Monday, April 13, 2009

Weeks 13 & 14

Well, good news and bad news. Good news is that it's officially week fifteen as I write this... bad news is I'll have a week sixteen :( I'll explain why in a bit but for now let me tell you about the past two weeks.

Monday 03/30/09
0800-1150 History of Drugs and Abuse
1200-1300 Lunch
1400-1650 Drug Identification
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday came around and we weren't sure how "Drug Week" was going to be - some of us had heard good things and others had heard it was boring. I, personally, had heard it would be a week long drag about the same topics... thankfully things seemed quite the contrary from the get go. The first couple minutes was an introduction to how the course was going to be laid out and what we would be learning about which, thankfully, sounded really good. The morning we touched on the history of drugs, old and new, and how they have always been a part of our country's history. We touched a bit on which drugs were big in Indiana and were told we'd narrow things down in the afternoon. The rest of the day we spent learning the specifics on the most common illicit drugs: identification, effect, and common signs to look for were the focus.

Tuesday 03/31/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 PT
0900-1150 Knock and Talks
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Traffic Interdiction
1700-1800 Dinner

Tuesday morning started with a pretty good PT session - nothing out of the ordinary but we were beginning to taper down so we could rebuild for our final physical assessment. Then we had a pretty good lecture from some undercover guys on proper "knock and talks" with suspected drug dealers. A knock and talk is pretty much when uniformed officers go to a suspected drug house to... literally... knock on the door and talk to the suspected dealer. From there you kind of get a feel for things and do some poking around to see if the complaints may be valid or not; and if you're lucky one thing may just lead to another! After lunch we started on our drug interdiction lecture on how we as patrol officers needed to focus on the big indicators of drug runners. At first (at least on this day) it seemed pointless for a lot of it because it was really focusing on highway traffic and major drug runners. I'm talking hundreds of pounds of drugs at a time on their way to a big city to be sold to various dealers.

Wednesday 04/01/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Traffic Interdiction
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Traffic Interdiction
1700-1800 Dinner

Wednesday morning we finished up our lecture on drug interdictions in the patrol divisions. Up until now we didn't think it would be that interesting because as I had stated it had all been highway transportation. This morning lecture, however, focused more on county and city police officers. We learned what to look for in behavior, evidence, and indicators of transportation of both "big time" transporters as well as the typical drug dealer or addict. I think this class in itself was the most important AND informative class yet. The afternoon came by quickly and we all got to go through a few drug interdiction scenarios; not all of them would yield results depending on how the officers attempted to obtain more information. The same scenario could end in pounds of dope and weapons easily being found or the suspect simply [legally] leaving the scene due to officer behavior!

Thursday 04/02/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 PT
0900-1150 Field Testing
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Meth Labs
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday started with our "final" PT session which was easy and quickly finished! Sure, we had two more actual days of PT but one would be a final cadence run and the other would be A Squad vs B Squad competitions... more fun then anything else. After PT we had a short lecture and then a hands on certification for drug field testing. We were all given a little bit of the common street drugs (powder cocaine, crack, marijuana, etc) and taught how to test it with various types of tests. The rest of the day we had a "good" lecture on Meth Labs. I say "good" because I had taken an eight hour meth lab class about a year ago... which happened to be this same lecture crunched into four hours. I will admit it it was a very good lecture both times!

Friday 04/03/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0900-1150 Gangs
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1450 Prescription Drugs
1500-1700 Course Critique

Last day of the week and we had a good gang talk to look forward to. As we learned eighty-some percent of all illegal gang activity is fueled by drug activity and we had yet to even mention gangs! This course was packed full of good information on common gangs in Indiana (specifically the Indy Metro area) and covered a few I had never even heard of. All in all this course and the traffic interdiction taught me a ton of stuff I will definitely remember. In the afternoon we had a quick lecture on prescription drug abuse (the growing problem, specifically in students) which was pretty neat. We then watched a few last drug related videos and took a quick class critique and got out a bit early!


Sunday night, unfortunately, came to quickly. I had spent the weekend with my girlfriend (as Sunday was her birthday) and we had a really good time... I left for ILEA fairly early and as I entered Kokomo I had an accident in the squad car I had been using. I wasn't badly injured (the car isn't in great shape) but had to be hospitalized. Due to the pain killers I was given I would end up missing the three day Standard Field Sobriety Testing days and would return to ILEA on Thursday.

Thursday 04/09/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 PT
0900-1150 Radar and Speed
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Radar and Speed
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday came around and I was feeling much better from my accident. PT came around and I wasn't allowed to participate in the squad competitions due to my injury status. I missed the final cadence run as well, but was at least allowed to help evaluate the squad competition. I am happy to report that A Squad won! Afterwards when I was off the pain meds and finally comprehensive of things again which was good seeing as all day long we had a lecture on the proper functions and uses of radar. We talked about the theories and cases which established the continued usage of radar when monitoring traffic. We also began to study for our exam as the next two days of Radar and Speed would be all hands on.

Friday 04/10/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Radar and Speed
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Radar and Speed

In the morning we began our Radar and Speed hands on testing. Me and my buddy Steve were paired up and sent out to the highway with a Fishers PD sergeant and taught how to visually estimate speed without a radar gun. We both caught on fairly quickly and were usually within a mile or two of our observation - which was good because come Monday we couldn't be too far off or we'd fail! In the afternoon we watched a few videos on radar as well as how to behave in traffic court. We got an official review for our written exams coming on Monday: Radar Exam and Exam #9 which covered four weeks of material! We were let out a bit early and I headed home. Happy to be in our last official Friday of class we all left in a great mood... even if I knew I'd have to come back to make up SFST soon.



That's it for now! I'll be updating again later this week as things should be rolling to an end for the official stay at the academy. Luckily class 09-176 is doing their SFST training the week after I graduate so I'll be back for those three days right away!