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  1. #1
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Does your academy do it's job?

    I was re-reading an old thread, and a couple of posts caught my eye. Rather than derail that thread, I'm going to pull them out, and ask a simple question:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kpdpipes View Post
    Paramiliraty is necessary to a point, but IMO some of the academies go WAY overboard with the boot-camp games. We've had a few classes whre it took8 out of the 12 weeks of FTO to deprogram some of these kids that not Everyone is a shithead, and you have to tone down the robocop act. The fact that these kids can run a marathon, and do pushups until I get tired is great..but if they can't deal with paople, or write a cogent, coherent report they're useless.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morris View Post
    I am bemused by academies that try to be like military boot camp or basic training. Why? You aren't training folks to fold their t-shirts in 4 inch squares or to march with precision. What in the hell does that have to do with basic of the job like understanding the constitution and enforcing the laws? Here you have kids coming out with their short haircuts and all hooah (without serving any mlitary service) but dumber than a box of rocks on issues such as firearms (acrually hitting the target with some level of precision) or constitutional law. I shouldn't have to instruct a rookie on the constitution when he/she is fresh from the basic training.

    I'd back an academy that could make it's cadets/rook officers memorize the preamble of the constitution rather than make them get up at o-dark-thirty just to screw with them. Hell, I wish more academies would focus on the fundamentals rather that the BS courses like "how to hug your local protestor" or "colors: can't we all just get along?"
    My question: Does your academy do its job? Are the graduates entering FTO reasonably prepared for the street? Or is the academy curriculum so divorced from what's going on in the real world that you spend the first half of FTO teaching them stuff they should know?

    And, since I hate people complaining without offering solutions, if they aren't -- what should be done?

    For the record, I think the academy we use does a good job overall -- though they could spend some more time actually teaching the recruits how to write effectively, and when to write 2 sentences versus a book. (I just read 2 reports from one officer who managed to write a longer report on a suspicious event involving a potential runaway/CHINS than a use of force!) I've also got issues with how they cover the bulk of the legal; the instructor knows his stuff, but is often not on time, and the staff has to constantly shuffle it around this so that he ends up running through the test material at the last minute. We've got cops out there who don't know some of the legal stuff they should... I also think they could make more productive use of the down-time during practical days; there's too much waiting around and doing nothing; I think they could use that time better. (And it's make it more realistic, since cops on the street don't get to spend the hours before a call prepping specifically for that sort of call...)
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  2. #2
    Cidp24's Avatar
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    I think ours does well, except for one area, and it's a BIG one. Trainees only get one or two evolutions of practical training on anything other than firearms, driving and defensive tactics. I feel that there should be LOTS of practical training on traffics stops (felony and non-felony), building searches, and teamwork for active shooter/building clearing. I also think that a block of instruction regarding how to act and react while off duty would be great.

    The problem is, practical exercises take lots of time and it's hard to do in a 10 week academy, four days a week, even though they stay at the academy and work into the night.
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  3. #3
    Five-0's Avatar
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    Our academy is 13 weeks and yes it was paramilitary. I have zero problem with the paramilitary part, and I think that 13 weeks should be hard to weed out those that can't handle stress and to get a recruit into basic shape. Having said that it needs to be 13 weeks longer to go over more practical application of the job environment, report writing, emotional survival for dealing with this career and its effects on a home life. More attention to driving as it kills more of us than anything. It needs to be longer as some people never experience much more formal training after they leave an academy.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
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  4. #4
    Jim1348 is offline Rookie
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    Does your academy do it's job?

    Other than a few agencies in Minnesota, most use an academy that trains people that may get hired for any number of agencies. As far as I am concerned, the academy is just enough to give you a taste of what it will be like. The real learning begins in the field. Given all of the disparate requirements of police work, you could literally train for years on things that might happen, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Some agencies have police paramedics. Others have street cops do follow up on investigations and take it as far as they can. Still others take calls and pass cases to investigators as soon as they can dump it. Some agencies are very traffic oriented. You can get involved in a specialty, like commercial vehicle enforcement, and much of the other training will have been a wasted if you aren't running on calls. Some people are assigned as school resource officers and may literally not do a building search for years. You could send a cop to the Reid Interviewing Course, but if they get assigned to Water Patrol it ends up being kind of a futile effort.

    Because of the diversity of tasks, I think that the line has to be drawn somewhere in how much and what kind of training is given pre-service. I have noticed that many of the special interests want there say in what training should be given and often for good reason, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

    And as a follow up to the post above, there really needs to be a reasonable amount of continuing in-service training after getting on the job. Something like Hazardous Materials might seem like a waste when all you want to do if stop some cars and make some arrests. But later on in your career you may realize how important some of the other training is. Again, pre-service training is fine, but we have to take a comprehensive look at the whole career, for rookie to retirement. The agencies that think that they can hire, but never do much in-service training, may end up paying in a law suit for failure to train. Of course, given tight budgets, training is often one of the first things cut!
    Last edited by Jim1348; 12-29-09 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Details

  5. #5
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    One thing I've noticed is an Academy cannot and should not have to teach you how to write your thoughts on paper, An academy can teach you how to structure and put together a report, but thats it. If you can't otherwise write to save your life you are going to be screwed out in the street. You can be the best cop out there, but if you can't write a report it does you no good. I would like to see more DT in the academy. To much time was spent on "feel good" state requirements. Driving could have been more also.
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  6. #6
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    The academy needs to concentrate more on skills. They fill it up with so much fluff crap that after 24, 30, 36 weeks nobody is going to remember much.

    I agree with everyone here, concentrate on driving, shooting, law etc.

    I don't think we can count on the school system anymore for basic skills like typing, and writing. Those should be included as well.
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  7. #7
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    I was an academy instructor when I worked for the Sheriff's Dept. When I went through the academy it was fairly extensive and did the best it could to prepare us. When I became an instructor we did scenario based teaching for half the academy. The rest of the academy was from the book. I think the scenarios did help somewhat in preparing the P.O.'s for the real thing.

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  8. #8
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    The academy I went to was generic. They served agencies all across the state. We didn't get any department specific info...and they told us that this or that might be a little different in your home jurisdiction. I would have liked some scenario based situations as well. Ours was 12 weeks. 5 days a week 8 hours per day. Now, they go only 4 days a week but they are more strict on them and they cant go to town any evenings like we could.

  9. #9
    Five-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bama512 View Post
    The academy I went to was generic. They served agencies all across the state. We didn't get any department specific info...and they told us that this or that might be a little different in your home jurisdiction. I would have liked some scenario based situations as well. Ours was 12 weeks. 5 days a week 8 hours per day. Now, they go only 4 days a week but they are more strict on them and they cant go to town any evenings like we could.
    Northeast AL Law Enforcement Academy?

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

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    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat

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  10. #10
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    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    I'm not necessarily against a para military academy as long as it is balanced with the other academy necessities. As far as basic skills of writing...if they didn't get it in school they won't get it in a block of instruction at the academy. You want to yell and scream and make me do pushups? Have a ball. Been there done that. What irrates me is academy's that do not pursue the law. I LOVED my academy. I have yet to have as good an experience than that. Preparing, in depth, for courtroom testmony would have and would be now an excellent block of instruction. However police academy's were at the time only 8 weeks long. Mine was 12 and we still did not cover the law, state law, to any great degree. To do that the academy would have had to have been longer.
    Sorry folks but it's all about money. The longer a cadet stays in the academy the longer an agency is paying that person without them being in the field filling a uniform and a car. I've seen a lot of people come and go in this field and have yet to meet one upon graduation, including me, that was ready to interpret and apply the law. Fortunately I had an excellent FTO who helped me greatly. Shy of a lot of in academy education, experience is a very good teacher.
    Over all and within the given time frame I would have given my academy an A-. It was as well balanced as it could be.
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  11. #11
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    Our academy in Sitka was 15 weeks paramilitary, with only 5 days off the entire time. We did alot of pt and dt, but the driving program kinda sucked. I also wish we did more dui practicals. Overall I liked it alot, the DI stuff lasted for the first 3 weeks or so, then it kinda toned down. All in all I thought it was good, I think the paramilitary style helps weed out the ones that won't be able to cut it mentally or physically. I'm in second phase fto and I don't really feel unprepared about anything so far...
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  12. #12
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    I enjoyed my academy. I did not have a problem with the military style, I actually wish it was a bit tougher, there were some guys that got through that really didn't appear to have any business being there. FTO got a few when they made it to the streets, but they shouldn't have gotten that far IMO.

    I would like to have spent more time on things you can/can't do constitutionally. We had a pretty good block of state codes, but the in's and out's of ways to get into cars, pat downs, etc., we didn't cover much.

    The PT was ok. I was in good shape going in, but they let you run in 5 different groups according to speed, so the running was good, you could still push yourself. However when they "punished" the class for different things, they would only make the group do 15 or so push-ups. Big whoop. Nobody learned anything from it. When I messed up doing building clearances, I had to do 50, and I still keep it in mind today when I have to clear things.


    NEALEA for the AL guys.

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    Five-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyme View Post
    NEALEA for the AL guys.
    129th Basic In Da House!!!!

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    129th Basic In Da House!!!!
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  15. #15
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    I think the paramilitary structure has a place. And, for report writing, I'm looking for a more useful block than the couple of hours that was largely focused on how to fill out the report form, with a brief discussion of some of the mechanics of writing. Let's be real -- many if not most recruits today are coming in with at least some college. They know how to "write." But they learned writing in an environment that encouraged fluff and often rewarded big words and inefficient writing.

    And I'm not suggesting lengthening the academy. This is the sort of thing that could be covered (and repeated as needed) during practical day waiting, for example. If I add it up, I bet that my class wasted something on the order of 40 to 60 hours to sitting around on practical days. Make that time useful.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    Let's be real -- many if not most recruits today are coming in with at least some college. They know how to "write." But they learned writing in an environment that encouraged fluff and often rewarded big words and inefficient writing.
    I have to say, most of the guys I've "FTO'd" and most of the reports I've read by others, can barely be called literate. I think we need at least a few classes about basic grammar and spelling. We also need to teach touch typing. Hunting and pecking on the keyboard when you are seven reports down, and the calls are still coming can be stressful. As well as expensive to pay them overtime at the end of their shift to finish the reports.
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  17. #17
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    My first one, in VA, did well, both for someone going through it and looking back on what the rookies coming out after I'd been on were like. They had the basics down and just needed fine tuning in FTO. Pretty paramilitary.

    My current department's rookie academy (I was a lateral) needs to change some things. Up until my lateral class suggested it last year, recruits didn't wear vests or gunbelts unless they were in DT or scenarios. They finally started that practice with the class that just graduated. Wearing that stuff is uncomfortable and recruits need to be used to the feeling, not discovering it and being distracted by it on the street. They also take FOREVER on calls doing and re-doing reports and paperwork, not knowing how to interview suspects, etc.

    Now, the DT guys are top notch and get down to business. The range guys are great guys, but any department that practices Ken Hackathorn's snake drill needs to change out their range guys. YMMV on the snake, and if someone signs up for his class and volunteers to go through it, that's their decision, but forcing recruits to do it is stupid. Hopefully that job will be mine in a few years, and the commander who thought it was a "good idea" to teach recruits to feel how it feels to have rounds incoming, will be gone.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    129th Basic In Da House!!!!
    113th....except it was called NEAPA then.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker263
    98th
    How time flies. That was about the time I began dispatching.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bama512 View Post
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    129th Basic In Da House!!!!
    113th....except it was called NEAPA then.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stalker263
    98th
    How time flies. That was about the time I began dispatching.

    Bunch of old heads. 139th here.

  20. #20
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    I would have to say no - Obviously I'd say that because I flunked out of my first Field Training, but they had an unrealistic expectation that I'd be ready to be out on my own after 9 months of Reserve work (one day per week) - That's only about 35 days of field training!!!

    I've been told that 6 months full-time is the norm for field training before going solo (which would be two or three years of working one day per week).

    I have an application in with another department where they have a more realistic expectation, since in that department Reserves just ride shotgun with full-time officers. I can't wait till that goes through (I hope)!!! Still haven't heard any status reports.

    Probably the most lacking thing from Academy was just practice doing traffic stops and other scenarios in a more realistic setting - Each person in my class only did a couple of traffic stops and other scenarios, and they could have been more realistic.

    For example, we NEVER drove while doing a traffic stop in Academy - so in FT, when I drove on a traffic stop, I had trouble talking on the radio, determining my location, reading the tag, looking for a safe place to light them up, and fiddling with the lights while driving. After a few times I got better, but it was embarassing and my FTO had a bad first impression of me, which stuck no matter how good I did it later.

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