POLICE Magazine

AUG 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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16 POLICE AUGUST 2018 early to class, early back from breaks, and so on. If you're late, it sets a bad tone for everything, and it doesn't work well in the work field either." 7. Eliminate stress. In other words, get your personal life in order before entering the academy to ensure your education is as distraction-free as possible. While in the academy, recruits must focus on the training before them, not be thinking about events at home. Maintaining focus in this way is a skill that also will aid re- cruits while working as a police officer. 8. In the academy, recruits may en- counter strict and demanding instructors who seem to criticize their every move and impose what they see as "impossible" deadlines, but all of this is to ready them for a very difficult job. "One of the most stressful times in the academy is scenario training, where we put them in situations they will encounter on the street and ex- pect them to perform as they would on duty," he says. "Even a simple traffic stop How To can be stressful to some of them. When they do these things, they see how they perform under stress and identify the ar- eas they need to work on." e academy is a very stressful environ- ment as it is designed to ready prospective officers for the job. "e environment they work in is going to be stressful at times, and they need to be ready for that," says Martin. "ey will have extra hours de- manded of them. is is not a 9 to 5 job." But, he adds, they also need to make time for fun. Relaxing is also good for stress. "Outside of the academy, and even- tually the job, officers need to spend time with friends and family and have fun. It helps with the job itself, but also will help them through the academy," he says. 9. Seek help from instructors. ough they may seem demanding, they are there to help you learn. "Our goal is to help get you through the academy," says Martin. "We are willing to set up remedial train- ing time or give you extra training or prac- tice. We don't have the attitude of, 'Hey, you tried; that's too bad.' We want to get you through it. So, if you are having trou- ble, talk to the instructors and seek some extra help from them." He cites an example of a student in MATC's jail academy. is young man was struggling with defensive tactics. He came in early every day to work with in- structors and master these skills. "We got him through it," he says. "But if he hadn't gone the extra mile, I don't think he would have made it." 10. Develop a thick skin. If instructors seem strict, there is a reason for it. e academy, says Martin, is designed to help prospective officers get used to having di- rect supervisors. "Many younger students haven't been in the workforce much, and haven't had a boss," he says. "e academy gets them used to being coached, con- structive criticism, and other things they might encounter from supervisors on the job. Learning to listen and be respectful are skills that will carry them through the academy, field training, and will serve them well throughout their career." Ronnie Wendt is a freelance writer based in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She has been writing about law enforcement issues for more than 20 years. Maintaining a good attitude and learning to take constructive criticism will help you get more out of the academy and serve you well in your law enforcement career. PHOTO: ALEX LANDEEN

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