Friday, June 22, 2012
This is my first blog post, and I want my first post to let readers know who this is intended for, why I might have something to offer regarding success in a police academy, and what you can expect to get out of this blog. I've never written a blog before, but I've noticed a lack of material out there that could help recruits prepare themselves prior to entering a basic police academy. I am a recruit training officer (R.T.O.) at a basic police academy in California and have graduated several classes. Prior to putting in to be an R.T.O., I was a field training officer for several years at an agency with over 1,000 badged personnel. I've done some other things in my career, but those two are the most relevant for what I want to get across to my readers.
In my years at the academy, I've seen a number of recruits fail, quit, just do enough to get to the graduation stage, and push themselves past their limits to achieve excellence. By the nature of my assignment, I never have the opportunity to speak with recruits to give them advice on how to better prepare themselves prior to starting. Additionally, I don't have the chance while they are recruits to really spend a lot of time with them individually and give them valuable advice to help them get the most out of their academy experience. With a large class, I might get a handful of one-on-one talks with a recruit, and they are very valuable training moments, but it's never enough time to say everything I want to. I am hoping this will give me that opportunity.
The information I'm going to write is intended for those who are preparing themselves to enter an academy. Whether that means you are putting yourself through as a non-affiliate, trying to get hired and be sent to an academy, or you have received an offer letter from an agency to sponsor you and you have a start date, you are who I am writing this information down for. This is not an advice column on how to get hired by an agency. I have never worked in backgrounds and it seems like my department changes what they are looking for with every new hiring pool anyway. Even if I had worked in backgrounds, every agency emphasizes different qualities in what they are looking for in a new hire and I'm not willing to tackle that dragon. This is also not a discussion board for cops to offer their opinions and get in Internet brawls with each other about what they think is the right way to do things. If you are a LEO and have some valuable advice or insight on one of the topics, shoot me an email and I'll include your comments if it's relevant. But if you simply want to know what you can do to get yourself ready...read on.
In the following posts you will read about both mental and physical preparation. Everything from your attitude, how to prepare your uniform, and physical demands, to dealing with the R.T.O.'s and/or drill instructors will be covered here. I am going to be as candid and blunt as possible. If you aren't willing to make any personal changes and believe you are the perfect candidate who would be a blessing to any agency, and they better act fast because you won't be on the market long...do me a favor and leave my blog. Come back when you have found some humility and might actually get something out of it. Law enforcement is filled with way too many badges who believe they are bigger than the profession. You are a problem in the academy and an even bigger problem on the streets.
One of the things I tell my recruits is that during their time with me, I'm going to hold a mirror up and be very frank with them about their deficiencies that could cause them problems in this profession. If they don't have thick skin and a willingness to make some changes, it might hurt a little. Some people don't like being told that they are lazy, passive, overweight, or that they have a quitter's attitude. So if you want to learn what qualities make an excellent recruit and set the stage for becoming a great officer...read on. And feel free to send me emails. I will do my best to email you back with answers or cover your question in a future post.