Week Eleven - Recruit Sebastian

What can I say other than that we made it to the halfway point of the Academy. This week we were only in the classroom for a single day on Friday. While the first few weeks seemed to last forever, time is really  starting to fly by right now and I have no idea where the time went. Most of the time, I have no idea what date it is or what is going on in the world aka the news; however, I know that in the end it will be all worth it.

On Monday, my squad went to Creighton Middle School and utilized their facility to conduct building searches. During the morning hours, we learned the basics and found out that in most instances, speed kills in these types of situations. For the most part, we did really well.

When it was all said and done, it took about two hours to search about a quarter of the school. Should you ever be dispatched to a burglar alarm at a school, you can imagine that you would spent about half your shift thoroughly searching the building.

Tuesday marked our first night/dim lighting shoot. We had a late start in the afternoon with ground fighting, and it did not feel right since we had all gotten into a routine. The night shoot was fun and we were taught how to manipulate our firearms with a flashlight.

Furthermore, we shot in complete darkness and since I did not have night sights, I missed the target quite often despite the muscle memory. I would say a little investment in night sights is in order.

Wednesday, we were dispatched to the Heritage Center in Lakewood for in-progress calls. It is all starting to come together and we are all well versed in how to handle a variety of calls. Although we are by no means perfect, we can see it all come together. There were still some screw-ups, but that is to be expected and overall we were all happy with our performance.

On Thursday afternoon, my group went to Sheriff's Office headquarters where we trained with a simulator (If anyone has a few grand lying around I now would know what to invest it in) and went back to basics when we trained with dummy rounds. The simulator has several different programs including several shoot or no shoot scenarios. Based on your responses, the program can choose from a variety of outcomes and reacts to your commands. It was fun and did not feel anything like work. At night, we wrapped up ground fighting and got to put our skills to the test when we wrestled with the instructors.

Friday ended with test number 10 (everyone passed) and our first workout at Red Rocks (while I am writing this on a Sunday morning, I still cannot stand upright). The workout was great and everybody did extremely well. We have come a long way since the start of the Academy and everybody is getting in great shape. Friday afternoon ended with a four hour block on crimes against children. It was a difficult class to sit through, especially now that I am a parent myself. The pictures made your blood boil, even for those of us who do not yet have kids. It gave us something to think about over the weekend and the first thing I did when I came home that night was hug my new baby boy. On to the second half of the Academy.

Week Ten - Recruit Sebastian

Monday began with a whole day of lectures. The covered topics consisted of Death and other Major Crime Scene Investigations. We learned how to secure a crime scene and what to look for when deciding whether a crime actually occurred.  From homicide, to suicide, and accidental deaths; several factors go into the decision making process that determine if the Crime Scene Investigation Unit is warranted. After death, the body goes through several stages, which can help determine the time of the person’s passing. Depending on the body’s rigor (stiffness) and lividity (settling of the blood), the time of death can be narrowed down to several hours, but in most cases days.

 The afternoon was spent on building searches. There are several factors that go into searching a building and as you can imagine, they are very dangerous. Hopefully, for next week’s blog, I will have several pictures from the practical. The most interesting part of that class was when we got to see the K9’s in action. I cannot say much but that they were fascinating to observe.

Tuesday and Thursday were once more spent on the range and with arrest control. For firearms, we were thrown into scenarios and let’s just say, we did not do too well with the added pressure/stress. We paid with running up and down the hill, several pushups as well as burpees. That was a small price to pay as if it were real life there would be a whole slew of different consequences. Arrest control consisted of a review of the previous week’s skills and Thursday, my group spent the afternoon at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds with drill training. We were confronted with several low key scenarios and had to apply our arrest control skills that we had learned this far.

Wednesday was another day of lectures in the morning, with a wellness lab at noon. We did the fitness test from our first week of class, and the gains everyone made were enormous. Everybody is getting in great shape and stronger by the week. We were released early on that day, but came back at night for Family night. It was great to see everybody’s significant other and family members, and although there was not much time, I think everyone enjoyed it. Friday, imagine that, there was no test but just another day of lecture. The afternoon was spent going over handling In-progress calls and another wellness lab. Next week will be interesting as we will only be in class on Friday and have practicals for the rest of the week. On to week 11 and the half way point in the Academy.

Week Nine - Recruit Sebastian

Week 9 started on Monday with an 8-hour class on the Colorado State Traffic Code. There are so many laws and regulations that the traffic code makes the Criminal Code look small in comparison, but the instructors made the day fly by. On Wednesday, we learned about gangs and had another report writing class. Friday marked test number 9 as well as classes governing the investigation of burglaries, assaults, and robberies. Tuesday and Thursday were allocated to Firearms and Arrest Control. My squad got hammered by a snow storm on the range Tuesday, but Thursday was a different story. As promised, I will let the pictures do the talking for the rest of this week’s blog.

Week Eight - Recruit Sebastian

Well I was going to pretty much let all the pictures I tookthroughout the week do the talking for week 8; however, my computer decided to delete all of the pictures I took. As a result, I will write some more about what happened this week and try the pictures again next week.

For this week, we were in the classroom for all of Monday. We learned about pedestrian contacts and how to handle them, what questions to ask, and what we can and cannot do. Depending on whether we just want to talk to somebody (consensual contact), have reasonable suspicion, or probable cause, dictates the actions we can take. On Wednesday, we took what we learned and put them to the test in a controlled environment. We were faced with several scenarios where current police officers played the roles of the ‘bad guys’. To put it lightly, it was quite the experience. For me, I found myself second guessing my decisions a lot and at times had trouble carrying on a casual conversation. Additionally, it was challenging to apply all of the search techniques and arrest control tactics we had learned so far in a ‘real life environment’. I realized that I still have a lot to learn, but that it will eventually all come together. The key words here are being prepared, rehearse possible scenarios, and practice; then practice some more.

On Tuesday and Thursday, we continued with firearms and arrest control. It is all starting to come together and you can tell that everyone is really improving, especially in the marksmanship category. We shot from about 15 yards out and I do not think anyone in my group missed the target once. Moreover, we continued with firearm fundamentals and malfunction drills. Thursday, we also shot some steel targets(instant gratification clings) and learned to shoot from several different prone positions as well as to shoot from behind cover. In arrest control, we honed and reiterated our cuffing and control skills and were introduced to all the different pressure points that are located in several positions throughout the human body.

On Friday, we had our 8th test and everybody passed. Five recruits even had a perfect score. Friday ended with another wellness lab and unfortunately, we lost another recruit due to medical issues. We all hope he will be back with one of the next academy classes once his issues have been resolved and wish him the very best. We are almost half way to graduation; on to week 9.