Something I would like to see discussed. training academies / boot camp

#1
I really want to hear a discussion on boot camp training and paramilitary police academy training. History, how, why, changes, pros and cons.

I went though the police academy in 07. Started teaching at our regional academy around 2014 probably. Right now I’m trying to get a federal job which will require another academy. As far as boot camp goes I really don't know anything about it. I'm more interested in police academy training. However police academies seem to be based off of boot camp style training. This also makes me curious to hear about the history of boot camp in general. Especially since (I think at least) the military has changed so much since the late 1800's or early 1900's. How has boot camp changed and what exactly was it created for.

While everything I'm about to write is based off of my academy experience as a student and instructor (separate academies same state) I have a strong suspicion most are similar elsewhere.

Also the fact that every single FTO tells people "forget everything you learned in the academy." Well what the fuck is the point of having an academy. It seems that the only reason it exist is for tradition. I went through a sucky experience, so you should too.

What I have observed.
PT aspect. A very diverse group of people are brought in. Extremely different in age, physical ability, work capacity, technique, recovery ability and many other things. Basically the plan is to run a lot and do push ups. I'm a former college athlete, so the PT wasn't that hard for me. I do know that in the end and got much weaker overall. I'm 6-01 and went in around 190+ and I came out in the mid 170s. I see similar things at each academy. Most people don't actually have trouble getting the run time or even push ups they are already skinny and probably weak. I guarantee they all leave weaker overall. One question I have is what is the point of PT? Its not training for the job. If it was there would actually be some thought put into it on how to maximize performance. There is a diminishing return on everything. At some point, someone can run fast enough or long enough or be strong enough that focus can be put on something else. There is zero thought put into recovery or mobility or even strength. Is this too much to ask from an academy? At some levels it probably is, but not for others.
As far as physical fitness goes, you have people for 12-20 weeks. You could really help people physically. How many fat cops or even not fat cops are going to complain about back pain or other pains that develop because they sit all day. "We are making sure people can survive" or some other bullshit. Why not actually spend the entire time working on jujitsu or kick boxing. I don't mean all day every day, but 2 or 3 times a week instead of a few days of PPCT.

The overall yelling and fuckery
I will be the first to admit I came in green as fuck and I think some of this was good for me. As an instructor I see a lot of this bullshit get in the way of people actually learning. Ok, I need you to get up at 0400 and get smoked. Now I want you to sit in a classroom and pay attention. By the way, you can't have any coffee and someone may come in here and fuck with you some more. Maybe there is a good explanation of why this is valuable. That's why I'm bringing this up, but I don't know what is has to do with with me being on patrol or CID or what I do now. I have no problem with and actually support some sort of selection process no matter how miserable you want to make it.

Marching?

The overall teaching / instructors
I mainly teach firearms. I have a pretty damn good grasp on shooting, instructing, whats relevant and not. I recently saw a video of a fed academy. I am have a strong feeling that what is being taught for firearms even at that level is garbage. I know how it is with firearms instructors. Everyone on here knows. Knowing that, I can't help but feel its the same way with every single topic that's taught in police academies. I know there are some really good instructors also, but from what I've seen personally at least with subjects I know a lot about, its pretty bad.
 
#3
The overall yelling and fuckery
I will be the first to admit I came in green as fuck and I think some of this was good for me. As an instructor I see a lot of this bullshit get in the way of people actually learning. Ok, I need you to get up at 0400 and get smoked. Now I want you to sit in a classroom and pay attention. By the way, you can't have any coffee and someone may come in here and fuck with you some more. Maybe there is a good explanation of why this is valuable. That's why I'm bringing this up, but I don't know what is has to do with with me being on patrol or CID or what I do now. I have no problem with and actually support some sort of selection process no matter how miserable you want to make it.
This is something I've wondered about police academies vs military basic training:

In my general, we have 3 training academies that we utilize.
One that is academic-based/university affiliated that holds recruits to reasonably high standards and high accountability but isn't boot camp. However the surveillance/big brother vibe they had going was off-putting.
(Probationers come with moderate skills but need retooling to fit department's needs)

One is state-run but for non state police that is a bunch of wannabe drill instructors that probably jerk off to the first 50 minutes of "Full Metal Jacket" on a nightly basis.
(Probationers can't shoot worth a damn or do anything in a way that makes sense to normal police except recite vehicle code by heart. You are berated the minuted you drive up and not even Advil is allowed)

The third is a fledgling institution, privately funded where the instructors are trying to out-shine the academic institution while being as hard-nosed as the state institution all while trying to get a new program off the ground. They appear to be a soup sandwich football bat that doesn't know whether it's coming or going and too disorganized to know it.


My point being is that no 2 teaching institutions appear to be the same and there is always some shades of military boot camp. While there are some cross-over elements on the basic level. What is the the rationale of using the same/similar model to train:
A) A 18-year old teen that don't know shit about shit how to be forged into honed instruments of warfare
vs
B) A 25-year old adult (and often older) with a bit more maturity how to be public servants and address crisis in their respective community

I've always found this interesting.
 
#5
As someone looking to start the academy at the start of this coming year, this topic is very interesting to me.
Not having been through, i wonder what things will be like here in my state.
I know one thing for sure, I’ve gotten a hell of a lot more out of my strength training in the last while than I ever got from pushups and running
 

Erick Gelhaus

Moderator
Moderator
#6
I really want to hear a discussion on boot camp training and paramilitary police academy training. History, how, why, changes, pros and cons.

Also the fact that every single FTO tells people "forget everything you learned in the academy." Well what the fuck is the point of having an academy. It seems that the only reason it exist is for tradition. I went through a sucky experience, so you should too.
I'll limit my comments as I had nothing to do with our regional academy unless we had trainees going through and even then it was just monitoring, mentoring them. Ten years total doing FTO stuff either as an FTO or as one of three sergeants supervising the program.

IF the FTOs are saying that to trainees, there is a problem and it is likely significant. I can't recall hearing it more than 1x when I went through the program in '90 and that was on a very specific issue. Won't say the FTOs that I worked with never said that but it would have been well out of the norm. Whether we agreed with or even liked the academy as a product, I think there was a general recognition that it was foundational. The minimum required knowledge to even begin learning what is needed to do the job. The FTOs hopefully are saying "here is what you were taught, this is how you build on it to work the road, street, etc" and that's what I heard. The academy is a minimum standard, every org on the planet has a minimum standard including NASA and SMUs. It is very likely the department who gets the academy grad will have a higher minimum standard.

As for the marching, yelling, fuckery ... there is a need for some of it. There is a need to respond, instantly, to directions, commands without debates, discussions. "A" way to do that is through drill & ceremony. Failure to respond appropriately - in terms of time or accuracy - has to be addressed and remediated. Push-up and other smoke session exercises can address that. The regional academy is not live-in and none of them are there much, if at all, before 7 AM so I'm unsure how that is adverse.

A recent academy class had multiple recruits fired out of it by different orgs. One was told to work at their organization on a day the academy was not in-session; said recruit called in sick but went out partying and posted pics to social media. Another apparently manscaped and when the concept became a topic of discussion showed several classmates what that meant, in the parking lot, at the end of the day. A third couldn't follow the uniform/grooming standards, held court during classes rather than STFU and listening to the instructor, as well as not progressing, improving to an acceptable PT standard.
Can't fix dishonesty, can't fix stupidity, could the piss poor self-discipline have been addressed through a couple of epic smoke sessions that might have had a benefit of improving PT performance? Maybe, doubtful, don't know.