Editors note: This story is a part of an ongoing series that shares the experiences of Officer Adam Petersen, who has been hired by the Webster City Police Department and is undergoing training for his position.
An average day at the academy starts at 6:30 a.m. I wake up put my khaki pants and navy blue polo on and make sure my room is spotless for inspection by the staff. The 248th basic academy that I’m in is the first to go from wearing department uniforms to the unified khaki pants and navy polos. At 7 a.m. breakfast is served at the cafeteria and back to our rooms for morning inspections at 7:30 a.m. Usually, a candy wrapper or other trash is forgotten about in a fellow classmate’s trashcan. That is when we proceed to do pushups as a class. Class then begins promptly at 8 a.m.
With law enforcement having to know an array of different skills. As such, the types of classes are diverse. As an officer, being the first to respond to calls it is our duty. As such, we need to know skills such as fire calls, medical treatment and mental health cases. Things that are thought to be just for firefighters, EMT/ paramedics, or doctors. Here at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, they are giving us many kinds of skills that we can use in our “tool box”. Other examples of classes that we have had in first seven week are criminal law, vehicle operation, arson investigation, domestic violence, deaf population, special needs population and hazardous material clean up. We will usually have class from 8 to 10 a.m. and then go to defensive tactics.
Defensive Tactics are skills used in protecting yourself while protecting an individual’s safety that an officer may encounter. While at the academy, we have learned proper handcuffing techniques, boxing, ground techniques, and proper restraint positions. All of these things are not possible without what is stressed here at the academy most, which is physical fitness.
Physical training class is held after defensive tactics at 11 a.m. Physical Training or PT is between three to five days a week and have a variety of different training exercises. A day or two a week we go on a run ranging from a mile and a half to five miles. We also do “split” training that is held at the indoor gym facility at Camp Dodge. A split requires two laps around the gym and then immediately doing a set of weights, such as bench press or leg press, then repeating that cycle for an hour. On one occasion, a presentation was given that had us roll around on a soccer ball sized workout ball. This ball was used to stretch out our muscles and lessen fatigue.
After physical training, we change out of our workout gear and go to lunch from 12 to 1 p.m. After lunch we go back to the classroom and continue with the classroom work from the morning or start on a new course. We end the day at 5 p.m. and after the third week we were allowed to go off-base two nights a week with a curfew of 10:30 p.m.