Week 5—Recruit Bellio

Week Five was the most eventful of the academy thus far. Our week consisted of officer survival, search and seizure, report writing, criminal code, TASER and OC (pepper) spray.

Yes, you read that right- TASER and OC spray in the same week! Given all of the hands-on scenarios this week, we all learned a great deal about our reactions to intense pain and our ability to think on our feet.

We also were entertained by the first frozen recruit uniform shirt of the academy. (If you are reading this recruits- lock your lockers!)

During our second officer survival course on Monday, we continued to review specifics regarding officer safety. While this is a serious subject, our instructors provide plenty of room for humor. For example, we were all treated with an incredible dance (krump) performance by Recruit Schneebeck who thoroughly impressed us all. 

Later during our afternoon scenarios, we had the opportunity to watch each other react to simulated threats. The most memorable reaction goes to Recruit Saunders, who we all thought deserved an award for his dramatic performance shouting “GUN! GUN! GUN! BANG! BANG! BANG!”

Next, on Tuesday we were given cases in which we prepared arguments for either the defense or prosecution in a fictitious court room setting. We all were caught off guard with Recruit Thorsen’s enthusiastic impression of Director Baca, which left the room laughing hysterically. Recruits’ Devito and Monell also gave stellar lawyer-like performances in defense of their cases. As mentioned, each week we learn more about one another, including each other’s unexpected talents.

The week (literally) ended painfully with our TASER and OC spray training. During TASER exposures, we were all able to see the different responses depending on the individual and placement of the probes. A few recruits had entertaining verbal comments, while others reacted with less apparent pain than others. Honorable mentions to Recruits Medina, Sykes, and A. Smith (among others) who took it like a champ!

Like TASER, many recruits also did very well during the OC exposure. Personally, I can admit that being sprayed with OC was the absolute worst pain I have ever experienced. The ability to gain composure and fight through it was a struggle. However, I was overwhelmingly impressed with my fellow recruits’ focused composure and camaraderie during this difficult process.

Saturday evening my fellow recruits and I received an incredibly inspiring email from Recruit Marshall (Arvada PD). I would like to conclude this post with some of his thoughts.

“2016-1, Like some of you, I've sacrificed a lot…to get here…Never before have I had to dig so deep to accomplish a goal. I came into the Academy with clenched fists - braced for a struggle the whole way. I anticipated a bunch of egos with everyone stepping on one another just to get ahead…Then I met you band of misfits…I discovered a ton of support and encouragement in the midst of a group of people just as determined as I was…This past week really brought clarity to the seriousness of what we do. There's something about suffering together that creates a union. We have a common enemy, a common battle, a common cause.
“Getting TASED and pepper sprayed alongside one another develops a peculiar bond between people. In those horrifying helpless moments, priorities get cleared up real quick…Call it after effects of the pepper spray...I just had a few thoughts I wanted to share with my brothers and sisters. So, study hard. Put in the work. Learn to be slow in a hurry. Be sharp. Plan ahead. Chop your own wood. Grind out this process inch by inch. Embrace the suck. Here we are at the beginning of week 6...almost a quarter of the way through. We still have a long haul ahead of us...and I'm honored to walk the path with you.”

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