What Is it Like in the Police Academy?

As a police academy recruit you will become a more disciplined individual.

As a police academy recruit you will become a more disciplined individual.

Imagine getting in-depth training on the law and undergoing a physical transformation at the same time. This is what life is like for those in the police academy. As an officer-in-training your mind will be filled with knowledge of upholding the law and your body will morph into a leaner, stronger you. Forget about dieting, start a new career as a police officer.

Education

Police academies provide training and education in the law and instruction in firearms and defensive driving techniques. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to use a gun and the thought of being the next "Cagney & Lacy" thrills you, you should try law enforcement. Your days will be filled with classroom work and physical training exercises designed to prime you for your new position. While training at the academy you will log an average of 761 hours of classroom training and -- depending upon the department that hires you -- you could start earning your annual salary on day one of training. For example the Los Angeles Police Department provides free training and starts paying salary the day you begin training. You may also be required to attend additional training depending upon the agency that has hired you and the position you are filling.

Discipline

While attending the academy your days of sleeping in will be over. Recruits start their days around 8 a.m. with exercise, which includes jogging. It's advised you start the academy physically fit, or it could be a struggle for you. For example, recruits at the Oakland Police Academy not only run, but must be able to complete a set number of push-ups and sit ups. Academy training involves strict hours and healthier eating habits and varies based on the agency you are working for. While police may be associated with donuts, none are going to be served to you at the academy. But don't fret, recruits are known for making the most of their downtime and tossing back cocktails as time permits, just make sure you are in before curfew.

Uniforms

One benefit of the academy is you will never have to worry about your wardrobe. Recruits dress comfortably in shorts or running pants, and everyone wears similar clothing. The goal of graduating the academy consumes all recruits and the social pressures of what to wear will take a back seat. One must-have item you should invest in is a good pair of running shoes, as you will be logging many miles on them while in training.

Location

According to the Bureau of Justice, more than 600 police academies are currently operating in the United States. Depending on where you are hired and reside, you may be attending an academy away from home. Larger cities often have an academy within commuting distance, which enables recruits to stay at home. But if you’re stuck away from home, take advantage of the situation. Use your downtime to take in the sights and culture of your new location. You are getting paid to be there anyway, so make the best of it. Recruits normally have some free time at the end of the day, so plan ahead and check out the area where your academy is located.

 

About the Author

Shannon Jones is a news editor and writer based in Michigan. Her work has received several writing awards, including the Richard Lacourse Award for investigative journalism. Jones holds master's degrees in both administration and marketing.

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