Monday, March 30, 2009

Week Twelve

Well, one more week has come and gone and I can't be any clearer: I am so ready to be done! This week went relatively well (mind you, I avoid my high strung room for most of the day) and we took one of our final exams too. All in all it was one of the better weeks, that's for sure.



Monday 03/23/09
0800-1150 Traffic Law
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Traffic Law
1700-1800 Dinner

Back to the grind as they say - Monday we finished up Traffic Law, with the Greenwood PD Chief, which he had briefly covered a bit of on Friday. This was a very helpful class as it helped cleared up a lot of questions I had. Specifically why police traffic powers I have one public property, search and seizure technicalities, and plenty of rumors about illegal driving. The instructor was a great guy too... one of the more entertaining instructors who made the class go by really quick.


Tuesday 03/24/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1050 Traffic Law Exam
1000-1150 Hazardous Materials
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Hazardous Materials
1700-1800 Dinner

Wednesday 03/25/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Hazardous Materials
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Hazardous Materials
1700-1800 Dinner

The next two days of the class were all HazMat based which wasn't too bad either. A lot of the guys were complaining that these two days were worse than criminal law but it wasn't in any way bad... a bit repetitive perhaps but not bad. I had some previous HazMat training as a Cadet Officer but not as in depth as this was. The instructor was a fire chief from Elkhart County so he made a lot of references that I could relate with. We focused a lot on how a small HazMat scene can quickly grow in size, how to evaluate a scene, what dangers exist, and what we as police officers can do and need to do should a HazMat incident arise.

On Tuesday we had our Traffic Law exam which was really easy; I studied the guide I made and got a 96% after an hour of review. All this complaining for nothing!



Thursday 03/26/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1150 Mental Illness
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Sexual Assault
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday came around and morning PT was pretty good. We had begun to slow things down a bit as the end approaches so I feel as if my "broken down body" might actually recover one of these days. The morning we had a pretty interesting class on the most common mental illnesses that I as a law enforcement officer would come across in my career. We focused on the affects that an individual would endure as well as how they may potentially behave around police officers... some a bit better than others. In the afternoon we had a lecture on sexual assaults and how to properly investigate them. Although a bit unnerving this class definitely had it's merits.



Friday 03/27/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0950 Mock Fitness Exam
1000-1150 IEDs and Explosives
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Family Day

Friday came by as quick as it ever has and I was stoked. In the morning our class had a mock fitness evaluation held to the exit standards of the academy which went great. I was a bit weary on my vertical jump but I added 3.5 inches on my first attempt which puts me well past the passing height Then we had a two hour lecture on IEDs and Explosives which was pretty neat. The SBPD Bomb Squad gives a similar lecture during the Citizen's Police Academy but not nearly as detailed as the one I got here. And then come the lunch hour my mother and girlfriend show up for family day. I was pretty happy to have them come for this (especially given the distance they drove) because they got to sit in on a four hour lecture given by "Dr. Love" on stress that police officers go through and bring home with them. It meant a lot that they could come especially my girlfriend as she was close friends with Cpl. Nick Polizzotto and had no other police/EMS knowledge. I think she definitely thought about a few things she never has before... why she puts up with me still is beyond me.







That's it for this week! With three weeks left to go I am ready to be done!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Criminal Law

Well, two weeks later I can say it... I'm done with the two worst weeks at ILEA: Criminal Law. But truth be told, and I know most wont agree, it was really easy.

The first week started out fairly slowly; the attorney who was teaching us broke all four of our classes (as we are together for four weeks) up into different squads. Why keeping us together as classes didn't happen is beyond me but hey, I'm not the instructor. He spent the first day explaining what we would be covering, why we would be covering it (criminally and civilly), and how we as police officers need to be street level attorneys. Having gone through an entire criminal justice program for college I had been familiar with names such as Miranda, Garner, and Escobedo but had a limited understanding of even the most important law enforcement landmark cases. I felt like Criminal Law would be able to expand a bit more upon that.

As we progressed through week one I started to wonder if the horror stories I heard were true. I heard the instructor was somewhat "anti-cop," quick to anger, and extremely boring - but as the week went on I didn't think any of that was true... well, sort of. I was fairly bored mostly because this first week seemed a bit repetitive. Truth be told as the week went on I hate to say it but I did not get that "expansion" of knowledge I was hoping to obtain; I felt like my entire college career was jammed into forty hours of class. It was nice, however, to read the actual cases to get a feel as to why the Supreme Court ruled in certain favor - all in all it seemed to me they just used common sense in a time where law enforcement was not well regulated. Or as some cops may say: "the old days." Can't say I agree but I can at least understand.

Week two was a bit more interesting, that's for sure. We ended our criminal and substantive federal law cases and began to focus on civil liabilities (which we have a one day class our final week) and specific Indiana statutes. The state laws were what I felt would be most important to me seeing as a college curriculum wouldn't teach them to students AND I would obviously be using them on a daily basis. I again, however, felt a bit cheated as we didn't do much more than read the crimes straight out of the Indiana Criminal Code.

Come the end of the week we got our study session but it was with the instructor and not "Dr. Love." Dr. Love had stated we should just use the student made study guides as the test hadn't changed in over ten years... and that at this point they probably looked fairly identical to the actual exam. Regardless, I went to the study session. And that night I left the building because everyone, specifically my roommates, were freaking out. My buddy Jason, from Merrillville PD, joined me outside as we talked about the exam. He had gone to IU Northwest and stated he felt pretty much the same about what we had learned all week... and most importantly we both agreed that it was mostly common sense. We chose to merely look over our study guides over some late night dinner and didn't worry about it. Of course my roommates kept me up til 0200 freaking out and Jason unfortunately felt it as things got a bit physical in my room the next morning. Emotions were high and yet I wasn't too worried.

A 96% later and I'm happy to report it was EXTREMELY easy, but maybe that's just me. Oh, and no one failed. Jason got a 94% too. And my roomies both got low 90s.

That's it for this week... sadly in two weeks I don't have much to write about. Next week should be pretty good especially since Friday is visitor's day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Investigative Week

Well, one more week down (and it seems like oh so many more) here at ILEA. This week was Investigative Week where you spend two days of criminal investigation lectures, two days of crash investigation lectures, and one day of practicums and the written exam. I can't say this was the most thrilling week but it wasn't all bad either.

Monday 03/02/09 - Tuesday 03/03/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Criminal Investigations (PT on Tuesday at 0800)
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Criminal Investigations
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday and Tuesday we had lecture on criminal investigations and proper procedures all day - it seemed a little bit like common sense but I think that's only because I worked fraud for so long. Monday was nice because the Indiana State Police Lab personnel came in for a few hours to teach us about evidence technicians, fingerprint analysis, and firearms/tool mark examiners. I have to admit I felt pretty lucky since South Bend is blessed with individuals who are capable in these areas... a lot of my fellow classmates don't even have evidence technicians in their entire county! Monday we ended the day with interviewing techniques, interrogation techniques, and body language. Tuesday morning PT came by and we played the Card Game - each card in a deck represents a work out: the number is the amount and the suit is the exercise. We hurt pretty bad but that marked the end of Phase II in PT... can't wait for Phase III! In class we had an interview practicum where we interviewed each other to see how we could get information from various types of people. The afternoon we spent learning how to properly investigate death scenes (natural deaths or homicides) which was pretty neat; I did learn, however, that coroners really have a sick sense of humor... I thought cops were bad!

Wednesday 03/04/09 - Thursday 03/05/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Crash Investigations (PT on Thursday at 0800)
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Crash
1700-1800 Dinner

Crash investigations was not nearly as interesting as criminal investigations. I think I learned just about every skill in high school geography so sitting in class was horrible! I did learn how to use the electronic report writing program which will be very useful in the future so class wasn't a complete bore. Wednesday night we had an exam over the previous week's material (I got a 96%) and then had liberty. I met up with some friends who live in Indy and had a nice greasy burger... which I definitely felt Thursday morning during PT. We started official CrossFit work outs which I love but I wasn't expecting... whoops! Come Thursday afternoon we sit down for a study session with Dr. Love and we were all a bit stressed out about having to test on Friday over this week's material.

Friday 03/06/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1000 Criminal Investigation
1000-1200 Crash Investigation
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1400 Criminal Review
1400-1500 ARIES Report
1600-1700 Exam

Friday rolled around rather quickly and I was stoked to go home. In the morning we had to investigate a crime scene (I got a pretty gruesome murder) which went by really quickly. After solving the crime (I played evidence tech) we wrote our reports and would later give a presentation of our findings. The rest of the morning we spent investigating a crash scene which I have to admit was a lot more fun when you get hands on. It wasn't hard but it kept you busy and was definitely a good time. After lunch we gave our criminal presentation on the murder then went into writing an accident report for our crash scene. The rest of the afternoon we had our roughest exam yet... but I got a 94%!



That's it for this week... I wont be updating for two more weeks until Criminal Law is over. I've heard nothing but horror stories so wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Halfway done... but so much more to go...

Well, it's official: halfway done! Unfortunately the roughest parts are still to come especially when it comes to exams. Needless to say, however, I'm not complaining. This week went by a little slower than usual (kind of a stressful week) but could have been much worse. Let's see how it went.

Monday 02/23/09
0800-1150 Law Enforcement and Persons with Disabilities
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Critical Incident Management
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday went by pretty well (for a Monday) only because both topics were really informative. The classes were both taught by our favorite instructor (known only as Dr. Love) who makes class really interesting. He adds a lot of his personal stories from his career which is great because it makes certain topics make more sense... especially when you think "when will I ever encounter this?" In addition, Dr. Love happens to be really entertaining and down to earth which around here is a big deal. And not that I want to say this is the best part, but I can't say its not great, is he usually lets us out really early. I think Monday was the best Monday yet... and I hate Mondays.

Tuesday 02/24/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1150 Building Searches
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 Building Searches
1400-1550 Pat Downs and Searches
1600-1650 Chemical Weapons
1700-1800 Dinner
1800-2000 Chemical Agent Exposure

Tuesday morning came around in an ugly fashion. I had taken my contacts out Sunday night and been wearing my glasses all week... because I knew tonight we'd be getting sprayed with a combination of OC and CS chemical agents. None of us were thrilled at the prospect of enduring unnecessary pain. PT in the morning was pretty good; it was a combination of high intensity running mixed with an A Squad vs B Squad work out. The rest of the morning we sat through a fairly mundane lecture on how to search a building properly... but I don't think it's fair for me to judge it quite like that. I think with my experience working as a Cadet Officer I had learned a lot of these techniques but I could tell not many others were familiar with them. In the afternoon we had a two hour lesson on how to properly pat down or search an individual (with a focus on where items are commonly concealed) which was pretty interesting, especially when civil liability becomes an issue. Right before dinner we had our lecture on chemical agents and what to expect in the evening... which come evening we all lined up in our squad formations and got ready to be exposed. Scott, my roommate from Madison PD, decided he needed to be the first person sprayed - after watching him get hit in the face and fight through it didn't seem so bad. However, A Squad had an instructor who wasn't quite so nice when spraying us. After I got hit in the eyes twice and once in the mouth I didn't feel too much - I called out my location on the radio, asked for assistance, and fought my safety partner for twenty seconds while keeping my gun from him. I didn't think it was too bad until the adrenaline dump ended... and I couldn't open my eyes for twenty three minutes, couldn't breath, and only remember being grabbed from behind and hearing "that was worth driving 150 miles to see." One of our detectives was at ILEA to be an assistant EVOC instructor and happened to know I was getting sprayed that night. After I was able to sort of see I went inside, took a painful shower, and called it a night. Turns out one of our guys was taken to the hospital - what did I know, I couldn't see!

Wednesday 02/25/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0950 Active Shooters
1000-1150 Traffic Control
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 Preventative Patrol
1400-1550 Characteristics of Armed Individuals
1600-1650 Study Session
1700-1800 Dinner
1800-1900 Exam

Wednesday morning rolled around and I was still feeling the spray. My eyes were burning a bit but I just kept my glasses on and washed my eyes out with water from time to time. In the morning we had a pretty neat two hour lecture on active shooters (especially in schools) which was pretty neat. The other two hours were spent on traffic control which we all admit is a fairly lame part of policing but needs to be done. After lunch we talked more about shooters with a focus on how they behave especially when attempting to conceal their weapons. We got the last hour of the day to ourselves to study for our evening exam (which I got a 94% on) and the got three hours of liberty. Me and two others went straight to a local burger place and got the greasiest food we could. Mmmm...

Thursday 02/26/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-0850 Physical Training
0900-1050 Less Lethal Technologies
1100-1150 NIMS 700
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 NIMS 700
1400-1550 Foot Pursuits
1600-1650 Free Hour
1700-1800 Dinner

Thursday went really well... especially since I could finally get my contacts back in! In the morning we had a group cadence run for PT which was really fun (minus us getting yelled at for somewhat lued marching songs). We had a two hour session on less lethal technologies such as sprays, tasers, batons, and all the other neat things that incident teams such as SWAT can deploy. An hour before and after lunch was for NIMS 700 training through FEMA but since most of us already had our certification we got the time to ourselves. We then had a two hour session on the do's and do not's of foot pursuits which, especially in South Bend, can be somewhat important. The rest of the afternoon went quickly and I enjoyed some chili my cousin who lives in a local town brought in. I was happy the week was almost over.

Friday 02/27/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Child Abuse / Child Molestation
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1350 Securities Fraud
1400-1450 Fusion Center
1500-1650 Human Trafficking

Friday came around with a depressing start: a four hour lesson on child abuse and sexual molestation. I wont get into the details but it can go without saying that I'll probably never have the desire to work these types of cases. I know my limitations and my anger threshold... this stuff really pushes the limits for me. The afternoon seemed to drag on after such a sad morning too. We had a long hour session on fraud given to us by the Secretary of State's Office; it was pretty boring seeing as I had worked fraud for so long in the detective bureau. That tied in with the Indiana Fusion Center presentation, which I had also made use of as an investigator, but still learned a few new things (as I had never used the Fusion Center for anything non-fraud). The last two hours were with Dr. Love who taught a really interesting class on human trafficking - other than drugs human trafficking is the most prevalent crime in the world... who knew! We had a quick study session for next week's test and got out of there a few minutes later. Too bad it took me longer than usual to get home!



Next week is criminal and crash investigations... then two weeks of criminal law. These three weeks are probably going to be a little trying for me, so wish me luck!