Weeks 21 - 22- Recruit Sebastian

Week 21 started with four days on Crime Scene Investigation. Over the course of the next four days, we learned how to photograph and sketch a crime scene, take and develop latent fingerprints, and how to interpret blood spatter.
Friday was OC day, the day most of us dreaded since the beginning of the Academy. Once you were sprayed, you had to fight with your hands and baton, handcuff a suspect, and go through a shoot/ no shoot scenario. Only then were you allowed to be decontaminated. As I said earlier, I wanted to experience OC before making my decision on whether or not it was worse than Taser. For myself, I’d rather be tased twice then ever having to go through OC again. Not only did it burn for over three hours, but it also lasted until the evening when I foolishly decided to take a shower and reactivated the OC.
The following week, we were certified on the Intoxilyzer and prepared for our POST exam on Wednesday. When Wednesday came around, we all passed our exam. With the new system, you knew immediately if you passed or failed. As a result, all of us knew our scores before the tradition of running Lookout Mountain. Once we did, we were released for the day. The next day was graduation and all of us looked great in our Class A uniforms.

To end my blog, I just want to thank the staff and all of the other recruits who have made the last 22 weeks fly by and taught me everything I need to know to be successful throughout my career.

Weeks 18-21 - Recruit Sebastian

First off, I would like to apologize for my absence, but I have been beyond busy the last few weeks.
Starting with week 18, we had two written and one practical test. We were finally able to put the arrest control skills we learned over the past fifteen weeks to the test and had our practical as well as written final. Everyone passed with flying colors and it was amazing to see how far we have come since the beginning of the Academy. Additionally, we were taught how to search cars for contraband, when we can search them, and where the most likely hiding places might be. Friday morning marked written test number 13, which everyone also passed and a class on IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices). It was fantastic to see what the Jeffco bomb squad had in store for us and they were very knowledgeable to say the least. Aside from the fact that anything can be made into an IED (i.e. toys, remote control cars, teddy bears, etc..) the power that these small items have was astonishing.
Week 19 began with courtroom testimony and hostage/crisis negotiations. Unlike in the movies, the likelihood that there will be a crisis negotiator on scene within minutes is highly unlikely. The first responders, i.e. us, will be the first on scene and the probability that we would have to talk with the subject for an extended period of time is almost guaranteed. On Tuesday, we were given our study guide for the POST exam by Director Baca (all 400 pages of it) and ended out the day with a class on domestic terrorism. For the rest of the week, we spent our time learning how to do Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s). The first day was all classroom based with some time spent on practicing the nuances on how to apply them to a suspected drunk driver. The next day, we all passed our written and practical test on the subject.

On the same day, some of us were tasked to write a report based on dash cam footage from a real traffic stop. The next day, they were given the chance to defend their reports on the stand at the Jefferson County Court house. Several ADA’s (Assistant District Attorney’s) were gracious enough to play the role of the prosecutor and defense attorney. I think they had more fun than we did when they destroyed our observations on the stand. Afterwards, we drove to the Jeffco fairgrounds for our wet labs, i.e. other people get drunk and we get to perform our SFST’s on them, at which we have to decide whether or not we would arrest the subject for drunk driving. Let’s just say that we all had a great time.

Week 20 began on Tuesday, after a long weekend thanks to Memorial day. Tuesday was rightfully named Taser Tuesday as we finally had the long awaited Taser day. Unfortunately, I cannot post any pictures, but suffice it to say that I have never felt so much pain in my life after being tased. People say that they would rather be tased than pepper sprayed, but for me, the jury is still out on that one as we have our OC day next week. On Wednesday, we had our Fitness Challenge at Red Rocks and the name does not do it justice. The average time to complete the workout was about 60 minutes and the 85 degree weather at 0800 did not exactly help. I was still sore two days later. The rest of the day was spent on POST review. The next day, we had our CPR/First Aid class with some smaller scenarios thrown in. Friday marked Test #14, with an average Recruit score of 95 (only one more to go until the big one) and some more POST review in the afternoon. You can tell that everyone is doubling down on studying from the high grades. Due to the off day on Monday, we spent half a day each (split into our respective squads) at the CSP track performing high speed maneuvers. Another fun day, but unfortunately a short weekend before our return on Monday.

I think I have talked enough. Only one and a half weeks to go until our POST exam and hopefully graduation the next day. Nobody from this Academy has failed the POST yet and none of us plan on being the first one. On to week 21. 

Week Sixteen and Seventeen - Recruit Sebastian

Week 16 began bright and early on Monday morning with Sexual Assault Investigations and how to handle them. In the LE profession, these types of cases are referred to as ‘shift killers’ due to amount of time spent on the investigation as well as the questioning of the parties involved. They are also some of the most gruesome, especially if children are involved, and unfortunately not that rare. On Tuesday, we spent half the day on High Risk Vehicle contacts, aka Felony Stops and the rest of the day on some more Arrest Control procedures.
High Risk Vehicle contacts were extremely fun and I have attached some pictures for your pleasure. Not only was communication important, between the officers and towards the suspect, but also the amount of time spent to properly execute them. Towards the end, we were able to see a K9 in action and every time I see them, I am in awe at how well trained and useful in several different scenarios they are. 

The rest of the week was spent mostly in the classroom with a lecture on Driving and some POST review. Friday morning, we were transported to the Law Enforcement memorial at the Colorado State Patrol Academy. There, we honored the fallen officers of Colorado and those that came before us.

Week 17 was entirely devoted to driving at the Denver PD track and the motto near the entrance “You can’t help if you don’t get there” best describes what this week is all about. Most officers are not killed by gunfire or other means, but die during traffic accidents. It was a fun experience and all of us had a great time overall along with sore muscles from picking up conesJ

Every day offered a new challenge and all courses offered a challenge. Most of the time was dedicated to backing and slower, skilled maneuvers. Aside from those, we learned emergency braking, high speed lane changes, and reactionary type drills. I will let the pictures do the talking and show you what you can expect while in the Academy as I am getting more and more busy with preparing for the final POST exam.

Only five more weeks to go; times is really starting to fly by now. 

Week Fifteen - Recruit Sebastian

Monday marked our last day of report writing class. We have come a long way since our first class and most reports are as close to perfect as possible. Also as I have noticed for myself, a report does no longer take almost two hours but closer to about a half an hour now. Our last scenario was a first degree trespass (into a vehicle with a crime committed therein) and it is all coming together. From knowing what questions to ask and what crime to charge all the way to putting it down on paper has become a lot easier altogether.

On Tuesday, we had our last day for firearms as a class. In the morning, we continued to work on how to exit vehicles and engaged a threat. We also shot a variety of different firearms the instructors provided to us and were granted a long lunch which we used to have a small barbecue.

The entire afternoon was spent to figure out who the best shot in the class was; the top gun competition. Congratulations to Recruit DeGesualdo on taking home the price. Wednesday morning we assembled at Red Rocks, not as usual for a ‘butt kicking’ workout, but for our class photo in our department issued class A uniforms. I have to say that as a class we looked sharp in our uniforms. In the afternoon, we learned about SWAT and were able to see a lot of ‘cool’ stuff; e.g. all of the equipment they use.

We finished of the week with simmunitions on Thursday, where we hunted each other around some containers and sustained some bruises. It is as close as training gets for being shot at and despite the sore body parts the next day, was a lot of fun.

The afternoon, at least for my squad, was spent at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds for our last round of Scenario based training. All of us did great and all of us will make great officers at our respective departments. Friday marked test #12 in the early morning followed by a Crowd Control, aka Riot control, lecture and practicals in the afternoon. Only 6 more weeks and a couple of days left until we take our POST exam. 

Week Fourteen - Recruit Sebastian

Week 14

Another exciting week!

On Monday, we were in the classroom and learned about Vehicle Contacts (Traffic stops) and Rapid Emergency Deployment (how to react in case of for example, active shooter scenario). It appears to be similar to building searches; however, it is a lot faster and not as methodical. In the event of an active shooter, our safety is secondary to the preservation of life.

On Wednesday and Friday, we practiced what we had learned in the classroom on Monday and put our skills to the test.
For Thursday, we spent the entire day at the range. For the first time, we were all there together instead of being separated into our respective squads. First, we completed another firearms course before we split up and did a variety of scenarios. At the first station, we continued our training by shooting while moving and were also faced with several shoot/no shoot situations. Afterwards, we trained how to shoot while seated inside a vehicle and how to exit a vehicle as well as engage a threat that was a little further away. Lastly, we dueled against each other for bragging rights on the tactical range with several steel target courses. All in all, it was an exciting and fun week. I took several pictures this week for everyone to enjoy.



Bring on week 15. Only two months to go until graduation.

Weeks Twelve & Thirteen - Recruit Sebastian

Weeks 12 & 13

I have been absent for a week; however, week 12 was rather uneventful. Aside from firearms on Tuesday and Thursday, we spent the entire week in the classroom. During arrest control, we learned how to manipulate our wooden as well as extendable batons. It was extremely fun and we were taught how to defend ourselves should the need arise. Wednesday was entirely contributed to report writing and I can say that it was eye opening as there were only two scenarios, yet there was plenty of paperwork. For the robbery scenario alone, 4 pages of paperwork along with a three page report and separate warrantless arrest affidavit were necessary. When all was said and done, a thirty minute scenario turned into about three hours of paperwork. While you will see a lot of unique things in this profession, most of your time will be spent on documenting what exactly happened. Monday and Friday of week 12 were allocated to Traffic Accident Investigations. There was a lot of information and we all now know how to diagram an accident, calculate skid marks, and reconstruct an accident based on the evidence presented to us at an accident scene.

Week 13 started surprisingly with a refresher on search and seizure on Monday morning with Director Baca due to a scheduling issue. The afternoon was spent learning how to deal with civil disputes. Tuesday began with arrest control in the afternoon for my squad where we continued to work on our baton skills. The evening was once more spent at the range for another night shoot. Some scenarios were thrown in towards the end of class which were more difficult than expected. We had only seconds to decide whether or not to shoot at a given scenario. Everything changes at night and many of us had some trouble to identify what type or if the individual had a weapon.

Wednesday was extremely fun as we got to direct traffic in the morning and early afternoon. After a short stint in the class room, we were thrown to the wolves at a major intersection (South Wadsworth, just south of 6th Avenue) to help out at a ‘malfunctioning’ traffic light. Everyone did a great job (even though some motorists tended to disagree) and we did not cause a major accident. We were also the first academy class that did not receive a complaint from the public. Some pictures of our adventure are attached for your viewing pleasure. Wednesday afternoon marked another day at Red Rocks for a torturous workout courtesy of our Academy staff J.

Thursday ended with some arrest control scenarios and another night shoot. You can start to tell that while there are still small kinks during the various scenarios (forgetting how to properly slap the cuffs on for example due to the adrenaline), we are all improving and starting to even out our personal weaknesses. Oh and before I forget, most of us passed our POST firearms practical with a few exceptions. There was a remedial class for those who did not pass on Saturday and everyone successfully completed the standardize course at that time. Everyone also passed test #11 on Friday and the day ended with us learning about emergency management systems. A rather dry class made fun by the Captain from the West Metro Fire Department.