This is the 10th installment in chronicling my journey into law enforcement. If you'd like to read from the beginning, it is best to start at The Foundation.
We have been working 8 hour days since we got sworn in last week. For the most part we have just been doing a whole lot of sitting around. We were issued our duty weapon as well as our duty belt and uniforms for the academy that starts next week. I have never really shot a hand gun in my life besides a .22 so this was pretty new to me. We never had guns in the house when I was growing up so I was a little timid at first and took me a while before I started to feel comfortable just with loading and putting in the mags and practicing getting the gun out of the holster, and we were only practicing with dummy rounds! Eventually we shot off live rounds at some targets just to familiarize ourselves with the weapons so that it isn't completely new to us when we shoot in the academy. I didn't do too bad, but I definitely have a lot of room for improvement! It is not as easy as they make it look in the movies.
They have been rotating us around so that we are able to meet different people and see different parts of the department in these two weeks before we head off to the academy. I spent an afternoon in the dispatch center, watching them work and experiencing the things that they have to do on a regular basis. As much as police officers like to complain about dispatchers, I could never do their job! There are way too many computer screens, phone calls, and just tons of information coming from everywhere.
One day I spent the day with the detectives. I sat in on an interview with one of the detectives. We were interviewing this 16 year old male who was "sexting" with a 13 year old female. The young man was straight forward and honest about everything, so the situation was used more to educate the teens than anything else. I'm sure they will be charged with unruly or something of the sorts, but its mostly just a thing to learn from.
I also have spent several days riding along in the cruisers with patrol officers. In those instances, I was on day shift so we didn't have anything too crazy happen. We made some traffic stops, wrote some tickets, found a little marijuana once, found a couple different people driving under suspension, and stopped one guy for speeding who had a warrant and was then arrested.
We sat through a long slide show presentation and had to learn about all of this stuff and practice with empty cartidges. It is the South Place PD's policy that all officers take at least a one second long shock. Several of the officers I talked to took the full ride (5 seconds), so I decided that I would take the full ride as well. You can do this one of two ways. Either by being shot with the probes I described or they can clip alligator clips to you and you can do it that way. The clips burn your skin and the probes is like being shot with fish hooks so it's your own preference. I chose just to be shot with the probes. When people are tased they fall to the ground, so two officers held on to me and helped lower me to the ground when my body lost control. The instructor had two cartidges that had broken blast doors on the cartidge and he wanted to use those for the training. I did not know this and there is a chance that the cartridges could malfunction without the blast doors, causing a "dud". This happened to me of course, not just once, but twice! I stood there in anticipation, scared to death as the officers hold on to me. I told him I was ready, he said "taser, taser", and then tried to fire. Nothing happened. I was like what the hell? I breathed a sigh of relief, regained my composure and we tried this process again. Nothing happened. Ok I could not take this! He grabbed a brand new cartridge and we repeated again. This time it worked.
No words will ever make you understand the pain that you feel. It was definitely the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. You tense up, have no control, fall to the ground, and 5 seconds feels like an eternity! It doesn't just hurt where the probes go into your skin...the pain shoots through your whole body from your head to your feet, if I remember correctly at around 19 pulses per second. When the 5 seconds was up, it was done..no more pain. For a few minutes I felt a little bit tingly and I laid there until the other recruits pulled the probes out of my back. Your body is still sort of numb so you really don't feel them coming out, and even if you do...it is no comparison to the pain you just experienced so you don't even care. In the minutes thereafter, my body felt extremely drained. Imagine how you feel after runnning a 5K or working out really hard, that is the sort of sensation that my body was experiencing after I recovered and was back on my feet.
It was so painful, it sucked. I can honestly say I hope I never have to experience it again. If we have to do it in the academy, I am only taking the minimum time and that is it. I can't imagine having to do it again....once was enough for me.