Monday, April 13, 2009

Weeks 13 & 14

Well, good news and bad news. Good news is that it's officially week fifteen as I write this... bad news is I'll have a week sixteen :( I'll explain why in a bit but for now let me tell you about the past two weeks.

Monday 03/30/09
0800-1150 History of Drugs and Abuse
1200-1300 Lunch
1400-1650 Drug Identification
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday came around and we weren't sure how "Drug Week" was going to be - some of us had heard good things and others had heard it was boring. I, personally, had heard it would be a week long drag about the same topics... thankfully things seemed quite the contrary from the get go. The first couple minutes was an introduction to how the course was going to be laid out and what we would be learning about which, thankfully, sounded really good. The morning we touched on the history of drugs, old and new, and how they have always been a part of our country's history. We touched a bit on which drugs were big in Indiana and were told we'd narrow things down in the afternoon. The rest of the day we spent learning the specifics on the most common illicit drugs: identification, effect, and common signs to look for were the focus.

Tuesday 03/31/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 PT
0900-1150 Knock and Talks
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Traffic Interdiction
1700-1800 Dinner

Tuesday morning started with a pretty good PT session - nothing out of the ordinary but we were beginning to taper down so we could rebuild for our final physical assessment. Then we had a pretty good lecture from some undercover guys on proper "knock and talks" with suspected drug dealers. A knock and talk is pretty much when uniformed officers go to a suspected drug house to... literally... knock on the door and talk to the suspected dealer. From there you kind of get a feel for things and do some poking around to see if the complaints may be valid or not; and if you're lucky one thing may just lead to another! After lunch we started on our drug interdiction lecture on how we as patrol officers needed to focus on the big indicators of drug runners. At first (at least on this day) it seemed pointless for a lot of it because it was really focusing on highway traffic and major drug runners. I'm talking hundreds of pounds of drugs at a time on their way to a big city to be sold to various dealers.

Wednesday 04/01/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Traffic Interdiction
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Traffic Interdiction
1700-1800 Dinner

Wednesday morning we finished up our lecture on drug interdictions in the patrol divisions. Up until now we didn't think it would be that interesting because as I had stated it had all been highway transportation. This morning lecture, however, focused more on county and city police officers. We learned what to look for in behavior, evidence, and indicators of transportation of both "big time" transporters as well as the typical drug dealer or addict. I think this class in itself was the most important AND informative class yet. The afternoon came by quickly and we all got to go through a few drug interdiction scenarios; not all of them would yield results depending on how the officers attempted to obtain more information. The same scenario could end in pounds of dope and weapons easily being found or the suspect simply [legally] leaving the scene due to officer behavior!

Thursday 04/02/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 PT
0900-1150 Field Testing
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Meth Labs
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday started with our "final" PT session which was easy and quickly finished! Sure, we had two more actual days of PT but one would be a final cadence run and the other would be A Squad vs B Squad competitions... more fun then anything else. After PT we had a short lecture and then a hands on certification for drug field testing. We were all given a little bit of the common street drugs (powder cocaine, crack, marijuana, etc) and taught how to test it with various types of tests. The rest of the day we had a "good" lecture on Meth Labs. I say "good" because I had taken an eight hour meth lab class about a year ago... which happened to be this same lecture crunched into four hours. I will admit it it was a very good lecture both times!

Friday 04/03/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0900-1150 Gangs
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1450 Prescription Drugs
1500-1700 Course Critique

Last day of the week and we had a good gang talk to look forward to. As we learned eighty-some percent of all illegal gang activity is fueled by drug activity and we had yet to even mention gangs! This course was packed full of good information on common gangs in Indiana (specifically the Indy Metro area) and covered a few I had never even heard of. All in all this course and the traffic interdiction taught me a ton of stuff I will definitely remember. In the afternoon we had a quick lecture on prescription drug abuse (the growing problem, specifically in students) which was pretty neat. We then watched a few last drug related videos and took a quick class critique and got out a bit early!


Sunday night, unfortunately, came to quickly. I had spent the weekend with my girlfriend (as Sunday was her birthday) and we had a really good time... I left for ILEA fairly early and as I entered Kokomo I had an accident in the squad car I had been using. I wasn't badly injured (the car isn't in great shape) but had to be hospitalized. Due to the pain killers I was given I would end up missing the three day Standard Field Sobriety Testing days and would return to ILEA on Thursday.

Thursday 04/09/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 PT
0900-1150 Radar and Speed
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Radar and Speed
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday came around and I was feeling much better from my accident. PT came around and I wasn't allowed to participate in the squad competitions due to my injury status. I missed the final cadence run as well, but was at least allowed to help evaluate the squad competition. I am happy to report that A Squad won! Afterwards when I was off the pain meds and finally comprehensive of things again which was good seeing as all day long we had a lecture on the proper functions and uses of radar. We talked about the theories and cases which established the continued usage of radar when monitoring traffic. We also began to study for our exam as the next two days of Radar and Speed would be all hands on.

Friday 04/10/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Radar and Speed
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Radar and Speed

In the morning we began our Radar and Speed hands on testing. Me and my buddy Steve were paired up and sent out to the highway with a Fishers PD sergeant and taught how to visually estimate speed without a radar gun. We both caught on fairly quickly and were usually within a mile or two of our observation - which was good because come Monday we couldn't be too far off or we'd fail! In the afternoon we watched a few videos on radar as well as how to behave in traffic court. We got an official review for our written exams coming on Monday: Radar Exam and Exam #9 which covered four weeks of material! We were let out a bit early and I headed home. Happy to be in our last official Friday of class we all left in a great mood... even if I knew I'd have to come back to make up SFST soon.



That's it for now! I'll be updating again later this week as things should be rolling to an end for the official stay at the academy. Luckily class 09-176 is doing their SFST training the week after I graduate so I'll be back for those three days right away!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week Twelve

Well, one more week has come and gone and I can't be any clearer: I am so ready to be done! This week went relatively well (mind you, I avoid my high strung room for most of the day) and we took one of our final exams too. All in all it was one of the better weeks, that's for sure.



Monday 03/23/09
0800-1150 Traffic Law
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Traffic Law
1700-1800 Dinner

Back to the grind as they say - Monday we finished up Traffic Law, with the Greenwood PD Chief, which he had briefly covered a bit of on Friday. This was a very helpful class as it helped cleared up a lot of questions I had. Specifically why police traffic powers I have one public property, search and seizure technicalities, and plenty of rumors about illegal driving. The instructor was a great guy too... one of the more entertaining instructors who made the class go by really quick.


Tuesday 03/24/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1050 Traffic Law Exam
1000-1150 Hazardous Materials
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Hazardous Materials
1700-1800 Dinner

Wednesday 03/25/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Hazardous Materials
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Hazardous Materials
1700-1800 Dinner

The next two days of the class were all HazMat based which wasn't too bad either. A lot of the guys were complaining that these two days were worse than criminal law but it wasn't in any way bad... a bit repetitive perhaps but not bad. I had some previous HazMat training as a Cadet Officer but not as in depth as this was. The instructor was a fire chief from Elkhart County so he made a lot of references that I could relate with. We focused a lot on how a small HazMat scene can quickly grow in size, how to evaluate a scene, what dangers exist, and what we as police officers can do and need to do should a HazMat incident arise.

On Tuesday we had our Traffic Law exam which was really easy; I studied the guide I made and got a 96% after an hour of review. All this complaining for nothing!



Thursday 03/26/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1150 Mental Illness
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Sexual Assault
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday came around and morning PT was pretty good. We had begun to slow things down a bit as the end approaches so I feel as if my "broken down body" might actually recover one of these days. The morning we had a pretty interesting class on the most common mental illnesses that I as a law enforcement officer would come across in my career. We focused on the affects that an individual would endure as well as how they may potentially behave around police officers... some a bit better than others. In the afternoon we had a lecture on sexual assaults and how to properly investigate them. Although a bit unnerving this class definitely had it's merits.



Friday 03/27/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0950 Mock Fitness Exam
1000-1150 IEDs and Explosives
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Family Day

Friday came by as quick as it ever has and I was stoked. In the morning our class had a mock fitness evaluation held to the exit standards of the academy which went great. I was a bit weary on my vertical jump but I added 3.5 inches on my first attempt which puts me well past the passing height Then we had a two hour lecture on IEDs and Explosives which was pretty neat. The SBPD Bomb Squad gives a similar lecture during the Citizen's Police Academy but not nearly as detailed as the one I got here. And then come the lunch hour my mother and girlfriend show up for family day. I was pretty happy to have them come for this (especially given the distance they drove) because they got to sit in on a four hour lecture given by "Dr. Love" on stress that police officers go through and bring home with them. It meant a lot that they could come especially my girlfriend as she was close friends with Cpl. Nick Polizzotto and had no other police/EMS knowledge. I think she definitely thought about a few things she never has before... why she puts up with me still is beyond me.







That's it for this week! With three weeks left to go I am ready to be done!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Criminal Law

Well, two weeks later I can say it... I'm done with the two worst weeks at ILEA: Criminal Law. But truth be told, and I know most wont agree, it was really easy.

The first week started out fairly slowly; the attorney who was teaching us broke all four of our classes (as we are together for four weeks) up into different squads. Why keeping us together as classes didn't happen is beyond me but hey, I'm not the instructor. He spent the first day explaining what we would be covering, why we would be covering it (criminally and civilly), and how we as police officers need to be street level attorneys. Having gone through an entire criminal justice program for college I had been familiar with names such as Miranda, Garner, and Escobedo but had a limited understanding of even the most important law enforcement landmark cases. I felt like Criminal Law would be able to expand a bit more upon that.

As we progressed through week one I started to wonder if the horror stories I heard were true. I heard the instructor was somewhat "anti-cop," quick to anger, and extremely boring - but as the week went on I didn't think any of that was true... well, sort of. I was fairly bored mostly because this first week seemed a bit repetitive. Truth be told as the week went on I hate to say it but I did not get that "expansion" of knowledge I was hoping to obtain; I felt like my entire college career was jammed into forty hours of class. It was nice, however, to read the actual cases to get a feel as to why the Supreme Court ruled in certain favor - all in all it seemed to me they just used common sense in a time where law enforcement was not well regulated. Or as some cops may say: "the old days." Can't say I agree but I can at least understand.

Week two was a bit more interesting, that's for sure. We ended our criminal and substantive federal law cases and began to focus on civil liabilities (which we have a one day class our final week) and specific Indiana statutes. The state laws were what I felt would be most important to me seeing as a college curriculum wouldn't teach them to students AND I would obviously be using them on a daily basis. I again, however, felt a bit cheated as we didn't do much more than read the crimes straight out of the Indiana Criminal Code.

Come the end of the week we got our study session but it was with the instructor and not "Dr. Love." Dr. Love had stated we should just use the student made study guides as the test hadn't changed in over ten years... and that at this point they probably looked fairly identical to the actual exam. Regardless, I went to the study session. And that night I left the building because everyone, specifically my roommates, were freaking out. My buddy Jason, from Merrillville PD, joined me outside as we talked about the exam. He had gone to IU Northwest and stated he felt pretty much the same about what we had learned all week... and most importantly we both agreed that it was mostly common sense. We chose to merely look over our study guides over some late night dinner and didn't worry about it. Of course my roommates kept me up til 0200 freaking out and Jason unfortunately felt it as things got a bit physical in my room the next morning. Emotions were high and yet I wasn't too worried.

A 96% later and I'm happy to report it was EXTREMELY easy, but maybe that's just me. Oh, and no one failed. Jason got a 94% too. And my roomies both got low 90s.

That's it for this week... sadly in two weeks I don't have much to write about. Next week should be pretty good especially since Friday is visitor's day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Investigative Week

Well, one more week down (and it seems like oh so many more) here at ILEA. This week was Investigative Week where you spend two days of criminal investigation lectures, two days of crash investigation lectures, and one day of practicums and the written exam. I can't say this was the most thrilling week but it wasn't all bad either.

Monday 03/02/09 - Tuesday 03/03/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Criminal Investigations (PT on Tuesday at 0800)
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Criminal Investigations
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday and Tuesday we had lecture on criminal investigations and proper procedures all day - it seemed a little bit like common sense but I think that's only because I worked fraud for so long. Monday was nice because the Indiana State Police Lab personnel came in for a few hours to teach us about evidence technicians, fingerprint analysis, and firearms/tool mark examiners. I have to admit I felt pretty lucky since South Bend is blessed with individuals who are capable in these areas... a lot of my fellow classmates don't even have evidence technicians in their entire county! Monday we ended the day with interviewing techniques, interrogation techniques, and body language. Tuesday morning PT came by and we played the Card Game - each card in a deck represents a work out: the number is the amount and the suit is the exercise. We hurt pretty bad but that marked the end of Phase II in PT... can't wait for Phase III! In class we had an interview practicum where we interviewed each other to see how we could get information from various types of people. The afternoon we spent learning how to properly investigate death scenes (natural deaths or homicides) which was pretty neat; I did learn, however, that coroners really have a sick sense of humor... I thought cops were bad!

Wednesday 03/04/09 - Thursday 03/05/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Crash Investigations (PT on Thursday at 0800)
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Crash
1700-1800 Dinner

Crash investigations was not nearly as interesting as criminal investigations. I think I learned just about every skill in high school geography so sitting in class was horrible! I did learn how to use the electronic report writing program which will be very useful in the future so class wasn't a complete bore. Wednesday night we had an exam over the previous week's material (I got a 96%) and then had liberty. I met up with some friends who live in Indy and had a nice greasy burger... which I definitely felt Thursday morning during PT. We started official CrossFit work outs which I love but I wasn't expecting... whoops! Come Thursday afternoon we sit down for a study session with Dr. Love and we were all a bit stressed out about having to test on Friday over this week's material.

Friday 03/06/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1000 Criminal Investigation
1000-1200 Crash Investigation
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1400 Criminal Review
1400-1500 ARIES Report
1600-1700 Exam

Friday rolled around rather quickly and I was stoked to go home. In the morning we had to investigate a crime scene (I got a pretty gruesome murder) which went by really quickly. After solving the crime (I played evidence tech) we wrote our reports and would later give a presentation of our findings. The rest of the morning we spent investigating a crash scene which I have to admit was a lot more fun when you get hands on. It wasn't hard but it kept you busy and was definitely a good time. After lunch we gave our criminal presentation on the murder then went into writing an accident report for our crash scene. The rest of the afternoon we had our roughest exam yet... but I got a 94%!



That's it for this week... I wont be updating for two more weeks until Criminal Law is over. I've heard nothing but horror stories so wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Halfway done... but so much more to go...

Well, it's official: halfway done! Unfortunately the roughest parts are still to come especially when it comes to exams. Needless to say, however, I'm not complaining. This week went by a little slower than usual (kind of a stressful week) but could have been much worse. Let's see how it went.

Monday 02/23/09
0800-1150 Law Enforcement and Persons with Disabilities
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Critical Incident Management
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday went by pretty well (for a Monday) only because both topics were really informative. The classes were both taught by our favorite instructor (known only as Dr. Love) who makes class really interesting. He adds a lot of his personal stories from his career which is great because it makes certain topics make more sense... especially when you think "when will I ever encounter this?" In addition, Dr. Love happens to be really entertaining and down to earth which around here is a big deal. And not that I want to say this is the best part, but I can't say its not great, is he usually lets us out really early. I think Monday was the best Monday yet... and I hate Mondays.

Tuesday 02/24/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1150 Building Searches
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 Building Searches
1400-1550 Pat Downs and Searches
1600-1650 Chemical Weapons
1700-1800 Dinner
1800-2000 Chemical Agent Exposure

Tuesday morning came around in an ugly fashion. I had taken my contacts out Sunday night and been wearing my glasses all week... because I knew tonight we'd be getting sprayed with a combination of OC and CS chemical agents. None of us were thrilled at the prospect of enduring unnecessary pain. PT in the morning was pretty good; it was a combination of high intensity running mixed with an A Squad vs B Squad work out. The rest of the morning we sat through a fairly mundane lecture on how to search a building properly... but I don't think it's fair for me to judge it quite like that. I think with my experience working as a Cadet Officer I had learned a lot of these techniques but I could tell not many others were familiar with them. In the afternoon we had a two hour lesson on how to properly pat down or search an individual (with a focus on where items are commonly concealed) which was pretty interesting, especially when civil liability becomes an issue. Right before dinner we had our lecture on chemical agents and what to expect in the evening... which come evening we all lined up in our squad formations and got ready to be exposed. Scott, my roommate from Madison PD, decided he needed to be the first person sprayed - after watching him get hit in the face and fight through it didn't seem so bad. However, A Squad had an instructor who wasn't quite so nice when spraying us. After I got hit in the eyes twice and once in the mouth I didn't feel too much - I called out my location on the radio, asked for assistance, and fought my safety partner for twenty seconds while keeping my gun from him. I didn't think it was too bad until the adrenaline dump ended... and I couldn't open my eyes for twenty three minutes, couldn't breath, and only remember being grabbed from behind and hearing "that was worth driving 150 miles to see." One of our detectives was at ILEA to be an assistant EVOC instructor and happened to know I was getting sprayed that night. After I was able to sort of see I went inside, took a painful shower, and called it a night. Turns out one of our guys was taken to the hospital - what did I know, I couldn't see!

Wednesday 02/25/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0950 Active Shooters
1000-1150 Traffic Control
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 Preventative Patrol
1400-1550 Characteristics of Armed Individuals
1600-1650 Study Session
1700-1800 Dinner
1800-1900 Exam

Wednesday morning rolled around and I was still feeling the spray. My eyes were burning a bit but I just kept my glasses on and washed my eyes out with water from time to time. In the morning we had a pretty neat two hour lecture on active shooters (especially in schools) which was pretty neat. The other two hours were spent on traffic control which we all admit is a fairly lame part of policing but needs to be done. After lunch we talked more about shooters with a focus on how they behave especially when attempting to conceal their weapons. We got the last hour of the day to ourselves to study for our evening exam (which I got a 94% on) and the got three hours of liberty. Me and two others went straight to a local burger place and got the greasiest food we could. Mmmm...

Thursday 02/26/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1050 Less Lethal Technologies
1100-1150 NIMS 700
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 NIMS 700
1400-1550 Foot Pursuits
1600-1650 Free Hour
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday went really well... especially since I could finally get my contacts back in! In the morning we had a group cadence run for PT which was really fun (minus us getting yelled at for somewhat lued marching songs). We had a two hour session on less lethal technologies such as sprays, tasers, batons, and all the other neat things that incident teams such as SWAT can deploy. An hour before and after lunch was for NIMS 700 training through FEMA but since most of us already had our certification we got the time to ourselves. We then had a two hour session on the do's and do not's of foot pursuits which, especially in South Bend, can be somewhat important. The rest of the afternoon went quickly and I enjoyed some chili my cousin who lives in a local town brought in. I was happy the week was almost over.

Friday 02/27/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Child Abuse / Child Molestation
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 Securities Fraud
1400-1450 Fusion Center
1500-1650 Human Trafficking

Friday came around with a depressing start: a four hour lesson on child abuse and sexual molestation. I wont get into the details but it can go without saying that I'll probably never have the desire to work these types of cases. I know my limitations and my anger threshold... this stuff really pushes the limits for me. The afternoon seemed to drag on after such a sad morning too. We had a long hour session on fraud given to us by the Secretary of State's Office; it was pretty boring seeing as I had worked fraud for so long in the detective bureau. That tied in with the Indiana Fusion Center presentation, which I had also made use of as an investigator, but still learned a few new things (as I had never used the Fusion Center for anything non-fraud). The last two hours were with Dr. Love who taught a really interesting class on human trafficking - other than drugs human trafficking is the most prevalent crime in the world... who knew! We had a quick study session for next week's test and got out of there a few minutes later. Too bad it took me longer than usual to get home!



Next week is criminal and crash investigations... then two weeks of criminal law. These three weeks are probably going to be a little trying for me, so wish me luck!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Week Seven, Back to the Class Room

Well, sure enough I've endured another week... unfortunately it's all classroom from here. I swear the other classes have it a bit better with their break out weeks later in their sessions. Ah well, at least I'll finish first.

Anyway, things went pretty well this week. A lot of pretty decent topics that kept my interest so I guess I can't really complain (I will, however, during the two week of Criminal Law).

Monday 02/16/09
0800-1150 EMS Awareness
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 EMS Awareness
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday we hit the classroom back in our lovely khaki uniforms. We spent the entire day with a local helicopter-bound paramedic who works down in the Plainfield area most of the time. He was a bit dry but definitely taught us a ton of things we can do in emergency situations. Coming from South Bend I usually don't have to worry about medics being twenty minutes away but a lot of me classmates do - regardless, I know there will be times when I do beat the medics by quite some time and if a victim needs assistance now I need to be able to give it. The class was a bit like first aid training but to a larger scale; I guess the best way to say it was first aid training may use (thankfully) once or twice in their lives while someone in a career like policing may need to use it once or twice a month. We covered cuts, burns, drowning, freezing, gun shot wounds, and oh so much more to a more in-depth extent then when I got my CPR/First Aid certifications last year.

Tuesday 02/17/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1150 EMS Awareness
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 EMS Awareness
1400-1450 1% Biker Gangs
1500-1650 Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement
1700-1800 Dinner

We started the day by going back to mandatory PT... Woo! It was pretty clear who had been keeping active during break out weeks and who had not. However, I think the DIs were a bit more impressed than they had expected! We then finished our morning with our EMS Awareness training which went pretty quickly. We watched a bunch of videos showing us what to do in all of the possible situations we had talked about on Monday. After lunch we had a quick study session in which the instructor let us know which topics "may" appear on our test. After that we took an hour learning about the illegal biker gangs that are prevalent in America (specifically this region of the country) which was pretty sweet. The difference between street gangs and biker gangs are astounding and truthfully I would have never figured they could be as sophisticated as some are. The rest of the day we spent learning Indiana alcohol laws with a very small focus on tobacco. It wasn't bad but it seemed kind of repetitive. My girlfriend came to see me all the way from South Bend and brought us all food... I didn't even expect it, she just said she was on her way (while she was already in Kokomo). Somehow I can't imagine she's seen so many smiles as the day she brought hamburgers for my deprived classmates.

Wednesday 02/18/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1050 Report Writing
1100-1150 Community Policing
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Community Policing
1700-1800 Dinner

Wednesday morning reared it's ugly head and no one seemed to be in a good mood. We all headed to class after breakfast and sat down expecting a pretty dull morning of report writing. When the Basic Course Commander walked in that attitude changed... "As of 1900 hours you have three hours of Liberty" - I don't remember much til 1900 when I enjoyed as many buffalo wings as I could stomach, but I'll try my best to recall the day. Report writing went by pretty quickly but it was, unfortunately, the same report writing class I took as a Cadet Officer. The thought of Liberty, however, kept me going strong! The rest of the day we learned about community policing, which I've always been a big advocate for, which was pretty neat. I got to talk a lot about our department as we have a lot to offer (Citizens Academy, VIPs, Explorer Program, etc.) which smaller departments don't - not that I like to toot my own horn but it was nice to get to participate a bit. Dinner came around and we all ate a bowl of jello - I hit the gym and at 1900 exactly I was on my way to get some wings!

Thursday 02/19/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1150 Domestic Violence
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Conflict Management
1700-1800 Dinner

I still felt full when I went to breakfast, which was probably not as healthy as I imagined but I didn't care. Even going to PT I didn't care if I threw up... I felt good. Renewed spirits were within us all even as we had a fairly intense PT session. After PT we had a class on domestic violence calls which are ever growing in this state. We learned proper arrest procedures, how to address suspects, and how to comfort victims. The afternoon was an extension of the morning with a focus on all conflicts. The day went by fairly quickly and I was happy... and not that I want to get fat but as I returned to my room for the night I had a text from my cousin who lives nearby stating she was bringing us chicken lasagna... mmm.

Friday 02/20/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0950 Hate Crimes
1000-1150 Stress
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Terrorism

Friday morning came by nice and quick. All in all for the first week back in the classroom we had no complaints. We had a quick lesson on hate crimes and how they differ from regular crimes (which again, seemed obvious) and what Indiana laws have been enacted to protect potential victims. We finished the morning with our favorite instructor, "Dr. Love" as we call him, telling us about stressors in the police career and how to deal with him. I really enjoyed the class because I know in my career I may just have something that burns me out... maybe once or twice... and I'd like to be able to recover as quick as possible. The afternoon seemed like it dragged on forever as the FBI taught us about terrorism. I think it felt like forever just because I took a terrorism course in college and at the police department. Or maybe because it was Friday. The last FBI Agent, however, was a kind man and let us out thirty minutes early.


Next week we have a pretty interesting schedule set up... including our chemical agent exposure on Tuesday. I'm sure that will be just wonderful!

Monday, February 16, 2009

STOPS

"...I can appreciate that, but I'm still going to need to see that driver's license."

I'd have to say STOPS week has been the best by far - with that being said, I'm not currently enjoying being back in the classroom. STOPS, or Strategies and Tactics Of Patrol Stops, focuses on the "routine" traffic stop and how to talk to the individuals we meet. Our schedule looked was as follows:

Monday 02/09/08 - Friday 02/13/08
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 STOPS
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 STOPS
1700-1800 Dinner


Monday we had our lecture on Verbal Judo. For those unfamiliar with Verbal Judo its the "art" of deescalating a situation using words rather than physical force OR providing the proper verbal communications that will allow an officer to justifiably use physical force. The goal of Verbal Judo was stated as "gaining voluntary compliance" - and when you didn't get that, doing what was fair and necessary to gain compliance. After learning the steps of Verbal Judo (which included a lot of acknowledgement from violators that you may not agree with, hence the quote for this week) we began to practice it upon each other. We got out of class early for the day which was nice... except for hearing "I can appreciate that, but..." for the rest of the night.

Tuesday we had our lecture on STOPS tactics which was fairly interesting. Mixed in with the lecture were many videos of officers involved in accidental vehicular assaults while approaching vehicles as well as officer involved shootings. While not the videos a young officer would want to see it was indeed worthwhile; even when things go right a situation can go bad in an instant - you learn quite a bit from that. Complacency kills, the quote that you never forget, definitely held true during the lecture. We even watched the video of SBPD Sgt. Ray Wolfenbarger which hit pretty close to home.

On Wednesday we began practicing our STOPS skills on each other. We would do mock vehicle stops for the entire day (ending quite early) playing both roles of police officers and violators. We practiced the various types of vehicle approaches and ended the day with the traditional "felony stop." We had a lot of fun but learned quite a bit as well. We ended the day with a study session as our exam would be on Thursday.

Thursday morning we practiced more stops outside but added a new element: air soft. With Glock air soft guns the violator had the opportunity (but didn't always) to attack us at any time. The catch was that the officers did not have air soft weapons but red plastic guns instead. The purpose of this drill was to teach us to take cover rather than simply freeze up. After lunch we performed our practicum and also took our written exam. I got a 100% in my tactics and a 96% on my exam... can't say I can complain. The rest of the afternoon we watched a few more videos of officers in shootings except this time they ended a bit happier (notably, no officer deaths).

Friday was simply amazing. We all got to run two SIMunition scenarios during "routine" traffic stops. SIMunitions are 9mm bullets that are plastic filled with colored soap - they hurt just a bit more than your standard paint ball gun - that shoot from actual [altered] firearms. Both of my scenarios went very well and we had a blast. During the downtime we all watched police movies which was pretty good too: Hot Fuzz in the morning and Super Troopers in the afternoon. We got out early and thanked our guest instructors, went in to clean up a bit, and headed out for the weekend!


Of course the down side... STOPS was our last breakout week which means my final nine weeks are classroom oriented. I can't complain I guess, I am almost have way done! See you next week!.

Monday, February 9, 2009

EVOC

Sometimes, you just gotta dig deep to find things. To know your limits you have to make mistakes. And sometimes, just sometimes, you need to earn 100 push ups from hitting traffic cones with a car at 80 mph to learn a lesson.

This week was EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operation Course) and it was a blast! All I can say is something about driving at high speeds and pulling "racing" maneuvers is pretty thrilling, I can't lie. Our schedule looked like this:

Monday 02/02/09 - Friday 02/06/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 EVOC
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 EVOC
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday we spent most of our day out in the EVOC classroom doing our basic lecture. We learned the terms (most of which are derived from professional racing) and tactics that police officers often have to use while driving in emergency situations. Its very unique that our profession allows us (and often demands) that we drive a certain way. I knew that high speeds and quick turns would be part of the job but I never realized that there would be too much method to the madness. Clearly I was a bit wrong. We finished out the day setting up our two courses for Tuesday and did our daily vehicle check ups. By the evening, however, I wasn't feeling to well and would actually go to bed at 1730... which is why last week my update was extremely late.

Tuesday had a slow start to it because of the snow down here in Plainfield. Never before have I seen people freak out about a few inches of snow, but then again I realize not all people are used to a foot of lake effect snow in one night. Because we had to wait for the course to be cleaned off A Squad got to do extra morning PT which was the hardest we have had yet. Naturally, being A Squad we kicked butt and went straight out to EVOC. Out on the track we were introduced to all of our guest instructors and shoved into our cars. Ballistic vests, gun belts, and helmets all changed the dynamics of driving... a lot more realistic for the work environment than jeans and a hoodie.

Most of the week went really well (I struggled with one course on Wenesday, earning 100 push ups by the end of it). I had trouble all week to keep my eyes from tearing because I was so sick I went to bed by 1900 and didn't break my fever til Friday morning. Its also a bit difficult to explain a lot of the driving aspects in written word without the lovely pictures and diagrams we were provided... so I'll unfortunately need to cut most of the week out. I really wish I could explain it in more detail!

Friday morning came by and it was time for our written test. I had passed all of my practical driving courses and was pretty stoked. Thursday and Friday I had an excellent instructor from Elkhart City PD who could really handle a car. I'm no professional racer now, but I'd say I come a bit close :-P

After taking our tests we ran a few more courses to challenge ourselves and headed to lunch. We finished up driving afterwards and then watched a few movies on the liability we must consider when using our lights and sirens... the slightest mistake can affect many lives forever, including our own. But, after getting that message across we were out by 1530 and I was on my way home!

Next week I'll write a bit more, we're focusing on STOPS and Verbal Judo. I just started a new work out routine via CrossFit and I'm exhausted! See you next week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Defensive Tactics Week

First things first.... OWWWWW... DT hurts! Secondly, I never imagined that I could have my butt kicked so many times over and still have the urge to get back up for another beating. Also, this week they had no oatmeal (yeah, real disappointing) but actually started to feed us edible "eggs" and other breakfast foods. I even had a couple of warm meals as I figured a chicken breast couldn't be too bad. Of course, I was wrong and after I got done choking the meals down my stomach started to pay the price. Yum!

As I stated last week A Squad had Defensive Tactics all week (which means B Squad was in Firearms, shoveling snow). Our daily schedule looked like this:

Monday 01/26/09 - Friday 01/30/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Defensive Tactics
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Defensive Tactics
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday morning we started things off with learning proper fighting techniques starting with simple blocking and movie up to punches and kicks. We then, after learning every technique, did what would become our daily warm up which involved punching, kicking, blocking, and falling to the ground. A few moans and groans later we were on our way to learning unarmed take downs and the ever-so-popular arm bars. Then, near the end of the day we all had to demonstrate (with full force) how to properly distract an opponent with a knee to the common peroneal (the nerve in the outside of your leg, the one you hit walking into a table) - if you failed to hit your partner with satisfying results, you all got to go again. I got hit twice and for a couple of days couldn't quite walk straight. Me and my buddy Joe were partners for most of the week, which was a relief because he was a jail officer for two and a half years; he seems to have an extensive background when it comes to taking people down. Trust me. I "benefited" from learning from his experience.

Tuesday we were to report with our duty belts on to start our hand cuffing right before lunch. We learned a few different styles of hand cuffing such as PPCT, Koga, and Whitesell. Each style teaches the officer a different way to handle an individual you want to cuff whether they are cooperative or not, and it's safe to say each style has it's perks. After lunch we learned a couple more styles for handcuffing and got out a bit early. B Squad had been complaining all week about how bad Defensive Tactics was but truthfully we really liked it. Well, for the most part.

Wednesday morning we finished up our hand cuffing techniques and then had to perform them all for the instructor's approval. In the afternoon we started focusing more on actual fighting than simple take downs. We practiced sparring from the standing position and then changed gears when we went to ground fighting. I had never had any real ground fighting experience (except in a couple of incidents as a Cadet) as I had helped coach regular boxing for the PD so I definitely enjoyed it. We focused primarily on the ways to get off the ground should we happen to be the ones on our backs. Near the end of the day we combined our take down techniques into our fighting skills, which ended with a few of us getting shoulders torqued the wrong way. Oh well, guess its better to learn this way than on the street.

Thursday morning came around a bit rougher than usual. We were all starting to get sore but none of us were complaining like B Squad was (Scott removed, seeing as whoever his partners were they definitely didn't hold back). In the morning we focused on impact weapons and would eventually start attacking each other... I earned a few bruises and cuts from this one, but nothing too bad. Even today I still have two good sized bruises on my right arm but it's nothing that kept me from moving around. The afternoon, however, was a bit more dreaded. We ended the day with a full effort ground fighting drill in which you would fight your opponent for three minutes using any technique you knew, learned here or not, in an attempt to overcome the other person. Once a person would tap out into submission you'd restart the fight... how lovely! After the first three minute session, which doesn't seem like a lot until your actually fighting full force, you move immediately on to the next person. I fought Joe first who mostly had the upper hand; he got me into a couple of pretty good choke holds. It's a good thing he was paying attention because I was too stubborn to tap out. My next two matches were great, pretty evenly matched and I ended up having a lot of fun with them. My last match, however, I ended up over turning my body when flipping my partner and he took my head to the ground with him - for the entire weekend I couldn't really move my neck or right arm, but all seems to be fine now. When I got back to my room from dinner Scott was already in bed. He was starting to get sick which, as of this week, spread to me and Keith.

Friday was pretty laid back. In the morning we reported to DT in full duty uniform and performed all of the take down and hand cuffing techniques we had learned during the week. After wrestling around a bit we were given some time to shower and study for our exam before lunch. We took our exam, which I got a 94% because I misspelled a few of the pressure points (how lame) but I didn't care at that point! I was focused on getting out at 1520 like B Squad did. However, come 1700 we were finally getting out... none of us were happy, but I guess we can't really complain as we weren't promised to get out early.


Next week is EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operation Course) but unfortunately me and Keith have been dying from unknown disease Scott brought us. Last night we were actually in bed at 1730, hence why I didn't update. Thankfully, after a day in the snow with EVOC I'm feeling a bit better. See you next week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Firearms Week

Well, three weeks in and things are definitely starting to get interesting. This week A Squad (my squad) spent all week in Firearms Training while B Squad was in Defensive Tactics. This is how every day's schedule looked:

Monday 01/19/09 - Friday 01/23/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Shooting Range
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Shooting Range
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday morning we spent the morning inside handling our pistols, learning the intricate parts of taking one apart, and then proceeded to undergo some "dry fire" drills. We learned to shoot from various positions including "officer down" ones where we may be on the ground (or other compromising positions). In the afternoon (after a delicious salad, of course) we went out into the wonderful weather... mind you it only got above freezing on Thursday... and began to shoot. Some of us had some gun experience but others had never even touched a weapon until now; regardless, we all shot fairly well from the three yard range. It's not too hard, of course. We also shot from the ten and fifteen yard points as well. We then shot a couple of rounds from the twenty-five yard line before heading in for the day.

Tuesday we focused more on our distance shooting with focus on the twenty-five and fifty yard lines. I had never shot at the fifty yard mark so I was fairly impressed that I shot as well as I did (nonetheless his the target). We were then introduced a bit to the concept of using cover for support at such distances which also made a big difference. In the afternoon we ran through the qualification course a few times with none of the time limits applied just to get a feel for it. The entire course is worth 240 points I was shooting 227-234 all day. Seeing as expert is 228 and above I can't say I was too upset.

Wednesday we were introduced to shotgun shooting (and later qualified on the ten point course, where less than 80% was a fail). This was fairly quick but plenty fun - I hadn't had much shotgun experience prior to coming to ILEA so I did miss a couple of times at the bigger distances. One of my squad mates, Joe from Alexandria PD, happens to be fairly proficient with a shotgun... so after a bit of coaxing (and some boasting of his own) I cleaned up my act and shot a perfect score on my qualification. Apparently, Joe could hit a deer from a half-mile away with a shotgun; I don't think that's physically possible, but I'll take his word for it. The rest of the afternoon we re-shot the pistol course and I was shooting above 228 all day. Expert seemed pretty plausible at this point. The nasty food tonight, which I tried, was spaghetti - it tasted a lot like what I imagine soap and tomato paste mixed together would taste like. We ordered Chinese again. The delivery driver must be loving me and the roommates.

Thursday morning we warmed up a bit (the weather finally got decent) and we started shooting pretty well. I had been shooting 240s all morning so I was pretty stoked. In the afternoon we ran our three qualifications rounds [where the average of the scores was our final] and most of us seemed to choke up a bit. I shot a 230, 220, and a 222 - not quite the Expert I was hoping to be. I don't remember most of the day because I was pretty steamed about everything. I do remember my roommate Scott, from Madison PD, complaining about how beat up he was from Defensive Tactics. One look at his arm and me and Keith, my roommate from Martin County, decided to stop making fun of him - bruises, cuts, and bite marks as far as we could see up his arm and into his chest. Needless to say, we weren't thrilled to be in his shoes.

Friday, which happened to be a pretty awesome day, was more for fun than anything else. In the morning half of us shot inside in low-light situations: using flashlights, dim lighting, and flashing squad car lights we got to shoot at moving targets. I felt pretty good putting most of my shots into the center of the target (and putting a few in the eye sockets) which relieved the stress from my horrible shooting the earlier day. We also used the FATS system for a while, but I chose to participate less seeing as most of the guys don't have the luxury of using a FATS system as often as I do. In the afternoon we ran drills at the outdoor range. Shooting backwards, under cover, over cover, and one handed shooting was pretty fun. The best part was... we got out an hour early!



That's it for this week! I would have updated a bit earlier but Defensive Tactics kind of kicked my butt yesterday. Trust me, next weeks blog will be filled with plenty of griping!