So once you make it through all that, what about the academy itself?
Well since I am the Academy Coordinator at an academy I think I can speak on this.
You need to be prepared for the type of academy you are thinking of going too. Not all academies are created equal. Some are very different than others. There are those that are very militaristic, like most state police academies. Some you live on the academy grounds while you go to the academy, some you don’t. Some you go full time 8 hours a day, some you go in the evenings.
So it really varies from place to place, state to state. But I will try to speak on those things that the majority of academies have in common. First off, think of the academy as one big job interview. Your instructors are usually police professionals and current or past officers. They have ties to the agencies they are part of and will remember you if you do something that it merits remembering! Also you may have police officials walking around your academy at times, and when they see you standing the hallway, screwing off and talking about something you should not, they will notice you and remember your face and name.
Treat the academy like your there and being watched the whole time as a working job interview. I get a call on every single person our local agencies are thinking of hiring. They ask about the time in the academy and what they did or did not do. Appearance is key. Professional looking uniforms (if you wear them) is important. Show the staff you can look good in a uniform.
Also , you have to study. Set time aside every day to study the material you covered that day. For some people it’s not new material, for others it is, either way, you should go over it. The exams you are going to take are very important. In some state, like Florida, if you score under the cutoff score, which the State has set at 80%, you fail the exam and then fail the academy. And you take upwards of 14 written exams and 4 practical exams (Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Driving, and First Aid).
So if you go through all the trouble and time and money to get in the academy, don’t blow it because you did not take the time to study because you wanted to go out with your friends drinking the night before the exam. Also if you’re not at a live on academy, do not get in trouble while in the academy. In fact while you’re in you should live the life of a Nun! Stay away from drinking in excess (or at all), of course I should not have to say this but do, no drugs, no criminal activity, and don’t get arrested. Getting tickets do not help either. So do your very best to drive like you are supposed to anyway, and behave yourself. You want to be a police officer, not arrested or ticketed by one! Plus as soon as you leave (if not while your stopped) if the officer sees your in the academy, they will call them. I get calls from officers when they stop one of my recruits. Its not fun that day after that, trust me.
That’s about the basics. There is a lot more of course, but you will have to learn as you go for some things. I hope this helps. Be safe and be PROFESSIONAL!