Police Academy teaches valuable career skills

Kevin Gareau

Students in the Police Academy listen to a lecture in their academy class Monday morning in the Michael Schwartz Center. The Police Academy holds classes every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The commander shouts, “What do you want?” The trainees respond, “More PT (physical training)!” The Commander says, “Why?” They respond, “I want the badge!”

This is the start to a typical day of training at the Kent State Police Academy.

The academy is in its first semester at the university, which is the result of a collaboration among the department of justice studies, the Office of Continuing Studies and the Brimfield Police Department.

Commander James A. Owens, the academy’s program coordinator, said registration for the spring academy is currently open, and anyone interested can contact the department of justice studies at 330-672-2775.

Owens said there is a day and a night academy with 20 trainees enrolled in each.

Owens said trainees enrolled in the academy receive training in evidence collection techniques, use of firearms, physical conditioning and other important skills necessary to become a police officer.

He said instructors in the academy are not just teachers.

“Every instructor is a full-time police officer with at least five years experience,” Owens said.

Owens said trainees enrolled in the program must complete 650 hours of training over 16 weeks. After completing the training, they must pass both a physical conditioning exam and a written exam.

“If they don’t pass either exam the first time, they get a chance to do one retake,” Owens said. “If they fail twice, they have to start the academy all over again.”

Owens said chiefs and officers from many departments often teach at the academy, and they often pay special attention to how trainees are performing.

“Sometimes they’ll decide to hire someone just based on how they’re doing in the classroom,” Owens said.

He also said trainees who are hired while enrolled in the academy must complete training within a year of being hired.

Owens said departments who hire trainees have to pay for their tuition as well as wages and benefits.

“It can be hard for departments because they have to pay their new hires to sit at a desk,” Owens said. “They can’t send them out.”

Nicole Lipcsey, a trainee at the academy, said she’s wanted to be a police officer for a long time.

“I like the aspects of the job,” Lipcsey said. “It’s about doing a different thing every day and being able to help people.”

She said she likes the academy for the same reasons.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Lipcsey said. “We get down to business, but we also joke around. It’s never the same thing every day.”

Trainee John Enlow said his experience serving in the Army helped prepare him for the Police Academy.

“It’s really good for people who haven’t had to deal with a lot of discipline,” Enlow said. “We get some discipline here, but not nearly as much as you get in basic training.”

He added that serving in the Army has helped him to have an easier time asserting his authority.

“Some of the people without military experience had a lot of trouble yelling at people,” Enlow said. “But it came naturally to me.”

Contact safety reporter Kevin Gareau at [email protected]