On Friday 17-July was the first full duty day of Class 05 of the Bogota Police Emergency Services Youth Academy. The recruits day is schedule to start at 07:30 with a number arriving at Bogota High School well before that to make sure they were on time. As the time came closer to 07:30 more recruits started to report for duty. With a few Instructors watching over the entrance the recruits were informed that the only way to approach the building was at high rate of speed. This was excepted from all personnel regardless of the distance from the door. If they could see the school their pace should be one of quickness and focus. Those arriving by car were no exception, even before the car door was open the recruits should be moving with all due haste. After waiting to be allowed to enter the school recruits were assigned uniform number and proceed to the bleachers in the gym, again with speed & focus.
Once all recruits were accounted for Director Sgt Lynch and Coordinator Anna Ferris (Miss Anna) gave the recruits a pep talk. Following some simple rules would help the recruits survive the toughest and most mentally demanding day of the Academy. Recruits will only need to a few sentences for the day. " SIR, YES SIR" or " MA'AM NO MA'AM". and ears should be " OPEN SIR" . Eyes should be facing forward, and back should be straight. They were also told that whatever they did, or however they did it would be wrong in the eyes of the instructors. The most important thing to remember is to breath. In through the nose and out through the mouth will be the best way to stay calm and focus. They were told that the Instructors will " adjusts " the recruits so they can learn the proper way to do what is asked. The recruits were also told that if the pressure of the morning was becoming too overwhelming " Miss Anna" was available to help them if needed. But Sgt. Lynch and Miss Anna wished them the best and let the recruits know they had confidence in them to learn from the day. With that the two left the recruits sitting at attention and in silence.
Seconds turned into hours as the recruits waited. Then silently and steadily the Instructors entered the Gym. Not making a sound, and looking at the recruits the whole time. The Instructor then formed into a single line in front of the bleachers again in silence looking forward towards the recruits. Another long pause, followed by one Instructor, then two, then all faster than the words they were saying to even be heard the recruits were given orders of what to do, when to do it, followed by even more to do, and wondering why the first order is taking so so to complete. Recruits were moved of one side of the gym to the other, then back, then outside, then back inside, then to stand in formation. Push-ups needed to be done if a task was not up to standard. But if the recruit was not fast enough in getting down they had to try again, by standing up just as quick, then back down even quicker. At time three to four instructors were giving orders to one recruit, at the same time to all the recruits without pause. In the myst of the whirlwind of orders one or two Instructors personally and calmly talked to each recruit and showed them how to perform better. Whether it was how to hold the arms by their side, or how to stand comfortably while at attention in order to reduce fatigue on the young recruits.
Then the first wave of adjustments ended and a calm was able to return to the gym. recruits then had a chance to find their bearings, get hydrated, and a small snack to restore the energy worked away in just over two hours. Then their civilian clothes were replaced with Bogota Police Emergency Services Youth Academy uniforms. The recruits were placed into one of four squads and drill instruction was began after lunch. Recruits learned how to form into neat and orderly lines, how to march in unison and how to listen to the Drill Master voice in order to know how fast or slow to move. One of the final drills was the Pledge of Allegiance to teach the recruit to speak as one voice clearly, confidently and able to be heard. The recruits directed to the same bleachers they had been torn away from earlier in the day. But they returned as Cadets of Bogota Police Emergency Services Youth Academy Class 05.
Before their duty day ended they listen to a few speakers. The first was Mr Chiang, an English at Bogota High School. He talked about his own experience after graduating High School in 2002 then Graduating the Military Academy at West Point in 2006. He told of his deployment to Iraq as a Army Engineer with his duty of removing enemy mines in order to protect the Civilians as well as his fellow soldiers. He said he was proud to work in a town taht had a program to develop the ideas of Community Service, and even prouder that the number of Students would take time off during the Summer to attended and learn from it.
Next Bogota Police Chief John Burke addressed the Cadets to thank them for choice to attend and hope their experience will guide their future as members of the Borough of Bogota. A few Graduate Cadets from past Classes also spoke to the new Cadets to let them know the work, sweat, and the few tears will be worth it after the experience that lay ahead for them. Sgt Lynch & Miss Anna returned to congratulate the Cadets for surviving day one, but also to remind them this day was only one step and to keep the lessons from this Friday and keep applying them until Graduation.