5 Things You Can Expect the First Week of the Police Academy

Dec 18, 2022
police officer academy


The academy experience varies tremendously from location to location.  Some will be para-military and incredibly difficult while others will be more of a trade school.  With that being said, there are five things you can expect the first week regardless of the academy you attend...


  1. Rules & Consequences


The rules of your academy will be established early and there will be consequences for violating them.  If severe enough, it could lead to your termination or dismissal.  Some rules are meant to maintain safety in training.  Others exist to teach you attention to detail, making you more mindful of your actions, or to create additional stress for you to manage in preparation for the stressful nature of police work.




The consequences can range from losing free time to doing extra pushups to having less-than-fun duties to complete.  The entire class may be punished for the actions of one.  If this happens to you, learn from the mistake and take action to prevent it from happening again.  In any case, it would behoove you to learn and follow the rules.  Simple as that.  



  1. Stress


Police recruits undergo stress inoculation, and this will likely begin your first day.  Think of this as increasing your immunity to stress and making you more resilient for the stressful situations you’ll experience after graduation.


Depending on your academy, this aspect of training may be extreme.  You’ll be given five minutes to do ten-minute tasks or asked to push yourself past your physical limits.  It’s not just that you’ll be asked to do these things, you’ll be expected to perform under these circumstances.  In time, you’ll handle similar situations more stoically and that is the intent of these training evolutions; “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you” (an excerpt from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling).  Your academy staff is building up your psychological armor so you will be more resilient and cool-minded out on the road. 


Fortunately, there are tools you can learn and practice to improve your mental game...




  1. Physical Training


All academies have a physical training (PT) component and you’ll get your introduction to this in your first week.  Some may simply prepare you to pass your state law enforcement physical fitness testing while others will push you to your limit and beyond.  It is in your best interest to get information about the PT program you’ll be undergoing well ahead of time.


Depending on the academy, you may do bodyweight exercises, long distance running, sprinting, rowing, jump rope, agility drills, resistance training to include barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, and bands, or a combination of all the above.  Being, not just familiar, but proficient at the exercises you’re going to experience in the academy the better off you’ll be.  The bottom line is the more physically capable you are before starting your academy the greater your chances for success, both in the academy and after.  Once you’re on the road and doing the job, your physical fitness could literally be the difference between life and death.  Show up prepared. 

[Insert plug for EF training app]


  1. Failure


Between all the rules, the intentionally added stress, and the physical training, failure in your first week is a near inevitability.  Failure is never acceptable, but it is not final; it is part of the process.  View failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.  Take action, or put in place fail-safes, to prevent it from happening again.  As you and your class develop, failure will occur less and less.  Not because the program gets easier, but because you get better.  Trust the process and never give less than your best.



  1. You’ll be surrounded by people who feel the same as you



You’re going to fail. You’re going to experience tremendous amounts of stress.  At times you may doubt your decision to start the academy, especially when you look at how much training you have left.  Remember all your classmates feel the same as you.  





It will benefit those around you, as well as yourself, to set the example.  Be sure to do your job and help your classmates do theirs.  If you make a mistake, own up to it and move on.  If you don’t meet the standard, take action to fix the issue.  Strive for excellence and be the example.  As your class develops and eventually graduates, they’ll remember you for being the one that kept it all together.