What to expect when attending the police academy.

Most people get butterflies in their stomach when they think of attending the police academy. Well you should, its no walk in the park. You will be tried mentally, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Most departments will require you to wear business attire on the first day at the academy. During the first part of the day you will be divided into platoons and given a tour of the facility. You will also be given a locker assignment and issued your academy supplies, to include uniform.

After lunch you will be in an auditorium. Here you will be introduced to the academy administration and training staff. They will go over the rules of the academy, the off limits areas, and what is expected of you while in attendance. They will go over each course you will be taught and informed about state mandated curriculum. They will also provide you with a list of additional items you will need to purchase.

On your second day you will begin class work. Physical training will usually begin about two weeks into the academy. By then you should purchased al the items you need from the list issued you on the first day. The first day of pt will be used for assessments. All recruits will be divided into two groups. Group one will go on a 1.5 mile run to establish run time and which group you will run with. Group two will attend the weight room to establish max weight on each piece of equipment as well as sit ups and push ups. Once both groups have completed both assessments you will be given your run group assignments and work out weight on each piece of equipment.

The academy will continue will each day varying in assignments. One day you will have classroom in the morning, defensive tactics, physical training, lunch, and more class room until the end of the day. Mixed in with defensive tactics will be, sparring, handcuffing techniques, pressure points, hand holds, arm bars, kicks, punches, and etc.

In the class room you will receive training in legal, cultural diversity, warrant service, laws of arrest, search and seizure, elements or crime, and etc. You will also receive training on testifying in court and given a tour of on the courtrooms in the area.

Separate time will be set aside for other subjects. Two weeks will be allocated for firearms training. You will receive instruction on the proper use and maintenance of small arms and shotguns. The last few days will be used for qualifying with both your sidearm and shotgun.

Emergency vehicles operations will be allocated two weeks and usually take place at a track somewhere in the area. You will be taught pursuit techniques, j turns, skid control, accident avoidance, and use of radio while driving, and driving at high speeds.

Finally you will have two weeks of first responder training. Here you learn how to assess injuries, applying bandages, splints, and slings, and how to perform CPR. You taught how to perform assessments for bone breaks, blood circulation, breathing assessments, and use of an AED.

Most people have no problems with any of the topics discussed so far except the firearms qualification. The real problem is the state mandated curriculum. These are courses that the state requires each person seeking law enforcement certification to pass. If you fail just one of these you will fail the academy. This is why it is very important to take notes and study.

Another area people have trouble with is the scenarios you participate in. Some of these I will not discuss because of the procedures involved. Instead I will just list some of them below in bulleted form.

  • Shoot or don’t shoot simulations
  • Felony police stop
  • Misdemeanor police stop
  • Use of force
  • Exposure to pepper spray and CS tear gas
  • Arrest procedures

This will be the best time of your law enforcement career. As long as you go in with you head straight, keep your goal insight, and stay away from the clowns in the group you should not have any trouble passing the academy and earning your badge.

As a final note, some academies have worked out deals with colleges to allow credits for academy training towards college degrees. The academy I attended 17 years ago awarded 21 credits towards a degree in Police Science. My advice to anyone planning on being a police officer who is currently enrolled in college is to check with their local academy to find out if any and what course credits are allotted. This could save them a little money towards earning their degrees and launch their careers at the same time.

Comments 3 comments

Retired1032 profile image

Retired1032 16 months ago from Virginia Author

The academy is usually 6 months long in Virginia. Some academies split it into two sections, 1) Deputy School and 2) Law Enforcement. Police officers will usually only take the Law Enforcement section and some Sheriff's Deputies will have both sections. Hopefully this clears things up for you.


curious girlfriend 16 months ago

my boyfriend is going into the academy soon and i had no idea what to expect this really helped me to be able to prepare for what hes going to be going through. MY only question is how long is the academy?


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Very useful article for anyone interesting in attending the police academy. Welcome to HubPages.

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