Thursday, March 31, 2011

Student Drivers

At this point, JD’s academy class has survived law classes, SCAT (Subject Control and Arrest Techniques), getting pepper sprayed, and shooting.  It seems as though the hard part is over, but there are still some unexpected surprises.  
This week they’re doing driving courses, which is something I’d never stopped to consider that a police officer might need training on.  I mean, driving is something everyone over the age of 16 knows how to do, but I guess most haven’t practiced speeding down alleyways or anything :)
Surprisingly, the driving course is one of the most difficult parts of the academy, and yesterday, the first of their classmates was “let go,” (as opposed the others who’ve quit) because she failed the driving course.  JD took it hard- they’re like a little family now, and to lose someone now that they’re already halfway done was a devastating blow.
Their driving test consisted of a precision course laid out with orange cones.  They had to complete it in a certain time limit without knocking down too many cones, and they had to pass the course at both day and night.  Anyone who didn’t pass the course was out of the academy… and a job, which means 3 months of hellish training for nothing.
Although the driving course marks the first “firing” they’ve seen, it doesn’t mean that they’re not constantly being tested both academically and physically.  They have tests at least once a week, and the pressure of “pass or go home” always lingers.
Yesterday was a reminder that there’s still a lot of work left and it’s not over till they graduate in July, but JD is kicking ass just like I knew he would, so I have no worries that he will be getting his badge in a few months.

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