For writers, research is everything. It’s one thing to read about your chosen topic on line. But when you actually get to experience your research first hand (and your chosen niche is men in uniform) – there is simply nothing better. I was accepted into a citizen’s police academy course and my first class was last night. I’m starting an 8-part series on my blog about my experiences and what I’m learning. I hope you all click the link and follow along with me on my law enforcement journey! The last time I took a class like this my book “Out of the Shadows” was born. Needless to say, I’ve already started taking notes and hoping for inspiration to strike a second time!
I mentioned a month or so ago that I had applied to join my town’s citizen police academy. I did get accepted (yay!) and our first class was last night. There are 14 of us and bizarrely enough it’s split right down the middle – 7 women and 7 men. We all had to introduce ourselves and it seems like we’ve got a good, lively group. I don’t think there was one person who didn’t ask a question, so people are interested in taking part.
As with the other police academy classes I’ve taken, the first night is basically an info dump. Our first speaker was the Chief of Police. Very nice guy. Very personable. He gave us a history of the department, a chart of how it’s organized, changes he’s made since taking office 5 years ago, etc. He wanted our feedback on things like red light cameras and DUI offenses. I scored a few points with him when he asked what we thought was going to be the latest technology utilized by the police department. He wasn’t looking in my direction when I said “drones” and he’s goes, “Who said that?” I raised my hand and he’s like, “Yes, very good. We’re already looking into that. Anyone else?” Silence so I spoke up again. “CCTV, cameras in general?” And again he nods. “We’re testing out the POV cameras right now.” (I know what these are since I saw them on Rookie Blue – they are cameras that are attached to the officer’s uniform shirt and records on a constant basis for their entire 8 hour shift)
One of the most interesting things he told us about was that after 30 years we’re finally getting another K9 dog. His name is Kane and he’s a German Shepard. He’s currently completing his 8 week training course. We all had a zillion questions for him about the dog and the K9 unit in general. It’s so cute – they’re having a “Canine Puppy Shower” for Kane at PetCo in two weeks to welcome him to town and swear him in and give him his badge. 🙂
After the Chief’s presentation Officer Dawn Odoi took over. She is the one that runs the citizen police academy class. She ran us through the application and selection process for hiring new officers. They just went through an open enrollment in August. We have 3 vacancies to fill and over 275 people applied. Wow! Only the top 30 make it past the initial written exam and it gets whittled down to just 3 in the end. She talked about her uniform and her duty belt and her kevlar vest. We each got to hold the belt, which weighs around 10 lbs with the gun, taser, baton, extra ammo, handcuffs, latex gloves, pepper spray and mini flashlight. Oh we found out there are 5 women on the force and 42 men.
We got a tour of the police station after that. Honestly, it was one of the most plain, drab ones I’ve been in! And small! I had no idea but they don’t even have a gun range there. They go to the neighboring town to use theirs. And the 911 dispatch center was removed from there 2 years ago. Another town handles all our 911 calls, plus 2 other towns as well. So it was pretty much an empty building with just offices for the detectives, the evidence room, a workout room and locker rooms. Plus the actual prisoner processing area and jail cells.
It was a very informative evening but not the most exciting. That will start next week. Upcoming topics include: Juvenile Law, Accident Investigation, Traffic Stops/Radar Enforcement, DUI Enforcement, Use of Force, Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Crime Scene Processing/Evidence and Interviewing/Interrogation.
The last time I took a class like this my book “Out of the Shadows” was born. Needless to say, I’ve already started taking notes and hoping for inspiration to strike a second time!