Police training is a rigorous process not unlike earning a college degree–except you only get six months to master it all. Officer Greg Fowler shared with us some of his experiences training for his position with UP.
Before starting work with the police, Fowler spent five months training at the Fingerlakes Law Enforcement Training Academy in Canandaigua, where officers learned all the basics of criminal justice. He agreed that the first three months were useful but not exactly thrilling.
However, after those long hours poring over books, the officers-to-be are rewarded with two months of “hands-on” experience.
This includes everything from shooting range practice to defensive tactics, from procedures to evacuate a building to even being Tased just to fully understand the weapons at their disposal.
“Don’t get Tased,” Fowler admonishes, “Tasing is just five seconds of no fun.”
There is no sit-down final at the end of the program. If you think three hours of testing is stressful, imagine a four week test with your every action being scrutinized by your superiors. For this test the officers-to-be are basically on duty under the supervision of qualified officers; it’s the ultimate hands-on experience.
“You’re doing it to learn,” explains Fowler, “You’re going to mess up. You just have to hope you don’t mess up too much.”
It’s a learning experience, every step of the way. And all that hands-on and on-site practice provides the best education possible for a police officer.
The results are definitely worth the stress. “My first two weeks here I helped an older lady change a flat tire at 11 PM,” says Fowler with a smile, “I like to help people.”