Monday, August 14, 2023

Bogota Junior Police Academy Day 1


  On Friday 11-August Class 01 of the Bogota Junior Police Academy (BJPA) had their first Duty Day. Recruits Duty Day was scheduled to start at 07:30 hrs.  It really began for some recruits as they walked, or were driven on Orchard Terr. As they approached the entrance gate the Instructors  informed them of what will be expected of them in the Academy.  Calls of Move with a purpose. What are smiling about. Did you thank your Parents for waking early in order to drive you here. Did you hug your Mother before you left. Can you find where the end of the line is. 
All before the day officially began. 
  Their next task was to form-up in the Steen Courtyard. The recruits were instructed on Academy procedures. They started to learn how to stand, what positions their hands should be in. How close they should be to the recruit in front of them and how that is measured. Placement of feet, and the proper what to stand straight. In which directions their eyes should be looking at, and definitely where they should NOT be looking. As more recruits arrived, they were greeted much the same way.
  When the bottom of the hour finally came the recruits marched down the ramp and into the David Moore Gym. Upon entering the Gym they needed to sit in the bleachers for the next task. 
The Instructors gave orders for how to sit down, and stand-up with a purpose. This will come to mean do the task as quickly, correctly and safely as possible. When the Instructors were satisfied with the progress the recruits were given to relax and focus on breathing.  At this time Program Director Det. Micheal Laferrera addressed the recruits. He thanked them for applying and congratulated them for being accepted into the program. Director Laferrera told them they were chosen because they were the best Bogota has to offer. He continued in saying this will be the hardest day of the Academy.  Because this is designed to be a learning day for both the Student and Staff. The Instructors need to learn what each recruit can do, and what they can be achieve. The recruits need to learn new skills, and how much more they can do with the self-confidence and hard work the Academy offers them. 
  After this Director Laferrera asked Sgt Craig Lynch to address the recruits. Sgt Lynch is the longtime Director of the Bogota Police and Emergency Service Youth Academy and serves as a Special Instructors to the BJPA. Sgt Lynch also told the recruits about the day ahead being both physical and emotional hard. He said it is planned this way. He also emphasized that by the end of next week their Parents, Instructors, Teachers, Friends, and most importantly themselves will see how much they have matured over the next five duty days.
  After this break the recruits were assigned their class number and soon, they needed to find their uniform. All the uniforms placed in neat rows on one end of the gym floor. By the time the recruits had reach that location the rows had been mixed up and a search for their number was on. After each uniform found its owner, the recruit were escorted to the washroom to change. When all had dressed the bleacher was a sea of light blue shirts and shorts, with black gear bags. Each bag contained a second shirt coloured gray, a water bottle, pen and note pad, along with a hygiene kit. 
Now formal training started the recruits were each assigned to one of four squads, Alpha, Brave, Charlie, and Delta.  These will be their teams for the entire week. Then each squad 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. They were taught how to stand at attention and at ease. How to go to Present Arms, which their right hand placed over their heart to honour the American Flag during the Pledge of Allegiance and the Nation Athem.  The Order Arms to return to a standing position.  They reheard this until the enter class move as one coordinated unit. Then there was marching and short order drill. This included how to turn left, or right. on command.  There was a little frustration shown by both the Instructors and the recruits when 5 of the 6-squad members turn left, and one was facing right. The recruits realized what they not the command given. This also occurred with remember which was their left foot when starting to march. 
  Before the drill began recruits learned the order a command will be given. A preparatory command will be said, followed by a beat then the action will be said.  An example is in turning A command of RIGHT.......FACE a quick and smooth movement to the right should follow.  But with an over of wanted to do the proper task, not wanted to disappoint the Instructors, learning something many new concepts (and trying to remember the one before) all in an environment they may be unfamiliar with.
  Through-out the Duty Day one or two Instructors would main just observe the recruits. Sometime offering a calming word, or to help explain a task some more. But also, to take action of a recruit was becoming emotionally or physically overwhelmed. The recruit would be quietly taken to the first aid station and examined by the Medic. Sometime just an extra time to rest, or more hydration was need. Or just to be reassured that the Instructors first duty is the safety and well-being of the recruit.  The Medic had the final say on how long a recruit stayed in sick-bay, and only returned to the floor when it was safe. 
   After lunch the first classroom session took place. This was taught by Sgt Lynch and Program Coordinator Ms. Liz Wiskus. This was a lesson on Conflict. What is a conflict, how is it different from an altercation, or fight. And how it should be handled. First the teachers were impressed with the knowledge they already had on the subject.  Then they explain finer point of how to deal with conflict, included how it could be avoided. What should be done on seeing an escalation to physical altercation and who should be alerted.
   After the class work the recruits given Physical Training and assessed on their capabilities. 
   When this was over recruits had a chance to rest, take a breath, get a drink and wonder what has just happen to them. Director Laferrera told them they had experience the hardest day of the program. Over the next week they will take the lessons learn today and use them for the rest of their lives. He congratulated them on their work effort and staying for the entire Duty Day. Next Sgt Lynch also commend them on what they had just been though. He then introduced a few Academy Alumni to the recruits. These include member from Class 01 to Class 08. The all told of how they felt when they in the Academy. How it helped with not only school but in everyday life up to the present time. Their main message was to enjoy each moment at the Academy (even today) because this experience will help them when realm life gets even harder.
Then the 27 recruits were dismissed at the 27 Cadets of Class 01 for the Bogota Junior Police Academy.
   Duty Day 2 will take place at Steen School with the call time of 7:30a Cadets are to report to the Orchard Terrace entrance.     

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