Today was the funnest day of the academy so far. The class met at the police driving track at 0600 and watched a few driving videos. Then, we hit the track and got to drive a police cruiser full speed through a series of curves, dog-legs, and straightaways (all the while passing through 9 foot wide 'gates' set up with orange traffice cones). We then spent more time in the classroom learning about proper steering, braking, and acceleration. Finally, we put our new techniques to use as we screamed through the race track a few more times. By the end, I had the tires of my police cruiser squealing the entire time (except for on the long straight section).
Some of my classmates pushed too hard and ended up leaving the roadway and spinning out in the dirt. We had to complete the course within a certain time limit and each cone that was knocked over added two seconds to a driver's overall time. If your car left the track, you were disqualified.
The afternoon was spent on more difficult backing manuevers. We had to drive the car forward and backward through a narrow curving course. This was also timed and we were not allowed to knock over any cones. To pass, we had to successfully drive through the course three consecutive times without any mistakes. Some of my classmates took a dozen or so tries before completing this one.
Last week, my class performed poorly on the practice scenarios. These are random situations performed by actors that test our ability to respond appropriately. I failed one of the situations when I forgot to call for backup and didn't properly secure a weapon I found on the suspect. When you fail, you have one more chance to pass by completing a remedial scenario that is similar to the failed one (failing the remedial scenario is considered a double failure). While some recruits didn't miss any, the majority of us failed one or several of the tests. I could tell our sergeant was very disappointed in us as a whole. We will be graded on the second set of scenarios coming up next week. If any one has a double failure, they will be dismissed from the academy so there is quite a bit of anxiety right now.
Only four more weeks to go until graduation (January 13th).