Archive for the Entrance Category

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!

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…

Getting into the Academy

Posted in Academy, Entrance on April 15, 2010 by Jay

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!