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  #1  
Old 10-05-2013, 10:02 AM
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Default Need advice - My colleague is struggling at academy

CalGuns LEOs,


I am hoping to receive some wisdom from those of you who have experience as training officers or academy instructors....or really anyone who can offer solid advice.


I am currently attending a peace officer academy and, more than a month in, I am doing well so far. Unfortunately, one of the other females is struggling. She's smart and has the desire to be there; but, she lacks confidence. During some of our physical training classes, such as baton and defensive tactics, she might miss a move and then she'll get flustered and then really lose focus and confidence. You can easily see it in her face and body language.


Other recruits, both male and female, have tried to practice extra with her after hours and it's helped a little. But, every time, she makes a small gain, we are introduced to a more advanced skill and then she's behind the curve again. It's now starting to pile up and she's starting to circle the drain. Some of the instructors have pulled me aside and asked me to try and help her out. I have a warrior spirit and I beat the snot out of the bags during training and use a loud, command voice all day, everyday. I didn't practice it; it just comes from within. So, I'm at a loss for how to help her. Does anyone have any advice?


I'm looking for serious responses and suggestions - please don't offer snotty comments about "that chick needs to go" or comments on females not being good enough. I get it. Not everyone has what it takes to be a peace officer. Sometimes it is better to release someone if they are going to be a liability. The fact of the matter is that she's here and I'm not about to let one of my brothers or sisters fail.


Your sage advice is appreciated.


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  #2  
Old 10-05-2013, 10:38 AM
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1) Maybe this job might not be best for her. I mean if she loses focus and confidence when striking punching bags. I wonder how she will perform when facing someone who is stronger and lot bigger than her.

2) If you want to help her out just keep doing what you are doing. Stay behind and practice with her. However, remember you are still in the academy that means you need your time to study and prepare yourself for next day.

3) Tell her how much do you want this job because everyday is new day. Tell her to give 100% every single day and do not lose focus.

4) During my class we had a guy (small guy and no command presence). He made through the academy, but did not make it through the training process. This job is not for everyone.

I give you credit for wanting to help your fellow classmate. However, do not lose YOUR goal and mission. You need to graduate first so do not spend too much time helping others because you need your time to study as well.

Good luck and hang in there...
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  #3  
Old 10-05-2013, 10:57 AM
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1. If she's not performing the techniques correctly because she doesn't know them, she should ask the instructors to make it clear.

2. If she's not performing the techniques fluidly and she already knows them or has already been shown the proper way to execute them, then it's simply a matter of practice/repetition - it's up to her to put the time in and/or make arrangements/seek assistance.

3. For some, command presence and confidence come rather naturally; for others, it takes more training, repetition, and experience/exposure. All else being equal, command presence, confidence, decisiveness, etc are directly proportional to training, knowledge, and experience. If you don't have it, this job will be extremely difficult if not downright dangerous for you.

It's good that you're helping those less able. That being said, those less able also need to be making the effort too. Not everyone who is nice or cool or smart or hard working or dedicated or athletic or [insert your choice(s) of positive characteristic(s) here] can actually do this job.

No matter what else you bring to the table, if your DT skills/abilities are "that bad", then IMO you shouldn't be sworn - you're going to get yourself killed and possibly your partners too. I would be willing to bet that your classmate has NOT been practicing as much as she could/should be (i.e. ALL her free time has been used for practicing DTs and/or whatever else she's in danger of failing - ALL her free time).

IF she Has been using ALL her free time and is Still not able - then she's probably not cut out for this line of work. The DT training you get in the academy is JUST THE BEGINNING.
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  #4  
Old 10-05-2013, 11:19 AM
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If she doesn't have that drive, or as you put it, warrior spirit, there isn't much you can do to help her. Without that drive, she will not respond in real life, and will be a liability.

I had a trainee that lacked that survival instinct. He was failing training and got flustered easily. When he was working with another FTO they encountered a suspect who opened fire on them. The FTO returned fire, and the trainee curled up into the fetal position and waited to die. Fortunately, the FTO won the gunfight.

Do your best to motivate her, but realize tat you may not be able to help her. The academy is a continuation of the selection process and is intended to sort out those who are not suited for the job.

Good luck with your training.
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  #5  
Old 10-05-2013, 11:39 AM
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So much of the job, especially when starting out, involves making mistakes and quickly getting over them and handling the task at hand.

Personal responsibility...if she don't know...she needs to find out...practice it...and get it done.
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  #6  
Old 10-05-2013, 12:27 PM
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Training new folks to be LEO's has a lot of challenges. It's a career like none other. Unfortunately, it's also a career where having a lot of "book smarts" doesn't count for much (and I say that having two master's degrees). You also really need the right aptitude and mental focus.

I learned as an FTO and supervisor, never tell a deputy they can't do something. The good deputies will do everything they can to prove that they actually can do that thing (especially when you really don't want them to do that thing). It's the mental focus that counts. Admiral Rickover once said "There's two kinds of people, those that think they can, and those who think they can't. Both of them are right." To be successful in this business you need to know that "you can." You do need the "warrior spirit", but tempered with common sense.

I would recommend two things:

1) Get ahead of the "power curve." Stay late one day, or take a weekend day, and just work on the fundamentals. Get the techniques down to where they're instinctive. Do it without any witnesses around. There's going to be a lot of failure before success. That's how people learn. If the early failures are held over them, the whole process will take a lot longer.

2) Focus on the mental picture. It's never "damn, I messed up." It's always "here we go again." Rehearse things in your mind, and in practice, until they're down pat. When just driving around with a patrol trainee, I would often suddenly hand them the microphone and say "don't key the mike, but let's assume the passenger in the car just ahead of us is shooting at us - put it out." The first few times that I did this the resulting broadcast didn't sound so good. That's expected. After a couple of times, it would sound good. When I did go into pursuit with a trainee graduate of that exercise, the broadcast was outstanding. See where I'm going here? The mental training is just as important as the physical training.
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  #7  
Old 10-05-2013, 1:33 PM
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A. Women aren't slow learners, women are detailed learners. Where guys will often jump right in and make adjustments as they go along, women prefer to be comfortable with each step along the way before moving forward. You see this on the gun range where a new guy is up firing and the girl is just picking up the gun in the exact same time frame. as you stated, when a mistake happens she gets flustered so she is working off memory and not instinct. her brain wants to correct her = loses focus but she has to continue forward = fluster; it cannot do 2 tasks at once: correct and continue. My best guess is if she takes this next year to work on the skill sets she will cruise through the program next year.

B. Smart and desire do not always add up to ability. I would not want to put her out there where she could face harm, nor could i in good conscience partner her. Your training/practice is a controlled circumstance, add in the element of surprise where she also has to assess a situation - does not sound feasible given what you have said. There are times when a rescuer must leave a drowning victim in order to survive - help her as you can but stay strong on your own training first.
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Old 10-05-2013, 1:46 PM
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It sounds to me she might be a bit timid and hasn't experienced all life has to offer in the bad sense and can't get into the self defense mode.

She needs to get into a frame of mind that because she missed the proper technique, doesn't mean she has to lose the fight. Work with her slowly while doing the proper technique by the numbers. That's what she will be tested on and the more she does it slow and gets used to it, then work up to speed in stages.

While saying the above, stress to your friend that defense tactics are a necessary part of L.E. and if she falters in a critical situation, she and/or others can be seriously injured or killed. She needs to understand whatever situation arises in defensive situation her goal is for her and her coworkers to go home unhurt and don't look at it like a game.
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  #9  
Old 10-06-2013, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadKitty View Post
Unfortunately, one of the other females is struggling. She's smart and has the desire to be there; but, she lacks confidence. During some of our physical training classes, such as baton and defensive tactics, she might miss a move and then she'll get flustered and then really lose focus and confidence. You can easily see it in her face and body language.


Other recruits, both male and female, have tried to practice extra with her after hours and it's helped a little. But, every time, she makes a small gain, we are introduced to a more advanced skill and then she's behind the curve again. It's now starting to pile up and she's starting to circle the drain. Some of the instructors have pulled me aside and asked me to try and help her out. I have a warrior spirit and I beat the snot out of the bags during training and use a loud, command voice all day, everyday. I didn't practice it; it just comes from within. So, I'm at a loss for how to help her. Does anyone have any advice?
I'll offer a view from the other side. I was that trainee when I was in the academy. I over thought things I was being taught and tried to over understand them. Someone finally told me that I didn't have to understand them, I only had to perform them they way it was demonstrated/required to get past that section

Part of it, for her, might be a different learning style (there are 6). Lessons are only offered one way, trainees are required to adapt to the way things are taught...the most flexible is an audio learner. Perhaps she just needs help translating what she is hearing/seeing into what she can understand...this means, she needs to understand her style and what she needs to be asking for. The academy isn't the best place to learn about this need...as it is indeed still part of the selection process.

What she should do is evaluate what she really wants and how much time is she willing to put into achieving it...it really might be a time to understand her limitations
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  #10  
Old 10-06-2013, 1:46 PM
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Is this a physical technique learning issue or is it an attitude/mental one? If it's the actual demonstration of the technique she probably just needs more practice. If it's an attitude/mental issue chances are she isn't going to make it no matter how much time is invested. In training nobody is going to kill you but things are very different in the field and a weakness in PT/Self defense in the academy is going to be magnified out in the field.
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Old 10-06-2013, 7:43 PM
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Back in my day the weak were cut from the program. Everyone was treated the same and nobody received extra help. The ones that get coddled in the academy and fto training end up being worthless in the field. This is the main problem in law enforcement today. Management says we need "smarter" or more "diverse" officers and not cowboys. But when SHTF the newer gen of officers lockup and can't make a decision and are more of a liability than a resource. Just my 2 pennies.
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Old 10-06-2013, 9:25 PM
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A senior officer once said, "Hey, sometimes you're gonna have to dance by yourself on this job ....". There was more to this but that quote pretty much covers my intent for this post. As admirable as it is that you are doing all you can to help your classmate, you will not always be there for her and she may not have help when she needs it.

I think everyone above is pretty much right. If she can't handle it, she just can't handle it. It's better that she learn this in the classroom environment than out in the practical lab so to speak.

Having said all that, if you guys are working after hours and doing what is needed, that is all that can be done. It's a tough pill to swallow but sometimes you just have to face the reality. Let us know how your classmate does on test date if you can though. I don't like seeing people fail, and I love seeing them pull through ... but people have to go to their back up plans in life sometimes.
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:45 PM
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I can sympathize with both you and your classmate. I didn't always get a quick grasp on all of our DT drills in the academy but yet I was also in a position where I wanted to (and was forced to, in some cases) help my classmates in other areas that I was relatively good at. I didn't want to see anyone fail out of the academy who was truly giving their best; especially if it was a case of the material (whatever it was) not "clicking" as opposed to them being physically or mentally incapable of performing the task. You are doing the right thing by having yourself and others who "get it" and may have different teaching styles help her work on the drills. That being said, you cannot allow your time to practice with your classmate start dragging YOU down. When that starts to happen, you gotta dial back the help. I had several classmates fail out 3/4 of the way through; most of them were good people who were trying their best but they just plain didn't cut it. It just wasn't in their cards.

As for me, my trouble with a few of the DT's early on was the fact that I didn't understand why/how I would actually use them on the street and that over thinking was hindering my ability to physically perform them. After I got it through my head that it didn't matter why/how I would use them(at least not at that stage) and that I only needed to perform them on cue at the academy, I found myself improving and becoming much more fluid with the DT drills. Maybe she is just over thinking things.

Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2013, 1:15 AM
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This job isn't for everyone.
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He is an anti-gun guy and he said. "Well, you can't eat ammunition". I replied with "When I'm starving to death with a case of ammunition, who's door do you think I am going to knock on?"
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Old 10-07-2013, 8:52 AM
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Is this a "Peace Officer" academy or a "Law Enforcement" academy? Many times the learning domain criterea is different with differing acceptable levels of skill.
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:52 AM
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Pretty much everything has been covered... I saw several recruits go through three times before making it all the way through the academy. They wanted it, but just didn't have it. To date, I don't think they have been hired.

The academy is stale. Black and white. The job however, is very gray. Do what you can to help her, but the second it puts you out, even a little bit, you need to let it go. Sometimes, even with good people and friends, it's sink or swim!
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fullrearview View Post
Pretty much everything has been covered... I saw several recruits go through three times before making it all the way through the academy. They wanted it, but just didn't have it. To date, I don't think they have been hired.

The academy is stale. Black and white. The job however, is very gray. Do what you can to help her, but the second it puts you out, even a little bit, you need to let it go. Sometimes, even with good people and friends, it's sink or swim!
One of our trainees had to be extended through FTO program by 6 weeks, two 3 week phases with additonal FTO's. Upon completing/passing the program, he was 10-8 maybe 6 months. Came in one day and turned in his badge and gun, said it wasn't for him.
I have to commend him for his bravery in coming to his decision.
That being said, your desire and will can't always pull someone through. Do what you can, but don't let it hinder your progress.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:04 AM
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The others had good advice. Not everyone makes it. Better to find out in the academy then working the streets.

When I was an FTO I terminated 7 trainees. The academy did no service for them by letting them graduate. In the street they would be killed.
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Old 10-10-2013, 1:39 PM
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As an FTO I have to say you can not train confidence or warrior mindset. Someone who will beat themselves up constantly over a mistake will tend to vapor lock in the field. Unfortunately I think this job may not be her best choice of career. I have had numerous trainees that were amazing in static situations however could not apply their knowledge under stress. Let the academy process run its course, it's designed that way for a reason.
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Old 10-10-2013, 9:55 PM
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As an FTO I have to say you can not train confidence or warrior mindset. Someone who will beat themselves up constantly over a mistake will tend to vapor lock in the field. Unfortunately I think this job may not be her best choice of career. I have had numerous trainees that were amazing in static situations however could not apply their knowledge under stress. Let the academy process run its course, it's designed that way for a reason.
^^^ the kiss of death in an FTO program. NRT'd many boots for this and most got washed out.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wattspd View Post
Back in my day the weak were cut from the program. Everyone was treated the same and nobody received extra help. The ones that get coddled in the academy and fto training end up being worthless in the field. This is the main problem in law enforcement today. Management says we need "smarter" or more "diverse" officers and not cowboys. But when SHTF the newer gen of officers lockup and can't make a decision and are more of a liability than a resource. Just my 2 pennies.
^This. If she doesn't have the drive, she will be a liability on the street and get herself or someone else hurt or killed. She needs to decide if this is really what she wants to do and if it is, she needs to change. You can't do it for her.
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Old 10-13-2013, 9:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
I had a trainee that lacked that survival instinct. He was failing training and got flustered easily. When he was working with another FTO they encountered a suspect who opened fire on them. The FTO returned fire, and the trainee curled up into the fetal position and waited to die. Fortunately, the FTO won the gunfight.
Side note- Wow! I would have loved to been that Trainee and return fire. What an experience. As for curling up in the fetal position, that sucks. Get in the fight and rock and roll.

Especially if you have a LASD issued FS92. You have plenty of firepower there, especially in a 2 vs 1 situation. Good job FTO and Ron- I got your back.
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wattspd View Post
Back in my day the weak were cut from the program. Everyone was treated the same and nobody received extra help. The ones that get coddled in the academy and fto training end up being worthless in the field. This is the main problem in law enforcement today. Management says we need "smarter" or more "diverse" officers and not cowboys. But when SHTF the newer gen of officers lockup and can't make a decision and are more of a liability than a resource. Just my 2 pennies.
This broad brush statement isn't much better than the anti leos when they condemn a whole group of leos based on a small number of leos' actions. I've been retired for 10 1/2yrs. now and left patrol in 1997, so I don't have any experience with the newer gen. of officers. That said, I won't believe a whole group of newer leos fall into that catergory. Your anecdotal experience of some may certainly be valid, but to condemn the group as a whole, certainly is not without evidence to back that up.

I don't know when you went thru the academy, but I did in 1976. There was one fellow deputy cadet and former reserve, who was a heavy smoker and had problems with some of the steep hill running we did in City Terrace. Another cadet and I on several occasions, dropped back when we could hear the DI or Sgt. yelling at him. We would line up on either side and encourage him to keep up. That teamwork wasn't coddling and he made all of the runs. Other cadets did it on other occasions. The DI and sgt. actually gave us a nod of thanks for the teamwork we displayed. BTW, other than this, he had no other problems. If we hadn't assisted him, the dept. and the people of the county would have lost his talents.

He went on to work the Narco Task Force years later until his life was cut short on duty in a tragic helicopter crash in the San Diego County area. He was an excellent deputy. RIP Roy Chester. E.O.W. 10-24-88.

Please be mindful of these type of these type of comments when referring to a whole group of people.
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Old 10-14-2013, 5:48 PM
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All are excellent points made..

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Old 10-14-2013, 9:11 PM
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Your fellow female classmate has to have the drive, the will, and the fire within in order to progress in this job. If other recruits are helping her and its still not clicking, there's not much else to do.
Good luck
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Old 10-15-2013, 9:56 AM
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He went on to work the Narco Task Force years later until his life was cut short on duty in a tragic helicopter crash in the San Diego County area. He was an excellent deputy. RIP Roy Chester. E.O.W. 10-24-88.
Mike Davis, Riverside Co Sheriff was on that helicopter too. It will be 25 years next week and it seems like just the other day.
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Old 10-15-2013, 4:10 PM
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People who can't cut the academy need to move on.
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