After a four day weekend, I'll start my 15th week on Tuesday riding along with an officer in a busy precinct. This police precinct is in the southwest part of the city and is considered the most active. I will be a non-uniformed passenger and was hoping to have my bullet-proof vest by this day but it has not yet arrived from the manufacturer.
Last week's driving training was topped off by an exciting day on Friday. We got to put all of the different driving techniques we learned to the test on the 'challenge course.' This course included a long section of backing up, swerves, circles, narrow passageways, hairpin turns, and one long straightaway. Each cone knocked over added two seconds to the overall time. The goal time was under four minutes. We got three attempts and my best time was 2:51 (after the 1-cone penalty). The best time of the day was 2:41 but I was in the top five.
We were supposed to go home from the driving track but our sergeant asked us to return to the academy for some extra field-problem practice. We took turns walking into different scenarios being acted out by our defensive tactics instructor. When I entered the room, he was dressed in full pads so I was expecting a fight. My scenario involved a person with an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. As I handed him his drivers licencse, I quickly grabbed his wrist and twisted him into an arm bar. I then told him he was under arrest and placed him in handcuffs. I passed this test (many others in my class told the actor 'you're under arrest' or 'turn around' as soon as they walked in the room which prompted him to quickly run away). Other scenarios involved aggravated assault on a police officer and a check-welfare call on a man sleeping in the park. I was surprised to see some of my fellow classmates in action make bad decisions (like the person who shot the sleepy man as he awoke holding a knife -even though he was sitting down and 15 feet away). Others locked up and took no action during a violent attack on an unconscious officer (one that was serious enough to warrant lethal force).
I know it's hard to react under stress (especially when the rest of the class is watching) but I was hoping my classmates would at least accomplish the basic goal of each scenario. Most everyone did well but a few others showed a lack of confidence, safety tactics, and decision-making.
This week we'll have the final set of graded field problems so hopefully everyone will be prepared. We will also be tested on a firearm simulator. This is like a video game were we watch a scene unfold on a large video screen and react appropriately with a laser equipped gun. When and if we shoot, the simulator will show exactly where each shot hit. The simulator will test us on the decision of whether or not to shoot and where our shots actually go.