Week Seven - Recruit Sebastian

Week 7 – To mirandize or not to mirandize

We started Monday with another report writing class. This time, we responded to a burglary call, which ultimately ended in the arrest of the suspect. Most of us did a great job with asking the right questions and making the arrest accordingly; however, the majority of us still do not know when or when not to mirandize. While we got the necessary information, Miranda still gives us a headache. There is a fine line between questioning a suspect before arrest and at what point he is actually detained. While we are allowed to make mistakes in a classroom setting, and most everybody will at one point in time, it is a totally different story to do it in real life. Not only do you not want to infringe on somebody’s rights, but you also do not want to have a guilty person walk free because you screwed up. Monday afternoon marked another “Wellness lab” and suffice it to say, it kicked our butts. One word; ‘Murph’. If you do not know what the workout entails, google it and watch the movie Lone Survivor, which is based on his last mission in Afghanistan before he was killed.

 Tuesday and Thursday were range and arrest control days. There are times I cannot believe I get paid to shot somebody else’s ammunition and to handcuff as well as wrestle with people. All of us are truly blessed to have been given this opportunity. On Tuesday, my group started with arrest control in the morning and we learned several control holds and cuffing techniques. In the afternoon, we drove out to the range and fired live ammunition for the first time. The temperature was in the teens and even hand warmers could not keep our hands warm long enough. Even though all of us had fun, I think my core temperature dropped about 20 degrees and my hands felt like icicles. Thursday morning was a different story and we got to shoot about 200 rounds at varying distances. Deputy Hoffman, the range master, gave us different scenarios of where and from how far out to shoot. He also threw in some malfunction drills to change it up towards the end of the day. Arrest control continued in the afternoon. My wrists were on fire and my shoulders felt like jello. We all had fun twisting and contorting each other, but all went home with several bruises and sore arms.

Wednesday was all about Domestic Violence. The subject is a huge problem in this day and age and one of the most difficulty as well as dangerous calls we as future LE officers will have to face. Detectives Turnbull and McKone both did an incredible job and made it easy to follow and understand the class. Their experience and humor with a difficult subject made the day fly by. Well, the day flew by except for all the extra runs, burpees, and push-ups we had to do as a class. This week, the kids gloves came off and our continued little screw-ups really cost us. We have all became a little too complacent, which is a death sentence for people in law enforcement, and the instructors showed us once more that this is unacceptable.

Friday marked another test (#7, but who is counting) and a Rules of Evidence class by Director Baca. The material continues to amplify the difficulty and firearms mixed in with arrest control have increased the amount of information we need to know and master. Spending another hour on Tuesday to clean our firearms really messed with my weekly routine. Practicing the perfect trigger pull every day and arresting my wife (thanks hun) to learn arrest control techniques have only made the weekdays longer and more difficult. I think I have rambled on enough for week 7 and hope to have a lot of pictures for next week’s blog.

Week Six - Guest Blog Recruit Martin

Good Evening!

I’m Recruit Martin, and I’m filling out the blog for week 6 of our Academy. I’ll give you some quick background on myself. I grew up here in the foothills of Colorado and just recently graduated from CSU. I was hired by Jefferson County Sheriff on my last day of college. Before this, I was a wildland firefighter in Colorado.

This is our first week of true excitement! We got to be out of the classroom and use our skills!

We started out by finishing up our criminal code classes (but don't get confused, we'll be studying that until we graduate in June). Agent Collett taught us about what narcotics look like once we get to the field. He is a great teacher and a perfect role model for us for traffic stops.

We got to start our firearms and arrest control classroom material. We went over some technicalities from our classroom chairs, but with our belts on; one more step towards feeling more professional! Then on Wednesday we headed to the Fairgrounds to practice our Arrest Control. We went through stretching and warm ups as well as techniques to get subjects to cooperate and sit down. The hands-on material gives us a little sneak peek into dealing with difficult individuals and I can’t wait to learn more techniques!!

We got out our weapons on Thursday and started to do a lot of dry fires. We went through a bunch of skills on drawing from holsters and safety precautions. We were given our dummy rounds and we're all ecstatic to get some real lead through our weapons - (next week is going to be even better with days on the range!). The practical exercises teach us so many different things (lucky me, that's the way I learn best, by watching and doing).

We have had several physical training opportunities for forgotten uniform items and speaking out of turn. This is a key thing to learn in the academy for our future careers. It is important to know when to speak, but it is also important to know when to just listen. Paying attention to the little details is very important. In the academy, it may seem like a nonchalant task, but in our careers it could be the difference between life and death.

PT is becoming more difficult because with all the new added activities, we are having fewer wellness labs at the Academy and we need to do more work on our own. This is where all that time management we've been working on comes in handy! There are a handful of us with injuries, but we’re all focused and ready to keep moving forward.

Here’s to another week of excitement,

Strength in Unity!

Week Five - Guest Blog by Recruit Martinez

Week 5 served as a continuance of the importance of discipline.  The idea of discipline served a number of roles this week.  First, as a recruit, it is paramount to be disciplined in your studies.  The material being taught is to our benefit in the long term.  Morning formation showed that in covering Criminal Code.  The specific material that we were quizzed on was covered a number of days previous, therefore the recollection of that material seemed more difficult.  It was important for us to stay disciplined in our studies as the week went on, to be able to recall that information in formation as well as for the Friday test. 

Discipline also showed its importance in our daily preparation.  Missing ID cards afforded us the opportunity for another infamous learning lesson.  Physical exercise is always the best way for us to be reminded that all equipment is necessary every day.  It becomes less of a matter of the person who did not bring their equipment, and more a matter of assuring you prepared to start the day.  The discipline comes into play in forming habits.  At the end of the day, regardless of how tired we are, it pays to make sure all of our equipment for the next day is present.

As if we needed more examples of the necessity of discipline, we were afforded yet another opportunity.  One recruit was pulled over for speeding near the Academy on their way home.  It was a first, therefore the punishment was more egregious.  Normally when we are punished, we get to go see what color the stop light is.  This time, we were tasked with finding out what the posted speed limit was.  What better way to do so than to go for a nice run?  On our first attempt, we tried to read into what was asked of us and find any speed limit sign.  This was not exactly what staff had in mind, therefore we got to go on a much longer run to find what it was where the recruit was stopped.  For those of you unfamiliar with the area of the Academy, it sits atop a series of hills.  The run down is not so bad, however the run back up is a bit more challenging in our boots.  The run served as another opportunity in teamwork.  Everyone stays together and everyone finishes together.  Attempt two was a success.

Week 5 concluded with another test.  Unfortunately, one of our fellow recruits would not continue onto week seven with us.  Down one from the original group, we were all served with a dose of reality.  It is not easy to see someone go.  Personally, I learned that we are all an integral part in, not only our own success, but that of our fellow recruits.

Week Four - Recruit Sebastian

Week 4 began with a sobering reminder of the risk we as future law enforcement officers will be taking on a daily basis. Monday was the memorial service for Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sergeant David Baldwin, who lost his life the week prior during a traffic accident, in the line of duty, while serving his community. For those that have never been to an officer’s memorial, it was quite an experience. Aside from our Academy class and nearly 400 Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies, hundreds of officers from all over Colorado attended the ceremony. The family spoke during the memorial and made a statement that most of us should follow on a daily basis. “Live every day as if it is your last and always kiss your family goodbye due to the inherent risk that comes with your job”. Sergeant Baldwin was honored and remembered by many; his selfless service speaks for itself and although we did not get know him personally, Sergeant Baldwin was the kind of person each and every one of us aspires to become. The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute, a several mile long caravan of police cruisers, and an early release for the class after a heart wrenching day.

For the rest of the week, we continued with Criminal Code and appropriately an Officer Survival class. The class really hit home and the numerous videos of officers dying and being seriously injured in the line of duty made you seriously reflect on our chosen profession. We ended the week with another test and some report writing, with some smaller real life scenarios thrown in.   
Sergeant Beaulieu was impressed with how we presented ourselves this week and treated us to a round of donuts (I know stereotype, right?).

One tip; do not get into an argument with a drunk person and most importantly do not smile or laugh at him.

Additionally, unless you want to carry ‘Veronica’ with you all day, do not fall asleep during class.