Week Three - Recruit Sebastian

Week 3 started with all of us in our black long sleeve polo shirts and BDU pants. We all looked extremely sharp even though our attention to detail was once more put to the test when we had some issues during roll call. A misplaced ID and a forgotten black undershirt earned us some air squats to begin the day. A few tips about the uniforms; the polo shirt has to be wrinkle free, the recruit badge needs to be ironed, and the pants need to have a nice firm crease. While we thought the uniforms would be easier to take care of, an all black uniform has the nasty habit of showing every single flaw. Keeping your uniform clean is very important. Once you get out on the street, you do not want to look like a slob when you show up for a call and the instructors have an easy way of teaching you to take on that responsibility (need I say more?). Additionally, for the first time we had to recite our class motto, ‘Strength in Unity’ which won by a landslide vote the week prior.
Aside from being quizzed about the prior days or weeks material during the morning inspection, the material presented in class has become increasingly more difficult. This program is certainly not for the weak hearted. You have to be mentally and physically strong every day and cannot take a day off, including weekends if you want to succeed. Cleaning uniforms and shining boots over the weekend is just as important as studying the prior and sometimes upcoming week’s material.
The week continued with more Criminal Code with some Electives thrown in to change it up. Just when we thought we were safe and able to answer almost every question during morning line-up, Sergeant Koester graciously decided to change it up and ask us about Geography. From the answers, or lack thereof, it was quite obvious that none of the recruits were able to memorize the hundreds of street names in Jefferson County (and surrounding areas) and their assigned numerical value. A little hint, if you can start studying now, do so. That way, you will not end up in the same situation as us. To end this week, I will leave you with a saying from Agent Ruybal; “Even if you do not know the answer, pretend you do. There is nothing worse than being asked a question by a citizen and not knowing the answer”.

Week Two - Recruit Sebastian

We continued to be in suit and tie for men and the equivalent for women. We were all looking forward to Friday, the day our uniforms were supposed to arrive. We are really starting to gel as a team and roll call in the morning is more of a lint roll line-up as most of us have pets at home that love to say goodbye in the morning. A big thank you to Recruit Kuhns, our former Marine Sergeant Major, who was able to whip us into shape in no time during his time as Class Leader. Although we are still in business attire, most of us are wearing our boots. Most of them look great and the spit shine on the toe has to resemble a mirror like finish. Over the weekend, I had to completely strip my boots and start all over as most of the polish cracked in a variety of places. A little hint to those starting the academy soon; start wearing your boots as soon as you get them and then start to apply the spit polish. If you do not, you might be in the same boat as me.

We also had three Wellness sessions this week, which were intense. 150 wall balls, hundreds of push-ups, as well as pull-ups have really taken its toll. There never is a day I do not feel like a truck hit me on the way home. However, it is exactly what I need as I was not in as great of shape I wished I would have been in when I started the Academy. On a side note, make sure you are in the best shape you can be. Prepare yourself physically and do not let that slip during your career. Many officers stop working out after the academy. Not only will it help you when you have to chase down a bad guy, but it will also allow you to enjoy your retirement. Due to the stress of the job, many police officers die from heart attacks and do not even make it to retirement. We also learned during PT that we do not leave our fellow recruits behind and finish together as a team, no matter what.

Aside from teamwork, discipline and attention to detail are very important in the Law Enforcement profession. Throughout the day we get little reminders in the form of push-ups and/or air squats to remind us of that fact. For the classroom, we continued at lightning speed and touched on subjects such as Search and Seizures, Community Policing, and Ethics. Some days, I feel like my head is going to explode with all of the information we have to fit in there in such a short period of time. At the same time, the instructors as well as your classmates are always willing and prepared to help should you need a hand.

Friday marked the second test and suffice it to say that all of us passed. Friday also marked the day that we would wear our business attire for the last time. All of our Academy uniforms and PT gear came. All of us were like little kids on Christmas morning when we unpacked all of our new stuff. Moreover, the instructors appointed new class leaders and squad leaders. We also came up with an award, which we found abandoned in a park during our Community Policing field trip. We decided to name it for all intensive purposes ‘The Captain Obvious Award’. You can all probably figure out to whom such a prestigious honor would be bestowed upon. 2 weeks down, 20 to go. 

Week One - Recruit Sebastian

I would like to start by introducing myself and telling you a little about my background. I was born in Germany and somehow ended up in upstate New York about 8 years ago. I completed my undergraduate studies there at a small Liberal Arts College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. While in school and over the summer time, I worked as a lifeguard, but ultimately ended up in Colorado. Here, I worked for a private investigative company over the last three years, but was finally able to fulfill my dream of going into law enforcement. After applying to half a dozen agencies I was graciously accepted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office; an opportunity I could not turn down.

Our first day was January 13, 2014 and all 47 of us, entering law enforcement from all walks of life, were on time and ready to go at 7:30 a.m. I was a little worried as I missed an orientation day the week prior due to my son being born; however, the other recruits filled me in right away. The nervousness and uncertainty of what the next 22 weeks would bring was visible in every recruits face. We all decided to enter this profession and knew when we signed on the dotted line that not only the hiring process, but also what came after would not be an easy road. While the majority of recruits are from Lakewood PD and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, we also have representatives from Arvada PD, Littleton PD, Wheat Ridge PD, Golden PD, Lone Tree PD, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The first week was all about getting to know each other and figuring out what to do. We were introduced to the Criminal Justice process, had our “Wellness Test” (it was not pleasant), and had our first test on Friday. As a bonus, on Friday afternoon, we had our first taste of what to expect of the Colorado Criminal Code. I do not want to give away too much, but there is a lot you need to know and learn. Director Baca is extremely knowledgeable and certainly knows the Criminal Code inside and out. For all you Harry Potter fans out there, I would refer to Director Baca as the ‘Grand Wizard of Law’ (I hope he does not mind). That should do it for the first week.