Monday, August 24, 2009

"A very tough individual"

Hello readers! Well another week has quickly passed in the academy. I am happy to report that the Jefferson County Sheriff Investigator injured in that well publicized incident has under gone surgery last week and the doctors are happy with his progress.

This incident has made many of the cadets reflecting on our chosen professions. There are many incidents where police officers follow all officer safety rules, procedures and yet unconsidered results can occur. I guess this is where the phrase “that’s why I get paid the big bucks” originated. Yet, I have personally never seen or heard of a police officer that walked away from their job after a life threatening incident. I have never met this investigator nor do I know any of his family. However, we have had a couple of instructors who are good friends with this investigator and have worked with him for many years. ALL have said that the injured investigator would be back tomorrow if he could. They have explained to us that he loves his job and is a very tough individual. It is not a question of if he comes back to work but more of the question of when he will return. I admire his character and courage. Please have your thoughts or prayers with him as he recovers.

Now for my faithful readers who have kept up with the blogs, does this investigator sound like a sheep? A wolf? Or a sheepdog? The answer of course is a sheepdog. He has all of the characteristics. Another instructor pointed out a very important point. Police officers have to be a little crazy to do this job. When normal people run away from a situation, we run towards the incident. Once again, this Jefferson County investigator holds to these qualities and expectations.

When considering this incident and the character of this investigator, I would like to think I posses these same qualities. Yet I have never been tested in the way other officers have. .….. I have never been run over and drug by a car and come back and ask for more.
I will need to confront many situations and gain experience to truthfully make that assessment. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with our investigator and his family. I have no doubt that he will make a speedy recovery. I hope that he rejoins his Jefferson County family very soon.

I also have to tell my readers before I leave that this week I am class sergeant so I am not sure how many entries I will have this week. However you can count on an entry talking about this experience.

Until next time

Friday, August 21, 2009

Investigator injured

In the news recently there was a Jefferson county investigator that was seriously injured last afternoon during an arrest operation by the Auto Theft Task Force. The investigator was hospitalized and is in serious condition. His injuries are not life threatening, thankfully he is expected to make a complete recovery. The Academy recruits along with all Jefferson County employees our keeping the investigator in our prayers and thoughts for his complete and full recovery. We hope he returns to our family soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A morning ritual ...

Deputy Johnson, one of the instructors at the academy has introduced a practice that really drives home the concept of the analogy of Sheep, Sheepdogs and wolves for me. I do find it moving, very appropriate, and I assume all the other recruits place the same thought and emotions into the request that I do.

Each morning, all recruits stand in formation and pay respects to police officers in Colorado that have died in the line of duty. There is a 20 second period of silence to pay respect and honor those whom have fallen. Following the period of silence, each recruit calls out the name of an officer that has fallen protecting and serving the communities around the state of Colorado. This happens each day. There are a couple of reasons for this memorial process. First, we pay our respects to each individual that has given their life in serving and protecting the community. Second, it truly drives home the reality of the dangers associated with the job. While showing respect to the fallen and listening to the multitude of names associated with fallen police officers, a true and cold, reality develops regarding the concepts of officer safety, the importance of training, and making sure that one understands and is able to perform all aspects of the job we are training for at the Academy.

We, as citizens of the United States and of Colorado, should acknowledge and appreciate those who have come before us and those who have given their lives in order to protect and serve. This acknowledgment is not just for police officers, but all first responders and military personnel. It is about being grateful to those who are willing to place themselves between the Sheep of the world and the wolves of the world. It is about honoring those that have paid the ultimate price to allow us the freedom of choice, the freedom of speech, and the freedom from fear that we all take for granted, especially in this country. Take a moment to thank them for their service.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sheep, Sheepdogs & Wolves

As promised here is a midweek entry to the Academy Experience.

There are some concepts about how the populations of the world function in relation to police and military situations that I think all prospective police officers should consider before entering the academy. I was aware of how law enforcement addresses these concepts, though not in the exact terms of the analogy to follow before I entered the academy due to my K-9 training experiences and the fact that I hung out with plenty of cops during that training. These concepts were presented to the cadets in the academy through a paper authored by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman of the United States Army. He presents the concept that there are three types of people in the world. There are Sheep, there are Sheepdogs and there are wolves. In this analogy the sheep represent the everyday citizen. They are nice, peaceful, honest, law abiding and go about their business each day. Lt Col. Grossman believes these people are naive and unaware about what is happening in their surroundings and how the world is functioning around them. I am not sure if I agree with Lt. Col. Grossman entirely on this concept. I believe the sheep in this world have at least an idea of how the world works around them but for whatever reason, don’t want to deal with the problems that a functioning society within the world creates.

The wolves represent the criminals that routinely take advantage of the sheep. They prey on the sheep and use them for their benefit. The wolves can and usually are vicious or mean in some form; some are more vicious and ruthless than others. But all prey on the sheep in some method or form. Most sheep are scared of the wolves and truthfully do not know how to deal or stop the wolves’ actions. This is where the Sheepdogs enter the picture. The Sheepdogs represent the various law enforcement agencies around the world and all military personnel. These are the individuals that step forward, placing themselves between the sheep and the wolves; in other words, the Sheepdogs fight the Wolves and what the Wolves are attempting to do. The Sheepdogs are the saviors of various societies around the world.

The sad part of this analogy is that in real life the Sheepdogs don’t really fit into society life. The wolves don’t like them because they are constantly fighting and stopping them from hurting the sheep. The sheep like to have the sheepdogs around because of the protection provided from the wolves. But the sheepdogs make many of the sheep nervous because they resemble the wolf. They have fangs, they growl and they fight when necessary. The Sheepdogs hide within the population of the sheep, waiting for the wolf to appear to hassle or hurt the sheep; or to challenge the Sheepdogs. Sheepdogs never look for a fight, but at the same time, will never run away from one either. Sheepdogs will handle any situation in an attempt to help the Sheep. The Sheepdogs are always willing to “Protect and Serve”. Whether the sheep know it or not, Sheep could not survive without the sheepdog. Most sheep realize this but there are many that do not. That’s acceptable, because the Sheepdog doesn’t care how the Sheep feel. Sheepdogs will be there and will do the job no matter what the situation. It is not fame or fortune that the sheepdog is after. It is to fill the need of the sheepdog to “Protect and Serve”. Some believe that sheepdogs are born and they just naturally step forward and accept the responsibility. I believe that to be true, but also feel that Sheepdogs can be created. An individual just has to make a conscious decision to become a Sheepdog. To become a Sheepdog, there must be a natural sequence of decisions and actions that must be taken. This process begins with the establishment and acceptance of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, and respect.

The point of this blog entry is not to promote or change anyone’s opinion of law enforcement or of the military. This entry is more about having all citizens think about whom they truly are. This entry represents an attempt to create an understanding about the role of those that protect and serve societies all over the world. For those of you contemplating becoming a police officer, please consider this analogy and the following paragraph seriously. I truly believe that the more one contemplates this analogy, contemplates who you are and what you represent to all those in your life, you will discover where you fit. The reality to consider is what are you really? A Sheep? A Sheepdog? Or a Wolf?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Week #4

I would like to start with an apology to my readers, I dropped the ball this week. After indicating I would have more entries in the blog, I got tied up with other responsibilities and was unable to keep my promise. The instructors must have read the line in the last blog where I indicated that I was getting things under control. I am sorry about my lack of entries. However, I am still planning to post more in the future.

We had our first skills day this week. We were introduced to CPR and first aid concepts. It was interesting and enjoyed the presentations and practical work. As much as I hate to admit this, I have never taken CPR or a First Aid class before this presentation, so everything was brand new to me. As indicated the instruction was part class work and part practical. We worked on everything from doing CPR on an adult to CPR on a child and become familiar with the AED. I have to say it was more fun than work. When completing the exercises, I couldn’t help but wonder when or who I would be doing this on in the future. During the Academy, I have heard a lot of stories from experienced officers, and I wonder how well I will do under the pressure of a life or death situation. Like most things in the academy, you are taught what to do and then tested on the concepts while under pressure through various tests and developed situations. I feel confident that I will do fine but until tested, in real life, no one can be absolutely sure of how they will react. All I can say for sure is that I have been well prepared, I know what I am doing, I feel confident in my knowledge and in the practical application of what I have learned and I will complete my duty to the best of my ability. The reason for the training is so that when one is placed in that situation, one reacts in the way that they have been trained. This is very similar to practice in athletics in which I have plenty of experience. One keeps practicing the basics, using the basics in practical situations, and come game time, one is prepared to react.

My favorite part of the class is when the instructors create a scenario and the members of the class had to apply what they had learned. Our group made some small mistakes but over all, we did a great job on the prepared scenarios.

We also had more PT (Physical Training) this week. I find PT fun and challenging. PT has consisted of running, running stairs and working out in the weight room. However, one day this week, the PT was a little different. We went on a run for about 45 minutes. I think in total we ran between 2 or 3 miles. I could be off on the distance. It felt like more than that for a large stretch was mostly up hill. It was fun and I enjoyed the challenge of the run and the self imposed competition between members of the academy. I was a bit tired when we were done. I take this to mean that in addition to the academy PT and the PT I am doing on my own time, I need to work out more. This introduction to running hills will be nothing to what we have been told we will experience when we run up Lookout Mountain. For those of you who do not know what Lookout Mountain is, it’s a large mountain that each Jefferson County Recruit runs before graduation! It is a right if passage and big workout. I believe we will all make it and will have fun doing it.

Until next time…. Which will be soon


Katie doing mouth-to-mouth

Me doing mouth to mouth

Me doing mouth to mouth

Jerry with his practice baby

Ish being a burn victim

Me with me and my fake cell phone will pretending to be a victim that hurt himself during arrest control

Our burn victim again

Our class sargent explaining his first aid skills

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week #3

This blog post is for Teresa from Wheat Ridge. I have been told that she has been reading my blog when she is bored or has nothing better to do. I will take that as a complement. For those of you that are like Teresa and seem to enjoy reading brief summaries about our academy experiences, I am happy to tell you that I am going to make an effort to try to post more entries. I wanted to get situated with academy life, become familiar with what is expected of me, and I wanted to make sure that I was prepared each day to meet these challenges. We are now finishing up week three and I feel that we have been introduced to most of the routines that we will be dealing with for the next 17 weeks and maybe I will have a little more time. On that note, let’s take a look at this week’s activities.

This has been a big week for the recruits. We had our first inspection. Now, I am not going to lie about this,………. I was very nervous. For those of you that have not experienced a formal inspection, I will explain. An inspection is a routine common to law enforcement agencies and to the various military branches. Recruits line up in formation and while the instructor inspects your uniform for standard neatness and appearance, you are asked variety of questions regarding an infinite amount of subjects, of which you are expected to know the answers. For everything wrong with the uniform detail, your appearance, any questions asked that cannot be answered correctly or any fact that you have failed to remember that is obviously extremely important to the instructor, there is a mandatory follow up memo by the offending recruit to the instructor. This follow up memo will explain to the instructor the correct answer, why you didn’t know the correct answers, along with a list of everything that was discovered to be wrong with your uniform detail, appearance and a thorough explanation why this situation will never happen again. I will use my inspection questions as an example:

Instructor: Kevin, who is the Sheriff of Jefferson County?
Kevin: Sir, Sheriff Ted Mink is the Sheriff of Jefferson County, Sir.
Instructor: That is correct. Now, who was the Sheriff before Sheriff Mink?
Kevin: Sir, Sheriff Cook, Sir
Instructor: Good. And before him?
Kevin: Sir, I don’t know that information, but I will find that information for you as quickly as possible, Sir!

This first inspection, I believe, was geared to take an individual that is nervous and under stress and force them to think and create answers while under that stress. The questions would continue to roll out of the instructor until the recruit would have to admit they did not know the answer. In other words, I believe every person in the academy will be writing a memo of some sort to the instructor. As I have indicated, since I have already said I wouldn’t lie about it, I was nervous but I did enjoy the experience and the confidence you begin to build in yourself and the other academy members as we stand inspection, complete physical training and the classroom aspect of the academy. It is performing under stress. It is a good feeling. I enjoy it.

We also had our first exam this week. It was thorough and brought back memories of studying and prepping for college exams. I scored what I believe was above average but I can and will do better. The test questions covered everything we have been exposed to and have been introduced to over the past three weeks. There has been a great deal of information covered and you must absorb and retain everything. Your life and other lives can depend on this information.

I feel like I am learning a ton which is good. I will continue to learn and I will get better. However, one must continually prove this during tests and quizzes, practical skills and physical fitness. All the while performing under self imposed and purposely created stress. To be successful, we will all make adjustments, work harder, and I believe it will happen for all of us.

Until next time…….


P.S. Teresa,………….. It will be soon and I hope you continue to enjoy these memos of our experiences.

Monday, August 3, 2009

PT and Class Work

Week #2 started with our first physical fitness session. It should be explained that the Jefferson County Sheriff Academy physical training does start slow. Meaning, the amount of physical training builds in intensity as the program proceeds. This is good for all the recruits, especially for those that might not have been warned about the role of fitness in the program and have failed to prepare. However, like most recruits already know, if you are thinking about applying with any police department there is a definite need to stay in shape. That was the advice that was given to me prior to entering the academy and that I took that advice seriously. I am passing that advice along to anyone that is interested in pursuing a spot in a police academy. Physical fitness is a very important aspect of your training. It is also important to note if you are going to be applying with the Jefferson County Sheriff or will be attending the Jefferson County Sheriff Academy, there is no flat land to be found in the surrounding area. Therefore, it must be said, whatever can be driven down hill will be used to run up. In this spirit, one should realize in their preparation for the academy, running hills is highly suggested for it will be the main course on the menu at the academy.

The academy instructors have stressed from day one that the importance of staying in shape isn’t for fun any more. Being in good physical shape is looked upon as the difference between going home at night and very possibly not. Being in good physical shape is the essence of being able to take care of yourself and the other officers you will be working with. Each officer relies on having the individuals they are working with being physically able to handle any situation. It is your obligation to be able to do so. This cannot be stressed enough. It will be drilled into all recruits from the fist day and will continue through each individual’s career. It should never be forgotten.

In week one and now in week two, there has been a lot of class work with power point presentations covering a variety of subjects including Criminal Justice Process, Bias and Ethical Policing, Crime Prevention, Stress Management, Nutrition, Physical Fitness and Victim Rights. Like with learning anything new, it is important to establish a foundation before you build a house. Each of the presentations is vital to building that foundation which will obviously be needed as one’s career progresses.

Until next week,