Week 19--Recruit Fratto

Week 19 started with our PT challenge up at Red Rocks. I wish I could explain the workout; however the instructors would like that I keep it a secret for the next class that comes though. What I can tell you is that it was a series of 11 exercises that lasted anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on your pace. 

Congratulations to Recruit Brennan for not only winning the challenge, but also setting the academy record! Also congratulations to the entire class! We have all come a long way from the beginning, and all improved our physical fitness levels dramatically. We have also displayed phenomenal teamwork throughout all of the workouts and never let anyone finish alone.

Wednesday – Friday we started our 24 hours on Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). We learned a lot in three days regarding different drugs and alcohol that can impair you, and how to tell the difference between them. SFST is a standardized system used throughout the country that has a lot of statistical backing for getting positive results. So, my suggestion to those out there that want to drink and drive: DON’T. You will eventually get caught, and even if you can pass the walk and turn, or the one leg stand, “the eyes don’t lie.” 

We learned that thoroughly throughout our wet lab on Friday. For those of you who don’t know what a wet lab is, it’s when we have certain individuals come in to drink for a couple of hours so that we can get a hands-on, real-life approach to SFSTs. A lot of the individuals who volunteered weren’t even over the legal limit, and you could see a significant loss in motor skills already. So again, if you plan on a night of drinking, please find a ride.  

Drinking and driving affects so many lives. One of those lives was a guest speaker that we had named Devin Butler. Devin was a 15-year-old kid riding his bike to school one morning when a 19-year-old who was drunk and high hit him at 7 o’clock in the morning. Devin has gone through multiple surgeries, is paralyzed from the armpits down, and will never do the things he loved for the rest of his life. His life was basically taken away from him.

Friday also brought another side of law enforcement to learn….. court! Four of the recruits watched a video on a DUI stop, and had to write a report on the stop. We then went over to the Jefferson County Courthouse where they got a taste of what it was like to testify. It was a great experience for not only them, but for us watching. It really emphasized how important details are in our reports, and how to stay cool, calm, and collected during our testimony.

Week 19 is down and only 14 class days until graduation!

Week 18 – Recruit Fratto

Week 18 started out relatively quiet and ended with a lot of anxiety and hate towards a certain item we will be carrying on our belts. That item I speak of is our O.C. Spray (pepper spray) and Friday was our O.C. Practical where we get sprayed.

Monday through Wednesday we had three full class days on crime scenes. Everything from photography to DNA collection to fingerprinting and sketching out a crime scene. We were given such a wealth of information that I hope I can retain it all when I get thrown into that situation. Crime scenes are somewhat difficult, you have to be careful of what you track in and out so that you don't contaminate the scene. The last thing you want as an officer is to let a suspect run free because you contaminated the scene, and that evidence wasn't admissible in court.

Thursday was our first review for the P.O.S.T. Test. (Peace Officers Standards and Training) Like I said in the previous blog, we received our study guides--all 300 + pages of it--and are all hard at work getting in as much time as possible. I was quite nervous at first, as I was scoring below what I thought I should be on the practice tests. But as Director Baca says “repetition is the key to success.” He was right. After getting through the study guide a couple times, my test scores dramatically improved and so did my confidence on taking this test. As of today, the test is only 23 days away, and all the recruits can't wait to score well, and move on to their respective agencies.

So, as I stated above, Friday was O.C. Day. I think it is a great thing that we get exposure to our Tasers, and O.C. It helps us articulate in court that, “yes” we do know how it feels, and that it was reasonable and appropriate for us to us that tool. Also if our tool is ever turned against us, we can articulate why we had to use a force above that to protect our lives. 

Now back in Week 1, I marked two dates on the calender. One was Taser Day and the second was O.C. Day. There is always a debate about which one is worse, and that is still debated throughout our class. But I can honestly say that I would take the Taser any day over getting sprayed! The Taser is over in 5 seconds, but being sprayed is truly “the gift that keeps on giving!” My face felt on fire for hours after my exposure, and just when I thought I was in the clear, my shower reactivated the O.C.! So the conclusion is that I'll take the Taser any day over O.C. Spray.

Only 22 days until the P.O.S.T. Exam, and 24 days til graduation. This Academy had really flown by, and before we know it we will be getting our badges pinned on, and getting on with our careers!

Weeks 16 and 17--Recruit Fratto

First off I want to apologize for taking another week off without a post. I have been studying and preparing for the four tests I have in Week 17. Next week we have our Arrest Control physical test, written test, ASP test and our regular Week 17 test. Needless to say I have had my hands full! Well, enough with the excuses and on to Week 16. 

Monday started with Director Baca’s review on the C.R.S. He takes what we learned in six weeks and condenses it down to a 15-page packet that he covers in four hours! We are starting to get into the “play-offs” according to Director Baca, and have to start studying for the P.O.S.T. exam.

On Tuesday we went over to the Colorado Mills Mall once again for vehicle stops. This time our instructors taught us about high risk traffic stops, also known as felony stops. Even knowing that these are practical exercises, it still gets your adrenaline going during these stops. These are the calls that officers get excited for! It is the opportunity to get a very bad person off the streets.  One good tip for recruits following our class: put your car in park. If not, it will drive away and hit a wall! One of our recruits learned that lesson the hard way. Good thing it was a Lakewood car and not a Jeffco car! I’m kidding on the last part, and thankfully it didn't do any damage, but according to squad ‘B’ it was quite comical and a great learning point.

We ended the week with the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. This year the memorial hit home a little bit more for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. This year Sergeant Dave Baldwin was honored at the memorial. For those readers who don’t know what happened to Sergeant Baldwin, here is the link on the Officer Down Memorial Page:


I unfortunately didn't get to meet Sergeant Baldwin, but from what I heard from other Jeffco deputies and officers from departments all over the metro area, he was a phenomenal officer. He is the type of cop that anyone would love to mold their career around. My condolences to the Baldwin family. Sergeant Baldwin is a true hero and was a great police officer. It was truly an amazing feeling to be a part of the memorial. For the first time I think we as a class felt a part of something bigger. All year there is a separator between the recruits and our instructors, but here we were all dressed in our Class ‘A’ uniforms, and here as one to honor the great officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. It was a great ending to the week, and I am so honored to be a part of this profession.

Week 17 started out with our driving lecture. This is one portion of the curriculum that I am very excited to get into. From age 13 to 19 I raced all around the county and in Canada in a sprint car. This isn't the same thing as racing, but any chance I get to drive cars and improve my skills is greatly welcomed. I am hoping to help Jeffco take home the trophy for the best driver! Sergeant Baughman did warn us that there was a recruit who raced last class, and that he tried going for the record, and ended up messing up. So we have to make sure to focus on technique, and not try to beat the records and the speed will come smoothly. The unfortunate thing is that we don’t drive until Week 21, so this lecture was just a tease of what is to come.  

Like I stated in my previous blog, this week is really all about Arrest Control testing. We have been studying, and perfecting Arrest Control tactics for the last nine weeks, and are about as ready as we can be to test out. Everyone truly looked great during testing, and I would feel completely safe having anyone of my fellow recruits helping me on the street. It feels really good to get another skill completed, and now only having driving and our P.O.S.T. exam to concentrate on.

Oh yeah, and did I mention next week we get sprayed with O.C. spray? I am dreading this far more than I did the Taser. The Taser at least stops after our 5-second hit whereas the O.C. spray lingers all night. I joked with a few of the recruits that I can’t even get shampoo in my eyes with wanting to cry, so needless to say I am regretting that day!

The week ended with our 13th weekly test. Only two more weekly tests to go, and 32 days until our P.O.S.T. test! It is all downhill from here!