The night before I began the academy I remember pacing around, trying to make sure I had everything ready to go. I think my dad could tell how stressed out I was, as he repeatedly told me to relax. Those who know me well recognize that I am generally a pretty high-strung person, so when I am actually stressed out it can be concerning.
While I was somewhat nervous, I was also really excited. All of my family members who have gone through public safety academies told me how much fun it was, and that it is a time you will never forget. Looking back on the last 22 weeks, I can attest that the academy has been a memorable time that I will always be grateful for.
There seemed to be three main phases in the academy. The first four or five weeks of the academy consisted of what I would call the “get it together” phase. This was when we were all figuring out the rules, forgetting things, getting to know each other, and working on self-discipline in general. Getting my daily routine down the first few weeks was the hardest part of the academy for me (in addition to learning how to shine my boots).
The second phase felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants, in the sense that we were constantly busy. We started our skills including arrest control and firearms, and we also had a variety of scenarios that made the days fly by. These weeks were incredibly fun, and I am disappointed they went by so quickly. Early in the academy Director Baca was correct in stating, “if you like to fly by the seat of your pants, you’re in the right place”.
In the final weeks of the academy, we have all honed in on our study skills to prepare for the final POST test. All of us have been devoted our study guides for weeks now, and are anxious to get the state exam out of the way. Prior to the academy, I had no idea just how much knowledge we would obtain. Regarding academics, there was a lot more work ahead of me than I anticipated. When I feel like I can’t possibly study anymore my mantra has been: “The price of excellence is discipline. The price of mediocrity is disappointment.” –William Arthur Ward
I have learned so much from this experience, both collectively and individually. The most important thing I have taken away from the last 22 weeks is that working as a team is crucial for this setting. If one of us fails, we all fail. Since we are all “type A” personalities, I quickly learned that none of us like having to ask for help, which is why operating as a team (no questions asked) is necessary. Additionally, being consistent was a personal goal I had from day one that I am glad I was able to accomplish. There were weeks that were more challenging that others, but being consistent regarding performance and effort is immensely important in this profession.
Three major memories come to mind if I had to sum up the highlights. First, Director Baca’s criminal code classes will always be a fond memory for recruits’. His stories (all of which are true) are unbelievable and hilarious which helped us remember the dense content of the criminal code. The worst memory I have is the day we were OC sprayed. As many recruits remember, I immediately got dizzy and could not see, and then ran into the large metal conex (storage container) behind me. Not so amusing at the time, but very funny looking back. I will always be thankful to have Recruit Mohr by my side that day to help me through it.
My two favorite activities during the academy were simunition scenarios and driving. Going one-on-one with two of our best shooters (Recruit Alonso and Recruit Medina) with simunition rounds was intimidating but incredibly fun. Both six round shoot-outs ended with a big hug and apologies for pelting one another. Lastly, I will never forget owning the reverse serpentine, k-turns, and lane changes during driving week with my partner in crime Recruit K. Smith.
It is difficult to end this lengthy blog post because there is so much more I could include… In closing, I want to say thank you to staff and instructors for their endless effort; thank you to my family and friends for their patience and support; and thank you to my fellow recruits for having my back, day in and day out. I am grateful beyond words.