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Thread: BLETC - GA Academy
09-25-2004, 12:36 #1
BLETC - GA Academy
I just finished my 2nd week in the academy and have jotted down some of my experiences for those who care to read...
The first day could be summed up with "what the hell did I do this for?" I got home and when my wife asked me how it went, I told her "You know, I used to work from home, with graphic design and web development all day." But, the ends will justify the means and the week did improve.
All the thoughts that I had earlier of it being such a cool job, being able to carry a gun, drive the car, and wear the uniform, etc have worn off after the first day. It was immediately shown just how serious of a job it was and what exactly we were getting ourselves into. The instructors want us to realize just what we are getting into and how important of a job it really is.
There are also a lot of people in the academy this time around, most likely because it is the last class this year (next class starts in January). There are about 56 people divided into 2 classes so I am sure they want to weed out some folks. I believe there have been 4 people to drop or be dropped this first week.
Before I get going, let me just say, that I have a much deeper respect for those who have served in the military, fire departments, police, or any other service field where the requirements were similar to boot camp or the paramilitary structure of a police academy. Maybe some people can breeze through it, but I know that I will have to work for it and maybe it will mean a little more to me because of that. To those who have gone through similar training, I salute you.
The first day was probably one of the roughest, if for anything the confusion of never being in such an evironment. All recruits met at Tara Stadium and were bussed into the academy on a prison transport bus. Of course there were 2 recruits who couldnâ€™t read the letter and decided to drive directly to the academy. Upon exiting the bus we were immediately confronted with the instructors who were yelling at us. To make a long story short, the day consisted of filling out paperwork, clearing away any medical issues, having the EMTs take our heart rate and blood pressure before and after exercise, getting our uniforms and having 3 minutes to change into them, getting our study materials, and running in and out of several rooms at a high rate of speed.
We are required to carry everything in our non-weapon hand, no matter how much stuff we have or how heavy it is. It is difficult to get used to but it trains you to leave that hand free to protect yourself as needed. This past Friday was tough because we had our PORT (peace officers reference text) which is a giant 3 ring binder, the OCGA (Georgia law & codes), another smaller notebook that we take notes with, our â€œcanteenâ€ (a 12 ounce water bottle), our cover, our rain gear, and our PT gear (1 sweatshirt, 2 t-shirts, and 1 pair of sweatpants). It was a little difficult to hold all of that in my left hand and still stand at a position of attention.
We also started â€œhydration trainingâ€ which I can see being difficult for some people in the class. We were required to bring a 12 ounce bottle of water with us and have it filled. Upon leaving the formation and going to class we had to have the bottle finished by the time we were placed on break by the classroom instructor. Each time we went on break we were to have the water finished and fill it back up again. Now me, I can hold it all day if I have to, but some people cannot so I guess it is good practice for them.
The physical aspect has been difficult for me as well. Many have told me that you are not dropped because of physical aspects as long as you give it 110% and improve, however, that does not make the exercise any easier. I lost a total of 40 pounds before day 1 of the academy and the exercises are still very tough for me. I never wanted to be the slowest or the one who everyone felt wasn't trying.
We are required to park a certain way in the parking lot and be in formation around 0715. There is a â€œGuideâ€ appointed to each class goes inside the front door and informs the Staff Duty Officer that we are formed up and accounted for. They give the guides our instructions and we typically place our books in the classroom and then get in formation in another room. After we do some exercise, and take care of any business that needs to be taken care of, we go to the upstairs classroom for instruction. The instructors have been great and I am glad that we have a different instructor each day. They are all top notch people and I have enjoyed hearing what they have to say.
Our first test is this coming Monday and it will cover such topics as criminal procedure, GA criminal law, arrest warrants, etc. I am going to spend this weekend relaxing a bit and studying a lot.
1 week down, 9 to goâ€¦
09-25-2004, 12:38 #2
If you would have asked me last week if I made the right decision getting into the academy, I might have hesitated with an answer. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said yes. This week, though more physically demanding, was much more positive than the previous one. To begin, more people have dropped, and I think the total number of people now is sitting around 49. One person was even arrested. The Lt. told us that on Thursday morning and from what the other recruits have heard it was for aggravated sodomy. However, I do not know for sureâ€¦
Last Friday we were issued our PT gear, which consists of 1 pair of sweatpants, 2 t-shirts, and 1 sweatshirt. As we were leaving that day, I thought my left arm would go numb and fall off. I mentioned that we have to carry everything in our non-weapon hand. So that last Friday, I had my PORT (peace officers reference text) which is this 2.5â€ binder, my other 1â€ notebook we use to take notes, the OCGA (code book of GA) which is about 2â€ thick, my rain gear (since it had been raining that morning), and all of my PT gear in my left hand. I still have some bruising on my arm from holding all this stuff!
Despite losing weight, exercising, and trying to physically prepare for the academy, every day I feel out of shape given the level of the exercises that we are doing. Each day I am pushed to my limit and beyond. Plus, instead of being in formation at 0715 or 0730, we are required to be there at 0630.
Monday we had a PT test where we did push-ups, sit-ups, and a timed 2 mile run. Tuesday and Thursday, we started â€œpartner assistedâ€ exercises where the person in front of you would get down on their hands and knees and you would have to get in the pushup position with your feet resting on their back so that your body was elevated. We did standard push-ups, wide grip push-ups, and diamond cutter push-ups like this. We also did sit-ups, crunches, and a few other assisted exercises until muscle failure. After that, we moved outside and did Indian sprints, where the first 2 people of each formation would sprint about 25 â€“ 30 yards to the other building, touch the door, and sprint back. Wednesday and Friday was more running at the Clayton County Water Authority reserve. Friday was probably the toughest. We started with each class on either side of the road in a single file line and began at a jog-like pace. The Lt. would say â€œgoâ€ and the last 2 people from each formation would run to the front of the line as fast as they could. We continued that for the 2 miles around the track. The best part about that was to show the Lt. how motivated we were, we were hollering and supporting each person that was running. That support made the run shorter and easier.
We also had our first written exam on Monday. Not sure if I mentioned it but every Monday we have a written exam. If you fail to score higher than a 70% on more than 3 you are automatically dropped from the academy. Thankfully, I scored higher than a 70%. The test covered criminal procedures, GAâ€™s 16-codes (criminal codes), courts, pre-trial identification, and a few other topics. I really wondered how I did on that test and when the grades were posted I was extremely thankful that I was not one of the ones who failed it. After seeing some of the scores, I really think that these written tests will weed even more people out. Most of the classroom time has been interesting. We are learning the base material right now, such as criminal code and procedures, officer ethics and liability, community policing, etc, etc. but we should move into more advanced topics soon enough.
The Lt. is continually teaching us unity and responsibility for one another. We are now required to carry a small 3x5 memo notepad in our left shirt pocket. Well, when he makes us do push-ups and other exercises during the day when we mess up, sometimes that notepad falls out. When he says â€œon your feetâ€ you have 3 seconds to get up and be standing at attention with your gear in your non-weapon hand. One guy in the other class had left his water bottle and notepad on the floor. The Lt. walked by and kicked the water bottle into the hallway and picked up his notepad and started tearing pages out of it throwing them on the ground. He then dismissed the classes to go upstairs for more classroom time. When we came back for a break, the floor was covered with those pages and also those little white dots that are leftover from using a 3-hole punch. He made us get down on all fours and clean up everything while telling us the importance of keeping control over our equipment.
Another example was our keys. We are not allowed to have anything in our pockets, including our keys, so at the beginning of the day we put them in a key box outside of the downstairs classrooms. Apparently the door to the key box was not closed properly so when we got back from break one day all of our keys were on the floor in the middle of the room. He lectured us about that and then made us do more push-ups, etc. We then had to stand on our feet and hold our hands in the air while, one by one, each recruit ran to the center of the room to retrieve their keys. By the 4th person everyoneâ€™s arms were getting very heavy, especially after doing push-ups.
However, there has been some light at the end of the tunnel. The Lt. told us on Friday that those people who needed to leave are now gone and that if anyone leaves from now on, it will be because it is their decision. I am hoping things will start to mellow a little bit since they have done a lot of weeding out. For example, there was a female recruit who was constantly screwing up and when she did, they jumped on her about it. She was the kind of person, at least in my opinion, who when she messed up and was being yelled at for it, she would continue to make mistakes instead of correct what she initially did wrong. One of the things that happened was the pants they issued her did not fit (I think they were way too big) so she went and bought some which was a very bad idea. They made it a point to yell at her about it. Wednesday she came in with them again. While everyone was 2 rooms over and she was in the DT room with the doors shut, we could still hear the Lt. yelling. The next day she didnâ€™t show up and word is that she dropped.
Again, I am very impressed with the academy staff. Though they are tough and demanding, I know that they are preparing me for the job and I have the upmost respect for them and how they conduct themselves.
So that is where I stand right now. I am very thankful to have made it this far and pray that my body and mind holds to make it through the rest of the academy.
8 weeks to goâ€¦
09-26-2004, 20:45 #3GWCC PD Guest
Wow man I'm going through the exact same thing at Fulton County Academy. The only difference we do pt 3 days a week Tues-Thurs at 0630. We have this little slim fit chick that is attractive as hell, but will work the heck out of ya. We are never allowed to go anywhere alone, even to the restroom. If a instructor catches you alone, he will kidnapp you and then guess what punishment for the class. We are starting week 4 tomorrow 9/27/04. We still have a few screwoffs but they are slowing making it around. Our graduation date is 11/19/04. I believe our academy is a week longer than Clayton Co. We have a week of first responder training that is included in our basic mandate that is not included in Clayton Co's, if I'm correct. I've scored pretty well all the exams so far. We have firearms training begaining week 5. They have told us all the horror stories and how many they lose during that week. We have 29 currently started with 34 recruits. I was like you if you asked me day one about being a police, I wouldn't have answer or just wanted to plan give up, but now i'm motivated huh!
09-28-2004, 19:06 #4
One of my challenges is the PT itself, namely running. As I said, I lost 40 pounds before day 1 of the academy and running is still tough. Our run is typically 2 miles (approx.) and periodically the Lt. will shout "shots fired" and we have to get down in the grass and stay in the push-up position. Sometimes he tells us to get right back up and sometimes we do a few push-ups while we are all down.
The running is tough for me but I will have to find a way to pull through it.
PS - Our graduation date is 11/19/04 as well.
Last edited by dubtastic; 09-28-2004 at 19:08.
09-28-2004, 20:23 #5GWCC PD Guest
We have this nice little slim and trim sexy female as our pt trainer. After the usual 2 or 3 mile run we come back the park do about 50 pushups 300-450 crunches, about 100 jumping jacks and then good old suicide sprints in the basketball court and then then hopefully we are done. Yeah we have firearms training beganing next week (week 5) so everyone is getting all nervous.
09-29-2004, 18:33 #6Originally Posted by GWCC PD
09-29-2004, 19:19 #7GWCC PD Guest
Your right that is odd, we have pt Tues-Thurs at 0645 hours at welcome all park. I wish we didn't have it as much, I've lost so much weight, all we are doing is cardio stuff no muscle building training which is what I need.
09-29-2004, 20:10 #8Originally Posted by GWCC PD
I have lost some weight as well, but I am losing more inches than anything. Already down another notch in my belt after the first 2 weeks.
10-02-2004, 20:54 #9
â€œI thought someone said that it would get easier?â€
The third week was no joke, much like the first two, only the stress is now on a different level. This was a very tough week for me, both physically and mentally. If I have already mentioned some of this information just pretend I am senile and politely nod.
To begin, we are in full swing of our PT, which is every day. We have to be in formation at 0630 every day and we are usually rushed into the building to stow our lunch, books, keys, and class A uniform in their respective locations. We are given a very short amount of time to do all that so we are all running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying our best not to run into each other. We then form up in the DT (defensive tactics) room. Depending on the day, we will either exercise in the DT room or then go secure our keys and drive to the PT field to run. Monday it was pouring rain here so instead of running we were exercising in the DT room which we do until muscle failure. And trust me, pretty much all of the muscles I use end up failing.
On the days we are not in the DT room we drive to the PT field, which is basically across the divided highway and we run. It is a water reservoir and each class (since everyone is divided up into 2 classes) forms up on either side of the road. We run on a gravel road which means usually a few people end up limping at the end of the run, at least they did on Friday. Well, I fell out of formation on 2 runs this week. My body just couldnâ€™t handle it. Every day I try my very best to push myself beyond what I think I am capable of however running is very difficult for me. Friday was different since we did our Indian Sprints and everyone was hollering and screaming. It was very motivating and I made it all the way through. That last stretch of the run was the most difficult and my feet were getting heavy. The guy behind me put his hand in the middle of my back and said â€œHang in there. You can make it.â€ Which gave me the extra fuel I needed. I have already lost 5 pounds since I have been in there with no real change in my eating habits.
We also had our second written test this past Monday which I passed. It was harder than the first one, or at least I felt it was, and my grade was a little lower, but I made it through. I have a lot of studying to do this weekend as the next written test is right around the corner. It will cover the following: robbery and burglary investigations, GCIC, mental health & retardation, substance abuse, the peace officer and the public, juvenile offenders, cultural diversity, crisis intervention, domestic violence & elderly abuse, crimes against children, and crime victim compensation. I canâ€™t believe we actually covered all of that information this past week but we did. As it states in our handbook, each day is designed so that we have no downtime. The Lt. was right when he said he owns every second of our day.
We also had to come up with a class motto that we say when we fall out of formation. Our class motto is â€œProfessionals with honor â€“ our lives on the line â€“ weâ€™re trained to prevail â€“ class 1-8-9.Hoo-Rah!â€ So in addition to studying for the test, we have to have that memorized. That is not such a big deal because it is short and easy to remember. Each recruit had to submit 3 possible class mottos and the Lt. picked the one he wanted us to use. Class 190 (the other class) did not submit anything he liked. So they were made to resubmit examples. We also have â€œpositive self talk instructionsâ€ that we have to have memorized and ready on command. We have a certain way we have to recite them. For example, the first one is â€œSir, this recruitâ€™s first positive self talk instruction is on any high risk call I will survive, sir.â€ There are a total of 14 of them that we have to memorize.
We are getting into some very interesting classroom instruction and again, I have really enjoyed some of the instructors. One of the toughest classes was â€œcrimes against childrenâ€ and the instructor had a book with examples of child abuse. It was tough flipping through that but in the back of my mind I was thinking that if I ever could help one child then all of this I am enduring in the academy would be more than worth it.
We are nearing the range week where we have to qualify with our weapons. After that we go to Forsyth for EVOC which is the emergency vehicle operations course. My buddy told me that we will be able to go buy BDU pants and wear them instead of our Class A issued Dickies. That would be nice but I won't count on it until it comes from the academy staff.
One interesting event was after lunch the other day we were told to form up in the DT room. When I hear that, I immediately think he is about to â€œtrain our bodiesâ€. We were instructed to secure our keys and then secure our inclement weather gear (basically our rain slickers) from our vehicles, return our keys and be in formation. I wondered what was going to happen. It was a warm, sunny day, and part of me thought he might spray us with a hose or something. I really had no idea so I was planning on anything to happen. Well, once in formation there were 2 people who did not have their rain gear. The Lt. gave us a stern lecture on the importance of having your gear and being prepared for the next 12 to 24 hours ahead of you. I am glad I keep all the required gear in my truck!
Lastly, we are now partnered up with another person in our class. If we screw up, they screw up. If something is wrong with my uniform during inspection and I have to drop to do push-ups, so does my partner. We are told to check each other prior to inspection and basically look out for each other during the day. We were also told to know personal information about our partner, such as their birthday, spouseâ€™s name, kids, etc, etc. I think it is a good lesson to learn and helps with the unity aspect. In terms of overall unity, our class is gelling a lot better and everyone is getting to know each other a little better. We feel like a team and that we are all in this together.
The end of the week is always a rewarding feeling for me. Not just because we have 2 days off, but because we have some pretty good exercise with the indian sprints in the morning, classroom instruction, and another week has been completed succesfully. It is just a good feeling on Friday for me.
3 weeks down, 7 to goâ€¦
10-03-2004, 13:52 #10GWCC PD Guest
Hang in there Guy I know you can make it. Just look towards Nov 19. that's my motivation which is graduation day. We start firearm training all week beginning tomorrow. I'm a little nervous but I know I'll get through it and I'll be fine. Best of Luck! Keep your head up!
10-03-2004, 14:27 #11ChicagoDEAApp GuestOriginally Posted by dubtastic
Let me begin by congratulating you! Sounds like you are giving 110% - we wouldn't expect or accept any less, and you aren't letting us down.
Second, with regard to the quote above, is a little phrase from my Navy days that summarizes the ethos - maybe you can use it somehow while there: Team gear, my gear, me. (Sometimes used as Team, swim buddy, me) and reflects what should be the order of your consciousness, for every moment of every day during every evolution.
Keep up the good work Dub - and remember, the only easy day was yesterday bro.
PS - The guy who put his hand in your back, you owe him a frosty malt beverage and it better be your hand/boot he sees/feels first the next time he is dragging ass.
10-03-2004, 15:08 #12Originally Posted by ChicagoDEAApp
After I had that one incident about something not lining up on my uniform, I made it a point to check with my partner. He is a good guy as well. Very friendly and helpful.
Love the quote "the only easy day was yesterday" as well.
10-03-2004, 17:26 #13ChicagoDEAApp GuestOriginally Posted by dubtastic
10-03-2004, 19:41 #14Originally Posted by ChicagoDEAApp
Learn and move onward!
10-03-2004, 19:45 #15ChicagoDEAApp GuestOriginally Posted by dubtastic
Checking your swim buddy and teammates to make they are squared away will become second nature soon enough. Just go back to that phrase I told you and you will do fine (team gear, my gear, me; team, swim buddy, me).
Keep us posted on your progress bro!