Training & Experience

Training and experience are, in my opinion, the most important things to a Peace Officer. There are many things that officers go through that are similar like the academy. Not all academies are the same and all have their own standards, but every officer must graduate in order to start their careers. From there it’s an individual, independent journey that each officer goes on throughout their careers. Police Officers who work for a City will start their FTO program with their respective departments; Sheriff’s Deputies will either start their FTO program in the county jail or the courts.
Once an officer/deputy passes the FTO program, they are on probation for 12-18 months. After the probation period is passed there are many opportunities for them to choose their own paths. In the Law Enforcement field, there are endless assignments , depending on the size of the department.
Each officer usually have their goals in mind before they started the academy. I’m not going to list them, there’s too many. You can go to any department website and see all of the services they provide.
My training and experience is unique to me as it is with everyone else. I started in Law Enforcement when I was 16 years old as an Explorer. I moved up the ranks to Explorer Lieutenant, which in my department, I was the commander of my division. Our Explorer program was huge, we have a few hundred Explorers in multiple divisions across the county. I continued with the Explorers up to the point I was hired to become a sworn officer at 21.
I started to work at a minimum security jail, awaiting to attend the academy. It was an eye opener for me, I’ve never had any interactions with inmates or the criminal element while in uniform. At first, I was not very assertive because of my usual friendly personality. I didn’t start there with much of a command presence until one day, I was telling an inmate not to talk while walking back to my compound. He responded by laughing at me when he was out of my line of sight. I had a very good Sergeant who saw the entire interaction and pulled that inmate aside and with colorful language, asked him what was so funny and that if he ever disrespected anyone who has a badge and uniform like he did, that he’d be sent back to a more secure facility. There was an instant attitude adjustment and the inmate apologized to me right after.
I soon attended the academy, which was an experience that was rewarding because of how difficult it was to accomplish, as it should be. My academy was a high stress and four months long. There I learned how to be a peace officer. From physical training, arrest and control techniques, firearms, laws, ethics, report writing, interrogation techniques and more. We were trained by the best tactical officers and instructors, who had a passion for making us the best officers we can be. Not everyone of us who started graduated. Most dropped on request, some were injured and some failed academically. Nonetheless, each and every classmate that graduated with me all went through the difficult academy together as a team and we all share a bond that will always stay with each of us.
After graduation, I was assigned to the same facility I was at before I left for the academy, which was nice because I knew all of my partners and was familiar with the facility. I found that inmates for the most part, would try in every way to take advantage of any weakness you show. So I became extremely strict and to letter of the law. Any inmate that didn’t follow my instructions or violated any jail rule was most definitely written up. Let’s say there were a lot of write-ups. I learned after a few months that writing everyone up for every single rule was not very effective since it was very time consuming to do so. I learned to pick my battles and how to communicate more effectively, making me much more effective and efficient at my job. This didn’t mean I stopped writing inmates up, I just wrote up those that really deserved it. To sum up my experience in the jails in one sentence, it is like babysitting adults.
After four years at the jail, I put in a transfer to go to court operations. It was a totally different world was entering. At the jail, I had very little interaction with the public. The main types of interactions I had at the jails were with visitors. When I got to the courthouse, I wasn’t used to dealing with members of the public, out of custody defendants and court staff. It took me a few weeks to get used to it. At the jail, inmates know not to get close to you, you usually had an invisible force field that no inmate entered or they might be deemed a threat and put against the wall or on the ground. At the courthouse, however members of the public have absolutely no clue and do not respect your space, some will be inches from your face to talk to you or think it’s okay to tap you on the shoulder. You just have to do your best to keep your distance and not have a use of force incident every time someone gets in your space. At the courthouse, you are always in close proximity to people, whether it be in the courtroom, hallway or anywhere, all you can do is be extremely proactive and alert at all times.
On my down time, I try my best to stay current on events and new tactics and technologies to stay relevant and up to date as it changes daily and over the years. Whether it be firearms, medical, hand to hand combat, it is always evolving.
I love what I do for a living and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I can honestly say that through all of my training both on and off duty and my professional and personal life experience has made me the most effective Officer I can be.

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