After we do the rough notes, we will later have to re-write them (IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, NO CURSIVE, BLACK INK ONLY) and submit them for grading, as our FINAL notes. You fail the FINAL notes? Termination.

We have a notebook to keep, that has all the handouts and our FINAL  notes. They can randomly, without warning, subject us to a notebook grade, which is pass/fail only. You fail a single notebook review grade? Termination. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have all that great organizational skills, so the notebook organization thing has me worried.

You fail to submit your homework on time? Termination.

You fail to submit a class assignment on time? Termination.

You turn in uncompleted work, be it class assignment or homework? Termination.

You forget your cellphone in your pocket as you enter class? You are written up and have to write a ten page essay, with a minimum of 12 internet references or 6 book references.  Yes, seriously, we are not allowed to have cell phones, pagers, or other electronic communication devices in the classroom (meaning not even in a backpack) unless they are mandated by the cadet’s sponsoring agency or during extreme circumstances as approved by the Chief Instructor or the Director. You forget your cellphone in your pocket a second time? Termination.

You seriously have no wiggle room. You walk the line for 6 months, hold your breath, and hope you don’t fall off.

Anyway, as part of the orientation, we received part of the materials for the class.

Remember now, I said part. This is about 1/3 of our class materials.

All that is most of what the Academy will cover, though, it is only roughly 2/3rds of it. The other 1/3rd we will be receiving later on, when we cover those sections. However, that doesn’t include the handouts the guest instructors will give us. All in total the Chief Instructor said we will have anywhere from 3-4 FOUR INCH (caps for emphasis) binders of handouts and notes, if not more. A lot of it depends on how we take our notes.

That, as you can tell, is the Criminal and Traffic Law Manual, with supporting cases. Doesn’t look too bad does it?

Guess again. That book and 75 pages of that pile of papers will be what we are studying for the first 64 hours of class time.

Yes, you are reading that correctly. 7 inches of papers with the law-book.

That thick stack of paper covers:

  • BPOC Rules
  • Fitness & Wellness
  • History of Policing
  • Professional Police Approaches
  • Ethics
  • US Constitution & Criminal Justice System
  • Code of Criminal Procedure
  • Penal Code
  • Arrest Search & Seizure
  • Spanish
  • Juvenile Issues
  • Child Abuse
  • Health and Safety Code (Drugs)
  • Traffic Law
  • Accident Investigation
  • Traffic Direction
  • Crisis Intervention Training
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Written Communications
  • Problem Solving
  • Force Options
  • Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
  • Patrol Concepts
  • Crowd Control
  • Crime Prevention
  • Consular Notification
  • Intoxicated Driver
  • Mechanics of Arrest
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency Communications
  • Multiculturalism and Human Relations
  • Firearms
  • Professional Police Driving
  • Civil Process
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Booking Procedures
  • Case Management
  • Latent Prints
  • Crime Scene Search and Sketch
  • Courtroom Demeanor
  • Victims of Crime
  • NIMS ICS 100
  • NIMS ICS 700

Of course, I will have things a little easier, since this is my second time around, however, there are still some major differences. The first academy I attended was a “college-type” academy, meaning it’s like going to college. Everything is informal, real low-keyed, let’s-all-kick-back-and-have-a-good-time type of attitude. This academy is a “semi-military” academy, meaning it’s a lot like going to boot camp, except we don’t have to live in the facility and we won’t have them screaming at us near as much. Boots are expected to be polished and shined, pants are expected to be pressed, shirts are expected to be pressed, that kind of stuff. We are expected to be in formation at 6:45 a.m. every morning to start our day.  The quicker we get started, the quicker we get to go home, and well, study.

I will be doing a lot of studying, probably anywhere from 2-4 hours a night, since we will have a lot of homework. In the first week, we will already have 2 tests. The second week, we will have 3 tests. After that, I don’t know. The key is getting through the first section, which covers the history of Policing and all the various codes. The Director said once we get past those, everyone will get into a sort of rhythm, we get into the fun stuff, and it’s all downhill from there.

My schedule for the next 5 months will be as follows: I will be waking up at ~5:00 a.m., out of the door not later than 5:45 a.m, then drive the necessary ~45 minutes to the academy, to be in formation at 6:45 a.m., if not earlier. At the end of the day, I’ll be let out at ~5:30 p.m. (depends on how the day goes) and walk in the door ~6:15 p.m. I will then study for 2+ hours, do whatever it is I need to do, then sleep. If I go to sleep at ~10:00 p.m. every night, I will get ~7 hours of sleep a night. Yes that is a lot of rough estimates, simply because I’m not sure exactly how things will work out yet.

At this point, instead of pleading you to keep reading and the usual “blogging will be light for a while”, I will say expect blogging to increase. Since I get an hour for lunch every day and have the WordPress app on my phone, I can post during my lunch break or save it as a draft and finish it when I get home. The plan is, I’ll blog about that day at the next day’s lunch break, meaning I’ll post about Day 1 on Day 2, Day 2 on Day 3, etc. This way it’ll not only help me remember study-wise, but it’ll be a great blow-by-blow update for you following at home. I’ll try to outline what we did classroom wise and include stuff like PT and class punishments (i.e. push-ups).

I think this will be a great resource for those to see what all has to be done to be a cop in Texas, not just at the range, but everything we will have to know and remember.

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2 Responses to “Academy Orientation”

  1. Greetings from Falls County,

    No such thing as an easy Academy. Treasure what ever head start you have but approach it like the first time—cause it will be. From the difference you describe of the two schools I don’t think the frist round will help you much.

    I used to fly light planes before highblood pressure nailed me. That may tell you how long ago it was. If I ever go back to it I will show the instructor my logbook then tell him to forget all that and assume I had never seen an airplane before. Things have changed so much over the years nothing else makes sense.

  2. Maaaaaan. That’s a lot of material. Looking forward to the blogging.

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