Week 14 was by far one of the most fun weeks I have had through this point in the academy. On Monday we spent the day in the class room as we learned about Rapid and Immediate Deployment (or RAID for short) and High-Risk Traffic Stops. While it is a lot like our lessons on building searches, the strategy behind RAID tactics is simple; swiftly locate and stop a threat to society.
The development of RAID has been brought on by several heinous acts our state and country have endured. Like many things we learn in the academy, I am grateful to have this knowledge and tool to add to my repertoire, but pray that I never have to call upon it. That being said, I am confident that every single one of my fellow recruits and current officers would not waiver when answering the call.
Tuesday brought a normal work day as we split in our groups and spent half the day either at the gun range with Deputy Hoffman and Sergeant Greer or practicing arrest control with Agent Beers. It is amazing to see the kind of progress we have made as a class in both of these incredibly important aspects of becoming an officer.
On Wednesday, we were able to utilize what we learned on Monday about traffic stops and practice pulling over cars, communicating to dispatch on the radio and contacting drivers. Turning on the lights and sirens of the squad cars was exactly as exciting as I had expected. Even though communicating on the radio at first proved to be awkward, practicing all day helped me to become much more confident in my abilities.
Thursday was new as the whole class gathered on the gun range for a full day of firearm practice and competition. While half of the class spent the morning practicing our normal skills, the other half either competed against each other on the tactical range or learned how to properly exit a vehicle and engage a threat. On the tactical range we were paired against each other to see who could knock down the most steel targets the fastest.
Up to this point we have primarily worked on accuracy, so it great to see recruits take out targets quickly. While I personally cannot ever beat Recruit Stiltner head to head, as a team we proved to be unstoppable. A special congratulations to Recruit Lovato who--never touching a gun before the academy--kept practicing and giving all her effort in order to pass the POST required test on her final attempt. It is this kind of diligence and focus that embodies the kind of officer we are all striving to become.
As a side note, I would like to thank Volunteer R. Okada. On our time at the range, we have had many instructors who have helped us develop our skills and confidence but none who have brought the kind of joyfulness he has to what is otherwise a very stressful environment. Thursday marked his last day helping us and I am honored to have spent time with him.
On Friday, we teamed up with Jefferson County SWAT and practiced RAID techniques in an abandoned building in Westminster. The members of SWAT have been incredibly supportive and encouraging during our time together, and this was again apparent as we ran through scenarios during the day. As I mentioned before, the type of instruction we receive in the Combined Regional Academy is of the highest caliber and JeffCo SWAT certainly exemplifies these qualities.
Next week, we are all excited to spend the entire week learning how to drive in the squad cars!!