Back in college, the first session of a new class was often just a "Here's your syllabus, see you next time!" Fortunately, that was not the case at our first night of the Citizen Police Academy. We were warmly welcomed on our way in by members of the Gurnee Police Department and given binders chock full of info that would carry us through our twelve weeks of class. We met Chief Jones and learned class requirements from Commander Caldwell (don't miss more than two classes in order to graduate; one ride-along is required). We signed our participation waivers and flipped through our binders. Whew!
With the formalities out of the way, Deputy Chief Kincaid took the podium to describe the hiring process and field training program. It can take between 8 and 10 months to have a new police officer trained and fully able to patrol on his/her own. D.C. Kincaid described all the phases of the hiring/training process. She stressed that the department invests a great deal of time and money into each officer to ensure he/she is thoroughly trained and feels confident with the job. An officer receives good training at the Academy, but putting that training to use on the street (under the supervision of a Field Training Officer), is where the skill and techniques become a part of the officer.
After we toured the station, we called it a night and headed home. If the other classes are anything like tonight's, then the next 11 weeks look very promising!