Archive for the Academy Category

Academy Update

Posted in Academy, Class on May 18, 2010 by Jay

First, I need to insert my foot into my mouth. I said posts would be more frequent, however, I lied. I do get an hour for lunch, but I use the time left over from when I’m not stuffing food into my face to do classwork/homework. Cellphones are prohibited in the classroom, so it’s hard to blog on the cellphone if it’s left locked in my car.

Anyway, my schedule is as follows (lots of rough estimates, so be warned):

  • 4:30 a.m. – roll out of bed
  • ~5:40 a.m. – Leave house
  • ~6:30 a.m. – Arrive at Academy
  • 6:45 a.m. – In formation in parking lot to be inspected. If someone fails inspection, we do push ups, number depending on how bad they fail inspection.
  • ~7:00 a.m. – Back in Classroom, begin instruction
  • ~11:00 a.m. – Lunch
  • ~12:00 p.m. – End Lunch, resume instruction
  • ~5:00 p.m. – ~5:30 p.m. – End Class. End time is dependent on how much we get covered during the day.
  • ~5:45 p.m. – ~6:00 p.m. – Home

Then I have to eat, do homework, read, polish my boots, press my uniform for the next day, and shower. Hopefully in bed by 10 p.m.

Homework consists of re-writing the rough notes into final notes and reading the information handouts if we didn’t cover something in class. Tomorrow (19th) we have our first test over history of policing. Thursday we have our second test over Professional Policing. Next week, we have 3 tests.

Quite literally, I don’t get much free time from academy work. There is always that next thing to be done, to get ready, etc. I’m cutting into my sleep time to make sure yall have an update, so maybe I don’t feel quite so bad for realizing I haven’t given yall an update.

History of Policing was meh. Most of the information covered was about England, and how we adapted our early systems of policing from them. We discussed early L.E. in Texas, and how it’s changed over the years. When TCLEOSE was founded in 1965, the Texas Legislature didn’t give them any funding, so they were inactive until 1967, when they were finally given funding.

Today (18th), we covered Professional Policing and got a little bit into Professionalism and Ethics. Professional Policing covered the newest style of policing, Community Policing. Basically, the citizens and the P.D. are supposed to work together to help cut down on crime. The citizens are given more input into how the P.D. is supposed to be run. In that style of policing, cops are considered “Community Peace Officers”, and are customer service oriented.

The part of Ethics we covered today was fun, because we got into the police sub-culture. Police Culture is healthy, sub-culture is negative. Sub-culture is where cops lose faith in humanity and sink more into the “police only understand police” mentality. Some cops slide into this sub-culture because of the stresses of the job. We saw a very graphic video today, from a suicidal cop blowing his brains out, a 6-year-old girl dying from a gunshot wound (on camera too), to policemen taking a report on a child rape case, and all parts in between. Why show us this? To give us a taste of what it will be like for us. Sure, as the Instructor said, we won’t see that kind of stuff day-to-day, week to week, or even month to month, but it is stuff we will have to deal with. That kind of stuff stays with an officer, keeps them up at night, and gives them nightmares. If not handled properly, that kind of stuff builds up, hardens an officer, and that officer slides into the sub-culture. If handled properly, that officer will maintain a healthy relationship with everyone and continue to be a fine officer.

Also a part of ethics, we covered morality, character, and integrity. We will be getting into this a lot more tomorrow during class.

And, in great news, I did receive a job offer today! To be…

…a Constable!

Not exactly my dream job, but constable positions pay a lot due to the massive O.T. they get, and the department is willing to pay for the rest of my gear for the academy. No paycheck during the academy, but it is something gear wise, since I need all my duty gear, a pistol, and ammunition. Constables work for a judge and do the judge’s L.E. work for them, like serving warrants, delivering writs, and other civil service stuff. It’s a lot of leg work, sitting through court proceedings, with little traffic and other enforcement. Sure, I would be able to enforce traffic laws, however, you’d have to screw up really badly traffic wise to be pulled over by a constable. It’d be a great way to start off my career, since it’d give me experience in the court side of things. Not much room for advancement, however, it’s a guaranteed job out of the academy.

For those wondering, my pistol would be a standard DA/SA Sig P220R in .45 ACP. If hired, I would be required to shoot and use their pistol not only on duty, but during the Academy as well. I could not buy and use a S&W M&P or other pistol instead. P220 is it. I have no say in the matter, which is normal for departments who issues pistols. Sure, some will allow you to buy off a list or buy it and get it approved, but most aren’t. You shoot what they give you to shoot, and that’s that.

I have 3 weeks to give them notice of my acceptance or denial, so it’ll be time to think.

Even though we haven’t gotten into the penal code and Criminal Code and Procedures yet, so far, I’m excited to start each day. Hopefully I’ll continue to be excited so it’ll make the time go by quicker.

Graduation (when I pass everything Academy wise and pass the TCLEOSE test) will be November 4th. According to the schedule, it’s 25 weeks long.

I’m so ready!

Academy Orientation

Posted in Academy on May 13, 2010 by Jay

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.

Mindset and thoughts

Posted in Academy, Entrance, Uncategorized on May 8, 2010 by Jay

As you have been reading and following along, I’m fixing to start the police academy, in 9 days to be exact. So, this means you probably won’t read or see me comment much until the academy starts. Why? Well, let me tell you a story about a guy named M. He was a Cadet with me during my first time at the academy in San Antonio, and it’s because of him I’m going to do what I’m fixing to, which is drop off the radar for a while.

As I said earlier, M was a Cadet with me in my class. Good natured, married with a couple of kids, he was in his late 20s. When the academy first started, he helped me learn the case-law, of which I had problems learning. All of the various codes (penal, traffic, etc) I had no problems with, it was just the drab and dreary case-law I had problems. He showed me all sorts of tricks to help me learn it, stuff like flash cards and reading it aloud. Anyway, we finished up the section on the various codes and case-law, and started to do the fun “hands-on” stuff, like how to make an arrest. It was M’s turn to stumble. He just couldn’t do it.  I don’t know why, but he just snapped and couldn’t do it. When he’d grab the wrist to force you to put your hands behind your back, if you gave him even the slightest bit of resistence, he’d drop the cuffs in his pocket, hold his hands up, and back away. He barely passed the test for that section, and we continued to hands-on stuff, like defensive tactics. Again, he just couldn’t do it. Finally, I cornered him in my apartment one night after class and got him to talk about why he couldn’t do it. He confessed and said he just wasn’t ready to do that yet. Come to find out, he didn’t give himself any time off before the academy began. The academy started on a Wednesday, and his last day at his place of business was that Monday. He didn’t have to time to relax and get himself in the proper mindset for what he was fixing to do.

He didn’t make it out of that next section. He failed his practical exam badly, and opted not to try again by retesting. He knew it was pointless for him to continue, so he dropped out. He later told me, before I had to drop out of the academy myself, that he was going to go to the academy again, but he was going to take some time off beforehand, to sit and contemplate what he was embarking on. Yea, I know your probably sitting there thinking “oh come on, enough with the mushy stuff”, but M is right.

This is a journey into a larger world, a world that most people can’t fathom, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Why?

As a police officer, I can take rights and freedoms from you (right to bear arms and vote are 2 of the biggest ones for us gun nuts), I can leave a black mark on your record that will haunt you for life, I may see human beings at their worst as they torture one another, I may see (more than likely will see) things that will keep me up at night and/or give me nightmares for a while, and have to live a life of constant “Condition Yellow” from the day I “get pinned” to the day I take my last breath.

Am I trying to threaten or getting an ego about being a police officer? Nope! I’m just trying to show you the larger world that I’ll be trying to enter (again), and why I need to take a break from everything for a while. As the  psychologist told me, a lot of people drop out of the academy because they aren’t mentally prepared for what they are about to do, not just in the academy, but when they set foot on the street as a LEO. It finally sinks what they might have to do in the line of duty as a LEO, and it’s too much. Others, they get their badge, and it pulls them down. They get big-headed, get massive egos, and screw everything up for everyone else.

So, needless to say, I’m going to take a week off, rest, relax, watch a lot of TV, and get in the best mindset to help me get through the Academy!

Blog Down?

Posted in Academy, Gear, Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 by Jay

Anyone havin’ any trouble getting to Bob’s over at 3bxofbs.com, or is it just me again?

I hope he didn’t decide to shut his blog down…

Bob, if you read this, let us know whats going on…please?

Thanks!

Pants

Posted in Academy, Gear on May 5, 2010 by Jay

I got my Academy pants in the mail today. They are 5.11 Tactical Pants, 100% cotton, in black.

I tried them on, and due to the elastic in the waist, they run a little big, but they fit perfect with the belt.

I’ve been wearing them for the last 4 hours, and they are very comfortable. I haven’t tried any kind of physical exercise in them yet, so no word on breathability or ease of use, but I think they are a real winner. When I graduate, I think they will make great training pants for going to like a KR Training session, or in service training.

I’m going to go for a run in them shortly, so will update accordingly!

Buying Comparison

Posted in Academy, Entrance on April 19, 2010 by Jay

As I blogged previously, I’ll have to start picking stuff up for the police academy. Today, we’ll look at the rough overall cost, including what has been paid and bought for thus far.

I’ll format it in a Cost – Item format to hopefully make it easier to read. Now, bear in mind, these prices listed are per CAPCOG’s approximate prices, and not the actual prices of the items themselves. I’ll be doing research into that today, and you’ll be able to see the difference between their approximate cost and the actual cost when I post it this evening.

These items I haven’t purchased yet, but will need to before the end of the Academy:

  • $79.98 (2 @ $39.99) – 5.11 Tactical Pants in black
  • $20.00 – Black Garrison belt with a silver buckle
  • $84.99 – Police Tactical boots in black, with polished toe
  • $21.95 – Duty belt
  • $8.95 – Duty belt keepers (set of 4)
  • $11.95 – Handcuffs case
  • $7.95 – Collapsible baton holder
  • $14.95 – Double Mag Holder
  • $23.95 – Handcuffs
  • $50.00 – Holster
  • $80.95 – ASP Baton
  • $499.00 – Handgun
  • $300.00 – 1000 rounds ammunition
  • $25 – 5 rounds buckshot
  • $1.99 – Mouthpiece
  • $30 – Running Shoes
  • $30 – Misc Office Supplies
  • $200 – Vehicle Lease for Driving

Sub Total: $1561.64

Items I have purchase so far:

  • $75 (3 @ $25) – Polo Uniform Shirts
  • $57 (3 @ $19) – Shirt/Short set for PT

Letter

Posted in Academy, Entrance on April 18, 2010 by Jay

I got the official word from CAPCOG that I’ve been accepted!

Meaning, I get to start the buying frenzy.

This is all what I’ll have to buy during my time in the Academy:

  • 3 pairs of 5.11 Tactical Pants in black
  • Black Garrison belt with a silver buckle
  • Police Tactical boots in black, with polished toe
  • Duty belt
  • Duty belt keepers (set of 4)
  • Handcuffs case
  • Collapsible Baton Holder
  • Double magazine holder
  • Handcuffs
  • Handgun holster, minimum level 2 retention
  • Expandable ASP Baton
  • Handgun, full size, 4″ barrel or greater, double action only, 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, or .45 auto
  • 1000 rounds ammuition, either FMJ or JHP
  • 5 rounds buckshot (either Double or Triple Ought)
  • Mouthpiece
  • Running shoes
  • Misc. office supplies
  • Vehicle Lease for Emergency Vehicle Driving Training

Thankfully, I don’t have to have it all before the start of the Academy. The only things I’m required to have on Day One are the 5.11 Tactical Pants, Garrison belt, and Police Tactical boots. The Handgun holster, Handgun, and ammunition I technically won’t need until the end of June, however, being the gunny that I am, I’m already stalking and trying to find the perfect pistol for me. Ideally, I’d like to get it in the next month or two, since that will allow me time to put some rounds through whatever I buy to get used to it, and if it’s brand new, it’ll give me time to break it in and get any kinks out before I have to start training with it.

Yes, I realize this means I’ll be training for the training for the police academy. :D

Who knows, maybe I can find the spare cash and attend a KR Training class before the pistol training phase begins at the academy…