T Nation

Police Academy


I have a research paper to write on recommendations for training programs for new police officers.

Now I know everyone likes to bitch about cops and what they do wrong... so here is your chance to try to think of positive changes to training systems in order to produce better officers.

Do you think a militaristic approach to training translates well to civilian encounters and policing?

Should officers have more training in the community and less classroom training?

Any and all comments are appreciated as I'm really trying to brainstorm some good theories.


I apologise for being so far off topic, but I thought you were posting about this:


Notice the date listed on it. You may be asking yourself, as I did, "Why? For the love of god, why?"
That's like asking "why" about genocide or the clubbing of baby seals; no answer can fully satisfy.


I have no idea what their training consists of now, so I couldn't recommend changes. I am curious as to how they are taught to weild their discretion to ignore or inforce petty shit.


Maybe I can help.

Im employed full time as a cop and I also am a tactics trainer at a police academy.

The police academy I went to was ultra-militaristic(modeled after marine corps basic training). We engaged in all sorts of high stress mind games when ever somebody in the class screwed up or whenever the instructors felt like it. There was plenty of screaming and yelling and all of that.

Do I personally feel that those aspects have ever helped me in my career? Not at all. They give a lot of reasons for that type of training. They include A.) it weeds out lesser motivated people(not really true in my experience...some real humps got by) B.) it teaches you to manage stressful situations which is obviously improtant in police work(I also disagree with this as playing mind games does not mimic any of the stresses I have faced on the job) or C.) it gives every cop a starting point, a new birth of sorts, and attaches some concept of sacrifice to the job which hoepfully cuts down on bad behavior later. While Im not crazy about some of the militaristic aspects, the academy should be a tough, trying ordeal in the sense that the physical and mental work is should be difficult.

Ideally, academy training should be focused on learning the job. It is way more complex and dangerous than it used to be. In most academies, their concept of physical training and tactical training at the recruit level is pretty bad and does not reflect the real world.

Despite my critique of the way business is done in a lot of academies, I certainly cant see much of basic training being done in the community. Like I said, there is sooooo much to be learned in the classroom, gym, practice field, and shooting range that something has to be sacrificed.

We did a couple of community outreach type things as recruits. They were nice PR, but to be quite frank, they didnt teach me shit. Most of us thought they were a complete waste of valuable time...much like daily uniform inspections lasting an hour or more(if somebody screwed up at these inspections, we sometimes spent 3 hours marching around and getting yelled at. What a waste).

In most places, police training is pretty bad if you know what really goes on. I dont think it should be further watered down by any attempt to integrate
basic police training into the community.

Once a cop is out on the street, then thats a different story alltogether. Trust me when I tell you that good cops learn to work in the community very quickly.

Feel free to PM me if you need anything you think I could help with.


Hello Sic,
First, nice avatar.
Now, I am not a police officer, but I aspire to be in the future so my comments may be off base.
I have taken the entry level physical exams and to me they are extremely and low. Many POST exams score pass fail, so whether you do great or just sorta good you still pass. I'm sure these scores count somewhere along the way but they aren't tough to beat, especially if you train specifically for them.

I think classroom training is a vital base. However as many might add in later, the real training comes from doing the job, FTO and then on to actually driving/walking your beat.

The strangest thing I found is pullups don't ever seem to be used, or rarely. Also, it would seem that physical standards and tests disappear after the academy. This probably works great for those who are naturally big and strong but others get way out of shape from sitting all day. We've all seen the guy who doesn't look like he could run down anything.
My .02


My dad's a popo in the T.On. Has 25 years in. When he first got on the force all you had to be was 6'2 and be able to read. He's not particularily smart outside of policing but became a UC (undercover)in vice and organized crime. He was also a training officer for 2 years.

He says a lot of people that come in have the social worker mentality. Where I live Police foundations is a big collge course. Everybody who want to become cops takes it. What they dont do is evalutae themselves and think "hey I'm a fuck up, do I really think I'm gonna get into the PD". No these guys end of doin security at the local mall.

My Dad had a friend on the hiring squad who said they'd rather hire someone with life experience (read not a fucktard that takes police foundations)than some jackass that thinks being a cop is all about fighting and having a gun. He alos told me about the way IA treats officers. According to him, in the old days guys took care of each other. Now your not sure if your partner is going to rat on you or run away when the shit hits the fan.

Modern Police training is highly evolved. It may have flaws, but the difficulties arise in that the community has mixed feeling about the police.

I'll end with someting my Dad once said that stuck in my mind. We live in a rural area, away from they city in which he works that is full of fucktards. They all call him when they need advice on legal shit, yet they all talk about him behind his back. He asked on particular asshole, while holding him in an armbar, "who do you call when someone robs your house, steals your car, or rapes your sister? A criminal."

Sorry about the rant. As you can see I've been raised by cops.




Thanks guys, you've given me some things to think about with your comments.

This isn't exactly on topic but I can't understand why there haven't been yearly physical standards imposed. Physical health is so strongly emphasized in the beginning process but it seems to have no bearing after a few years go by.


Wouldn't departments want to ensure that their officers stay strong and healthy?

Most firefighters that I know have at least a few minimum yearly physical requirements to meet.

Obviously there would be a lot of police officers that wouldn't meet the standards or would have a really hard time getting themselves back in shape, so it would be a pain in the ass to enforce a policy like this.

Some departments, like IN State Police, are moving in the opposite direction and doing away with things like education requirements because recruitment is so low. Imagine if they did away with physical requirements on an entry level as well...


If the cops would actually spend the majority of the time stopping real crime instead of writing tickets etc. they would get much more respect.


I think their workouts usually consist of beating down innocent people. They tend to go at them until they get tired or they kill the "suspect." See the Rodney King video for a display of this type of workout. Once one officer completes his billy club set to failure, another one steps in and does his or her set. This could go on for a while even while the "suspect" is on the ground prone or unconscious.


I think you just answered your own question at the end. Enrollment numbers are down across the country for cops so they are trying to make it easier to get new guys onto the force; even if they aren't in the best of shape.

Now, they still have to take a physical test, but the standards are pretty easy for everyone (even those who don't lift or do cardio) to meet.

My dad has been a state trooper for 25 years and he is in charge of administering the annual fitness test. If a guy who's currently on the force fails the test, he gets a certain number of days to train and re-take the test.


I guess I could waste 5 minutes of my time and set you straight but why bother? You already seem to know everything about cops. Tool.

As far as physical standards, there are a number of reasons they are not imposed after the academy. Unions have fought them. A lot of administrators dont like them because people get injured, or worse, and then the disability claims roll in. Often, the argument is what tests acurately represent the job. There have been many lawsuits over the fact that no one has ever needed to do a pushup in the course of their duties. Is that silliness? You bet. Im all for yearly fitness tests but that is an uphill battle in most places.


I can't answer the why, but I agree with you. I worked with some real lard-asses when I was in the field (planning on going back in).

Most departments -- but not all -- here in MN do not maintain any kind of physical standards post-hiring, which is really irritating.


Hey Sic, is that you in your avatar? If so, HOT!


I am also a full time police officer. I have been with my department for 3 years. I am now a detective.

While on the road I was very polite to every person I delt with. I believe that receiving a ticket or going to jail doesn't have to be the worst thing in the world for you. I am so nice on traffic stops that I have had peolpe say "Thank You" after I wrote them a citiation.

I delt with cops when I was younger and they were all butt head jerks. I decided that when I became a cop I would treat everyone fairly. In doing so I received "Officer of the year" in 2004 and I am receiving it this year as well.

I know I was slightly off topic but I felt compelled to give a better light on cops, we're not all bad. As for academy training... You can't learn in a class room how to be a good cop. You will learn basic state law and some tactics you can use on the street. The best learning block for a cop is on the street. And remember...If you are nice to the people they will be goos for you. You may need some of these people that you may think are POS's but remember as a cop the word "Informant"

Good Luck!! IF you are interested I could give you my real name and you could google it and see what I have done in my career.


Good job! You seem like one of the very few stand up cops out there. Unfortunately most cops arent like you. We need a few more of YOU protecting us rather than the egotistical, quota reaching, power tripping, abuse of power, ones. Again Kal-El, good job!


I try to let shit like this roll off my back but Im not in the mood as a great cop in a neighboring jurisdiction was killed in a car crash last night. He was my brother's mentor. My brother was also working last night, and I thought for a few minutes that it may have been him.

It wasnt, but he didnt get out of this unscathed. His coat is still covered with his buddies blood from trying to get him out of the car.

You dont know any cops, golf boy. Your sweeping generalizations prove this.

I know hundreds of cops. Ive seen some incredible acts of bravery and sacrifice.

Yea. Nobody likes us because we write tickets(which is more the result of greedy political pressure, but thats another story). Honestly, I have been embarassed by the way SOME cops have treated people in my presence. Ive even said something to them about it on occassion.

But this webpage still exists:


and there is still a wall in Washington with my fallen brothers names on it.


Because we protect spoiled brats like you.


Way to go. Thanks for assuming who I know and what I've been through with cops. Its ok its your job to assume point fingers.

"You dont know any cops, golf boy. Your sweeping generalizations prove this." Its your entire job to make generalizations. Pot meet kettle. Keep up with the name calling though. I'm glad someone as mature as yourself is in charge of protecting. Scary to say the least.

At no point did I say ALL cops and I commended the previous poster on his award. He's a good one. I know some good ones and I also know some questionable character ones. Cops have a bad reputation how did it become like that? I dont know many people that respect cops as a whole how was this brought about? My guess, questionable actions.

Quick story. Friend was driving 2 weeks in his moms car, he's 42. They stopped him and said his car was on the "stolen" list. They took him down to the station. He went to get the car off the "stolen" list. BTW He had to wheel his mom out of the hospital and bring her down there for that. Oops it turns out its not on the stolen list and never was. Oops cops did an illegal stop. Oops my friend is going to be out a few thousand in court and lawyer fees and lost wages and time from his life.

6 months ago I had 4 cars and 8 police pull me over because they said I did a rolling stop. WRONG! They ran everything on me and questioned me and found nothing. I didnt get a ticket because I didnt do anything wrong and THEY were wrong. Yet they felt the need to stop me and do their "cop'ing."


nice attitude! hmm...nothing more enjoyable than listening to someone with overbearing self-importance...

cocky insults do nothing to help the police be seen in a more positive light...


To prevent this thread from turning into a pissing match with PGA I will stay on topic. Background info: 6 years as a cop, split time between street and working the jail. The Paramilitary approach isn't the best approach towards training but it does tend to weed out the bottom of the barrel, you should see what doesn't make it.

The problem with Interpersonal communication skills(how you deal with other people) is that you really can't teach them, you either have them or you don't. Maybe if more time was spent on the importance of IPC skills and diffusing a situation there wouldn't be as bad of a rep for police officers.

As for the physical standards, some departments ahve them but the PBA is strong and they squash them in most Dept's. What you have to keep in mind is that law enforcement is an ever changing field. If 7 out of every 10 people you speak to are a thief, a liar, an asshole, a member of ms-13, a blood, a latin king, a nyeta, a crip a murderer, or a child rapist its hard to turn that off for the other 3 honest people out there.

Police officers are a direct product of the environment they work in after the academy, not the 5 months they spend in the academy. If something were needed to be changed I would say a more in depth psychological profile of people entering the academy to weed out the people in their for a 25 year power trip.

Once that process was finished I would think maybe some form of psychology class for the recruits to better understand the people they will be dealing with to better prepare them to be a dick to the gang banger then flip a mental switch and not offend the oh so sensitive types out there who think cops only beat down rodney "I'm high on PCP" king and that we don't protect and serve the community from the above listed scum(sorry for the run on).