The Day I Donned my Vest

The first day was surreal.  During the academy they teach you officer safety; they teach you everything that can go wrong; they put you through mock situations using role players, but it is all fake.

Roll call was at 1330 hours, I started off in evenings, working a 12 hr shift.  Of course, not sleeping the night before, I arrived to the station a couple of hours before with the mandatory donuts and coffee.  I mean, you want them to like you right?  I had to find my locker and find the bathroom..fast.

Of course I laid out my shirt the night before, adding all the collar brass, name tag, and sacred badge.  Shoes were perfectly spit shined and hair gelled.

Then I remember donning the vest for the first time.  It was stiff, uncomfortable; felt like it weighed a ton.  I strapped that sucker down so it molded perfectly to my body.  Put on my blouse with the shirt stays at the tightest setting, and then my pants and boots.

Then there is the Sam Brown Belt.  It is supposed to carry most of the gear an officer needs that day; OC spray, check; baton, check; radio, check; glove pouch WITH gloves, check; handcuffs, check; full size pistol, check; extra magazines, check.

Weighing in at least 25 pounds heavier than I was in the morning, I felt lopsided and immobile.  I then sat there and waited until other officers started making their way into the locker room.  Eventually I saw my FTI stroll in ten minutes before roll call, a whole one hour and 50 minutes after I did.  Once he got settled in, I tried to play it cool and ask where to sit….which was the front row, only 4 feet away from the Sgt and Lt.

Roll call was average, I introduced myself, feeling all 28 eyes already judging.  My vest I so eagerly cinched down before was now limiting my breathing and cutting into my abs.  Feeling nervous, I spoke fast and got it over with, sitting down awkwardly.

After roll call was over, there was a meeting with the Sgt and Lt about squad expectations and got the cruiser all ready.  Afterwards, we started patrol.

That day was not too exciting looking back on it now.  It was a typical day, probably even a slow day.  I was showed all the patrol areas, including the station line, the county line, and the state line (even though during this FTI period I crossed all of them without knowing!).  We small talked a little bit but expectations were set that neither of us need to talk just to fill the silence….perfect.

When the midnight squad cleared roll call, we grabbed dinner and headed to the station.  I didn’t have an reports that day because it was a day to get “familiarized” with everything.  We took our meal with some others from the squad, then after I was to read many of the General Orders so that my FTI could check it off in the book.

First day donning my vest was finally over.  I was tired, but excited for the next day.

 

~The next post will encompass the whole FTI period and how I started to feel the switch in mindset of becoming an officer. Enjoy!

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