I've had this stereotype of the academy in my mind. Probably from television, but I've pictured some kind of a drill seargent belittling and swearing in the faces of these hopeful would-be cops, and people being thrown out on a whim and being reduced to tears. Maybe it's like that in some academies. I don't know. My desire for drama wishes that were true in HF's academy. Mostly, I have been curious why Calamity Jane and others that do some pretty crazy things haven't been dismissed. He explained to me how it's done in our state. I thought you might find his explanation interesting. I'm also curious if it's done like this anywhere else.
In our state you have the centralized POST academy. In addition to that the state has authorized several satellite academies at various universities and colleges throughout the state. If a department hires you before you get certified, then they send you to the main POST academy. There you get trained full time, five days a week, and you get paid. Most officers in our state sponsor themselves through one of the satellite academies.
Through a satellite academy, students attend the POST certification training for course credit. The satellite academies host classes five days a week in the evenings and all day on Saturdays. Putting yourself through the academy takes approximately twelve months to accomplish with the curriculum being divided into two sessions: The first session lasts three months then there is a four month break. After the break the second session lasts five months and culminates in the student being awarded their certification to be a peace officer anywhere in the state.
So a program that consists of eight months of instruction takes a year to accomplish because of the break between sessions whereas if you get sponsored by a department and sent to the main POST academy it takes you considerably less time. On top of all that when you go through a satellite academy you have to pay your own way and it's expensive.
As a result of this set up it benefits most departments financially to not sponsor anyone through the academy. The majority of the officers in our state sponsored themselves through the academy without the guarantee of a job waiting for them at the end of their training.
There are some benefits and drawbacks to this arrangement in our state. The benefit is that you get a lot of really dedicated people who want to be cops. The sacrifice required acts as a form of filter that weeds out the un-dedicated. Unfortunately, once someone pays their tuition, it is very difficult to get kicked out of the satellite academies because they're doing it through a college or university and have paid for a service. The only way they can get the boot is if they violate rules of conduct or some other extenuating circumstance where the director asks them to leave and refunds them their money. The other drawback is that just about anyone can get into the satellite academies and get access to training that you wouldn't want everyone to have. Yes, the office of POST reviews the applications to the class and some people get weeded out during the initial background checks but others who wouldn't necessarily be great cops get through. A benefit to combat problem people getting hired on is with the embedded peer review system. At the end of each session class members review each other and their anonymous reviews are kept on file with the academy. When a graduate applies for a job with an agency, those in charge of hiring typically call the academy and get access to the peer reviews. This undoubtedly poses its own set of problems but that's how it is here in our state. It's far from perfect but it's the system we have to operate in.