1/4 of the Way There
Today was the end of my fourth week which leaves only twelve more to go.
At Thursday's morning's inspection, a cloud of small gnat-like flies descended on our formation. As I was trying to stay perfectly still, I could feel dozens of tiny bugs crawling all over the left side of my face. Then, they started biting. What started as an annoyance quickly became an internal battle not to scream or run away. I was able to quickly brush my face with my hand without the sergeant seeing but a few minutes later there were twice as many bugs on me. I could also see the row of recruits in front of me struggling to handle their own bug invasions. Several of my peers were repeatedly blowing air out of their noses to stop the swarm from crawling up their nostrils. They were making so much noise doing this that it attracted the attention of the sergeant from a different class. He came over yelling 'What the hell is wrong with you people!?!?" Everyone was smart enough to not answer (making excuses for anything is unacceptable and only earns you more discipline). Finally, the guy next to me couldn't take it anymore and used both hands to wipe the bugs off his face. Our sergeant saw this and promptly ordered him into the pushup position on the ground with the comment, "Maybe the bugs won't bother you down there." It was absolute torture trying to stand there at attention while the tiny bugs crawled all over my neck, face, and even inside my ear.
Our class logged about 15 miles of trail running through the mountains this week and the ankles, knees, and hamstrings are looking forward to a nice weekend of rest and recovery. I thought I was in pretty good shape before starting the academy but have definitely felt challenged on some of the steep trails and sprints.
On Friday, we finally got out of the classroom to practice domestic violence scenarios. Me and another recruit were told to respond to a domestic disturbance in progress. We then had to force entry into a room and confront a few actors staging a family fight. We had to quickly scan the area for weapons, establish the relationship between the parties, separate them to get their stories, and then figure out if there was probable cause to make an arrest. We made the right arrest decisions but incurred several tactical errors (like turning a back to a hostile subject and forgetting to ask if anyone else was in the house). It was fun to finally practice being an officer but made me realize how much we still have to learn.
Thanks again for your comments, and especially to Howie for the offer to help. I'm managing to study and still get things done but appreciate the offer. I may take you up if things get any busier. Luckily, my wife Vicki has been able to pick up most of the slack although she, too is feeling the strain of the demanding workload.