Police recruit for a day

March 30, 2010 4:33:52 PM PDT
Participants in a media training day Tuesday at the Chicago Police Academy learned that it takes a lot of training and hard work for police recruits to become Chicago police officers.

Every weekday, as the sun and the flag rise at the Chicago Police Academy training headquarters, about 90 recruits hear a name of a fallen officer - a reminder of what is at stake. Most of the men and women will pass their 1,000 hours of training but it's not easy.

"It's a rigorous training we go through, everything from physical fitness to education, training us to what life's like when we hit the streets," said Fred Coletta, Chicago Police Department recruit.

Coletta left looming layoffs in corporate America to become an officer. And what he will learn in 30 weeks, participants in a media training day Tuesday tried to absorb in six hours.

From police lingo to when to use force and how to cuff someone properly - you have to make sure the back of their hands are facing each other and not hurt the suspect but you also can't give them an opportunity to escape.

"You have someone cooperative and not combative and not fighting you hope the subject will remain that way so when you properly cuff them it gives them no reason to act violent," said Cynthia Nichols, CPD physical skills instructor.

Then there is the intense physical training.

But how do you confront and arrest a criminal? One participant was shot with an air pellet gun before she could cuff the offender.

The Chicago Police Department also showed participants an example of one of the vehicles that is on the road right now. There are two cameras in the front and one camera in the back pointing at the offender and when the flashing lights go on so does the video and audio.

And what would police training be without a trip to the firing range. We first practiced with fake guns. Real recruits get 80 hours of firearms training plus on going annual tests.

And there's a more tech savvy way to shoot. A laser game puts recruits through virtual scenarios.