How to Survive the Police Academy

by Misty Witenberg
Set yourself up for a successful career in law enforcement by surviving the academy.

Set yourself up for a successful career in law enforcement by surviving the academy.

The police academy is a technical school that trains those interested in a career in law enforcement, and typically takes about 22 weeks for the basic training and another 16 weeks for field training. It is meant to prepare you for both the physical and mental challenges the field puts you up against so that you will be able to make quick decisions in high-stress situations. With a bit of preparation and the right mindset going into the academy, you will have a much more likely chance of succeeding.

Stop smoking if you already do. You will need the cardiovascular strength and will often not be able to take smoking breaks at your convenience.

Use a planner to stay prepared and organized for paperwork and deadlines. Keep your uniform clean and neat for each class day.

Work out on your own to make the physical tests at the academy easier. Your goal should be to run 1.5 miles in 11.5 minutes or less, 60 full sit-ups in two minutes or less and 60 full push-ups in two minutes or less. If possible, start your physical training in the weeks leading up to the academy.

Visit your hairdresser or barber. Men should have hair that doesn’t extend over the ears or touch the collars, and sideburns must be trimmed neatly and can’t extend past the ear. Beards must be shaved clean and mustaches must be trimmed neatly and may not extend past the corners of the mouth. Women are allowed to have longer hair as long as it is worn in a manner so that it does not extend past the bottom of the collar or more than two inches below the bottom of the ear. Fingernails for both genders must also be trimmed so that they don’t extend past the finger tips.

Cover any tattoos and take out all piercings before your first day. If you have tattoos on your arms, you should wear long-sleeve shirts.

Set aside any stresses or extra projects until the academy training is over. You will need all of your mental strength and energy during this time and should spend one to two hours of study time each evening.

Stay tolerant of other people you are training with. Be particularly vigilant over any racial, sexist or religious remarks as well as comments that could be construed as sexual harassment.

Keep a positive attitude. Training can be difficult and stressful, but remember the positive reasons of why you want to be a police officer and use it as inspiration to get through the more grueling challenges.

About the Author

Misty Witenberg has been a magazine and freelance writer (including "Shape," "Fit Pregnancy," "Natural Health" and "Mom & Baby") since 2004. Her experience is in fashion, beauty, travel, fitness and culture writing.

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