Nick's Blog

Personal opinions. Aggressively stated.

The First Monday

Physical fitness testing. For us in Class 1, this is the basic test to measure our condition at intake; for Class A, this is their mid-term. We in Class 1 all show up in white t-shirts and black shorts. White t-shirts tucked in to our black shorts.

The deal is that if we pass the basic state level of fitness (they’re fairly pathetic: a mile-and-a-half run in under 18 minutes, and, for someone my age, nine (yes, nine) pushups and nine (yes, nine) situps in one minute), then we earn a gray t-shirt that has the academy name on it. Class A already made their own custom Gray t-shirts with their class logo – we’ll get to that at some point soon.

We hit the street. They’ve managed to make a 1.5 mile course that is literally 80% uphill, and the southern sun is out – it’s 83 degrees and 80% humidity at 0800 when we begin. I do the mile-and-a-half in 12:28; I’ll call that actually 12:23 because my place was five seconds from the starting line, but I won’t complain, because I’m in the top 5% of the combined classes. I’m actually happy to say that I kicked the shit out of people half my age. I did 47 pushups and 32 situps in the minute allotted, placing me in the top 20%. And I was sandbagging a bit on the run and the pushups (one condition of graduation is improvement in all these areas; they can actually fail me for doing a 12:30 mile-and-a-half, so I definitely laid off the gas during the run. And with all the pushups, situps, crunches, flutter kicks and other exercise we’re doing, I’m sure my calisthenics numbers will improve). The situps? I maxed out.

Ten-HUT One thing that made Juliana and me cringe when we visited the Academy about a week before classes started was that, whenever a cadet saw us in the hallways, they snapped to attention against the wall, greeted us and waited until we’d passed before moving on. It was fairly horrific. During orientation, the administrator, Dave, told us why he made us do this:

Whenever you see anyone who is not a cadet in the hallway, you need to get your back against the wall, snap to attention, look at the person and engage with them – ‘Good morning sir/Ma’am. How are you today?’ It’s a little humiliating.

Deal with it.

There are a couple of reasons why we do this. First, I visited an academy in Florida and they did it and I thought, ‘That looks sharp – we are so doing that when I get home.’ It makes you look sharp, which makes me look good, and when I can look good at your expense, I will do it every time.

But it’s not only because it looks good: This makes you engage with people. Some of you are not good at engaging strangers. As cops, you must engage with strangers. So this gets you into the habit. It gets you looking at people and seeing them. Do they look strange? Out of place? What are they wearing? What is their description? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something over the radio and I’m like, “I just saw that guy 20 minutes ago.” This helps you develop that skill and instinct.

I cannot argue with any of this. In fact, I think it’s pretty diabolically clever as a training tool.

Classroom Learning
Our first day was spent listening to Oscar, our physical fitness and nutrition instructor. I happen to like him hugely, and I think he has a great big heart, but boy does he want this place to be more military. Unfortunately, he has several phrases he uses every second or third sentence.

  • “Shit hot!”
  • “Sheisse hot!” (pronounced shIy-ze-hot, in violation of all things good and German)
  • “Things to think about…”
  • “Good to go.”
  • “Make sense? Allright….”
  • “Long story short…”

By one hour in I was set to scream. The point of this seems to be rote memorization followed by regurgitation. Good to go.

On every break, once per hour, we do some form of PT. Usually pushups or situps. Counting. Out loud. And when we get to the number ten, we don’t say “ten”, we say, “Class 1!”. Confusing.

I love this stuff.

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