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  • Should I go through The Academy before applying for a police department?

    Hello everyone!

    I was wondering if you think it would increase my chances of getting hired at a local police department in my area if I would go through the police Academy before even applying for at a Police Department.

    A local college called Chippewa Valley Technical College offers a Police Academy (I received am ***. Degree in Information Technology from this college last year.)

    Here is the blurp from their website. I really wish they would tell more about it.

    This 520-hour training is specifically designed for potential law enforcement officers in need of meeting Wisconsin certification requirements. Annually, CVTC offers three full-time academies. The competency-based instruction meets the criteria set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Training and Standards Bureau. Training is delivered through a combination of lecture, multimedia, interactive group discussion, hands-on instruction, and field exercises.

    All full-time academy classes are conducted at CVTC's Criminal Justice Division in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Some training will take place outdoors and in the evening hours and weekends to simulate actual conditions.

    The Academy training program is offered for:

    • full-time or part-time law enforcement officers
    • graduates of the Associate Degree program
    • individuals with a minimum of sixty college credits or equivalent
    http://www.cvtc.edu/pages/423.asp

    I have been looking around and Appleton Wisconsin looks like a rather nice police department (from the looks of their website and neat recruitment video).
    http://www.appleton.org/departments/...ng/index.shtml

    I believe they send their hires to the same 520 hour Academy??

    Eau Claire would be a nice place to work also, its a nice city.

    I think if I take my own initiative and go through the Police Academy and then apply for a position, they will see that I am very eager. The police department won't have to pay for my academy training either, it will come out of my pocket. The down side to this though, if I can't find a department with an opening when i get out of the academy, moving somewhere else might not honor my training at CVTC, right?

    If anyone has gone through this Academy could I get some feedback on it?
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    A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

  • #2
    I'm currently going through the 520 Basic Recruit Police Academy at Gateway Tech College, so I'm not really sure if it will help out or not. I can't imagine that it would hurt you, especially in this super competitive economy. I will let you know things work out in December when I graduate.

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      Not a lot of agencies in Wisconsin will put an applicant through the academy, so sponsoring yourself is your best bet, IMO.

      Appleton is a VERY competitive agency to get on with. If hired, they'll send you to the 520-hour course at Fox Valley Technical College, right off of Hwy 41 if you know the area.

      But don't limit yourself to just Eau Claire and Appleton, there are A LOT of agencies hiring... just check wilenet.org and find the ones that might interest you.
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      • #4
        Yes it will help you out.

        If I were you, I'd get into that academy as soon as possible. If you're going through a full-time academy I'd start applying ASAP since many hiring processes take 4-6 months from start to finish.

        A department benefits from you taking the initiative to educate yourself because they don't have to spend the $18,000 (academy, wage & benefits not to mention added costs for hotel and meals) on a new employee who has yet to prove they are worth continued employment.

        Take the time, get into an academy and send yourself through it because the long term benefits will far outweigh any (if any) short term complications.

        Don't be afraid to start out part-time or small town employment while searching for a larger department or your dream department. You'll gain knowledge, experience and confidence that will give you that extra leg up on most other candidates.
        He who makes no mistakes, usually makes nothing at all.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the prompt replys!

          I'm currently going through the 520 Basic Recruit Police Academy at Gateway Tech College
          Could you explain to me a little more on what the local Police Academy's are like? My only experience with Police Academy's is watching Fox's "The Academy" that is LA's PD Academy. Which is state driven, not college driven... Will I see much of a difference? Or is it more laid back? What can I do to prepare myself BEFORE going into the Academy? (titles of comprehensive books?) I am suffering from an extreme lack of knowledge! All I know is computer, not Law Enforcement stuff.

          Not a lot of agencies in Wisconsin will put an applicant through the academy, so sponsoring yourself is your best bet, IMO.
          Appleton is a VERY competitive agency to get on with. If hired, they'll send you to the 520-hour course at Fox Valley Technical College, right off of Hwy 41 if you know the area.
          Okay. So.... What if I go to lets say, Chippewa Valley's 520 Academy. Will that Academy be okay? Do you get a certificate or something saying you are state certified? Or do you just get the ability to say you went through "insert name of Academy here" and graduated. My worry here is, will police departments honor ANY academy as long as it is legit?

          But don't limit yourself to just Eau Claire and Appleton, there are A LOT of agencies hiring... just check wilenet.org and find the ones that might interest you.
          Yeah I hear you. Thing is, from the outside looking in, they all LOOK the same! :/ Any tips on picking a Police Department?

          If I were you, I'd get into that academy as soon as possible. If you're going through a full-time academy I'd start applying ASAP since many hiring processes take 4-6 months from start to finish.
          Yeah, sounds like a great idea. However, in the physical shape I am now I can't do it. I can't even do 1 full push up and I have about 35 pounds to lose!

          Don't be afraid to start out part-time or small town employment while searching for a larger department or your dream department. You'll gain knowledge, experience and confidence that will give you that extra leg up on most other candidates.
          Excellent advise. However, lets say I work at a small town in Wisconsin and don't get into a larger city until 3 years down the road. Then when you transfer, your retirement date re-sets back to 20 years right? (So you basically forfeit 3 years toward retirement?)
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          A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gui4life86 View Post
            Thanks for the prompt replys!



            Could you explain to me a little more on what the local Police Academy's are like? My only experience with Police Academy's is watching Fox's "The Academy" that is LA's PD Academy. Which is state driven, not college driven... Will I see much of a difference? Or is it more laid back? What can I do to prepare myself BEFORE going into the Academy? (titles of comprehensive books?) I am suffering from an extreme lack of knowledge! All I know is computer, not Law Enforcement stuff.

            Most Wisconsin Technical Colleges do not have an intensive physical fitness course such as you see on those shows.

            Okay. So.... What if I go to lets say, Chippewa Valley's 520 Academy. Will that Academy be okay? Do you get a certificate or something saying you are state certified? Or do you just get the ability to say you went through "insert name of Academy here" and graduated. My worry here is, will police departments honor ANY academy as long as it is legit?

            As long as you graduate you will be "certifiable" which means you are now eligible to be hired and have completed an academy. Once you're hired, you will become "certified" and will require a minimum of 24 hours (usually paid by the dept. you work for) of in-service training to continue being "certified."

            Yeah I hear you. Thing is, from the outside looking in, they all LOOK the same! :/ Any tips on picking a Police Department?

            Tips on a PD? Where do you want to work, live, raise family? What activities do you like? Larger metro areas have both large and small dept's and have more opportunities for entertainment than more rural areas. However, metro areas have more frequent violent crime. How busy do you want to be? On busy nights my shift will take up words of 150 calls. An adjacent jurisdiction may take that many calls in a week or two. You have to research departments and their wages and benefits and decide if they are for you or not. Health insurance isn't getting any less expensive. The S.E. area is best for me. Not far from Milwaukee or Chicago which are great to visit but are not for me to live in.

            Yeah, sounds like a great idea. However, in the physical shape I am now I can't do it. I can't even do 1 full push up and I have about 35 pounds to lose!

            I realize life is hectic for most, but if you want to make the change of life, you will do what it takes. No disrespect meant.

            Excellent advise. However, lets say I work at a small town in Wisconsin and don't get into a larger city until 3 years down the road. Then when you transfer, your retirement date re-sets back to 20 years right? (So you basically forfeit 3 years toward retirement?)
            As long as a department participates in the State Retirement program, you take that with you wherever you go. The catch is that for Part-time officers you have to reach 600 hours (I think per year, but not sure) to start in on State Retirement. Once you're in State Retirement the department pays both 1/2's, so you're not paying into retirement unless you choose for a deferred compensation program. And, if you're working PT and not eligible for the State Retirement, I'd start up that deferred comp. immediately and if your department does have it, start your own 401k. Depending on your age, some departments have a minimum number of years you have to be employed before you can draw health insurance benefits once you retire.

            If you have a significant other they need to be a part of this decision as well. It's a life changing choice. I suggest riding along w/a PD and have frank talks with anyone you know in law enforcement before you invest into something only to find you don't like it. Of course you may just be bitten by the bug and never want to stop!


            You'll find most answers to any questions you have here: https://wilenet.org/html/career/index.html
            He who makes no mistakes, usually makes nothing at all.

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            • #7
              Thanks for answering my questions Ray55!

              I am trying to lose the weight and gain muscle but it has been slow lately.

              I really wish I could just quit my current job, focus 100% on getting ready for the police Academy, work out like crazy, and study hard. However, my soon-to-be-wife says I need to make money.

              Thank you for the advise, very helpful.

              Id like to know if anyone on the forum has gone through Chippewa Valley Technical Colleges Police Academy, this is very close to my house and it would be great this one was a good Academy to attend.

              I did read up on that Wilenet.org site. I forgot about Chippewa Falls, ill add that city to my list (it might be a little to bit small of a city for me, I am unsure.) Eau Claire is the 9th biggest city (population wise) in Wisconsin, Appleton is 6th biggest. Only about 10,000 people difference.

              Chippewa Falls isnt even on the list of top 50! :/

              In a week or so Ill call around to the local PD's and ask to be signed up for a ride-along.
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              A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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              • #8
                I am trying to lose the weight and gain muscle but it has been slow lately.


                I know that feeling! Best of luck in your ventures into law enforcement. It's a great job with many great benefits. I don't regret a single day. Remember, family first.
                He who makes no mistakes, usually makes nothing at all.

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                • #9
                  As a former city of Appleton employee for 8 years, I can tell you that you are looking at a good department in a good city. My wife is from Wausau, and I absollutely love Wisconsin's northwoods and northcentral Wisconsin, and I have always considered getting out of firefighting and into police work, so this was a perfect fit for me. I was one of FEW people who were blessed enough to get hired before I was through academy, but I can promise you that your chances of getting hired will be 10 times better with academy, not to mention that probably 80% of all departments hiring REQUIRE you to have already been through academy just to apply.

                  One thing about Appleton is to be in shape before you apply. They have physical fitness requirements that you have to pass while going through their process, and they also have yearly fitness testing for ALL their officers as well that you must pass. Doing good on the fitness tests is how your raises are achieved. You can either do the minimum and keep your job, do good and get a 1% or so raise, and do really good and get a 2% raise. That's how we did it at the fire department, and I know police is almost the exact same way.

                  Work out like crazy, and put yourself through academy. You won't regret it!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by firemanmatt View Post
                    As a former city of Appleton employee for 8 years, I can tell you that you are looking at a good department in a good city. My wife is from Wausau, and I absollutely love Wisconsin's northwoods and northcentral Wisconsin, and I have always considered getting out of firefighting and into police work, so this was a perfect fit for me. I was one of FEW people who were blessed enough to get hired before I was through academy, but I can promise you that your chances of getting hired will be 10 times better with academy, not to mention that probably 80% of all departments hiring REQUIRE you to have already been through academy just to apply.

                    One thing about Appleton is to be in shape before you apply. They have physical fitness requirements that you have to pass while going through their process, and they also have yearly fitness testing for ALL their officers as well that you must pass. Doing good on the fitness tests is how your raises are achieved. You can either do the minimum and keep your job, do good and get a 1% or so raise, and do really good and get a 2% raise. That's how we did it at the fire department, and I know police is almost the exact same way.

                    Work out like crazy, and put yourself through academy. You won't regret it!
                    Thank you for your reply! I did notice that incentive raise scale on their website, I thought it was a pretty good idea.

                    Appleton is offically on the top of my list for the PD I want to work in.

                    Now I just have to bust my butt and get into shape.
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                    A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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                    • #11
                      CVTC academy

                      I went through the 520 academy at CVTC.....

                      You will have a lot of fun....

                      The "in house" instructors are all very nice....Layne Yost (if he is still there) teaches legal stuff and is hiliarious.

                      You will have a lot of Police officer instructors who work for various agencies around the area.... EVOC is taught by Jeffery Pettis...and John Kantaa.....Pettis is a Sgt. from ECSD and is very well known for crash reconstruction...and Kantaa from Dunn County races cars....there are both great instructors....


                      you spend a lot of time looking at power point presentations on various subjects...

                      you will take a **** TON of notes.....keep it organized...

                      but all that is broken up with A LOT of shooting too and driving and DAAT as well...

                      You will learn a lot in a short amount of time and it won't even scratch the surface on what you need to know when you get a job.....

                      Go for it though....it was a lot of fun....you WILL make some good friends.
                      Last edited by Jinxman; 09-18-2008, 09:11 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Just so you know what to expect, the physical requirments for getting into DAAT in the Tech Schools (and I would assume for getting into the academy) is the following. 29 sit-ups in 1 minute, 21 push-ups in 1 minute, 1.5 mile run in 16:28. We also had to do a sit and reach exercise but I don't remember the reach requirement for that. You will also have to have a low blood pressure, so make sure you don't have high blood pressure or do something about it. The better you get at these things before academy the easier it will be.
                        "My faith, my country and my family will guide me; nothing more, nothing less" -Gen. Tommy Franks

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                        • #13
                          EXCELLENT.

                          Thank you for the replies.

                          In my past experience CVTC has great instructors, I wouldn't see why the Academy would be any different.

                          I am gonna email CVTC today and ask for more information.
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                          A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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                          • #14
                            gui4life86-
                            Sorry I didn't answer your PM earlier. I am currently going through the CVTC academy, and we just finished week 5. To be honest, I am a little disappointed in the course. While it is VERY fun, it is quite unorganized at time. It seems like half the time, the powerpoint presentations aren't working. We picked up all our books from the bookstore the first week of class. They all came in a cardboard box. We were never told what was supposed to be in the boxes, and I think everybody in the class has been missing random books. The EVOC and Firearms are run very smoothly. In our 4 shooting sessions so far, we have probably shot close to 400 rounds already. The DAAT is fun, but it's a little too laid back for my liking. Physical fitness is close to the last requisite for this course. There was no physical for admission to the academy.

                            The academy director preaches that being on time is very important, but it is very loosely enforced. The tests we take are by far the most confusing tests I've taken in 7 years of college. There is a weekly test, and we've been tested on subjects not even covered in class. For example, the department chair highlighted about 20 of the "most common" 10-codes we should study and know for the test. What were we tested on? 14 10-codes, 4 of which were the highlighted ones.

                            In the end, I just have to ask myself the question, Will this course make me certifiable? and the answer is YES. The academy has much to be desired, but the fun factor is always there.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jeepinwi View Post
                              gui4life86-
                              Sorry I didn't answer your PM earlier. I am currently going through the CVTC academy, and we just finished week 5. To be honest, I am a little disappointed in the course. While it is VERY fun, it is quite unorganized at time. It seems like half the time, the powerpoint presentations aren't working. We picked up all our books from the bookstore the first week of class. They all came in a cardboard box. We were never told what was supposed to be in the boxes, and I think everybody in the class has been missing random books. The EVOC and Firearms are run very smoothly. In our 4 shooting sessions so far, we have probably shot close to 400 rounds already. The DAAT is fun, but it's a little too laid back for my liking. Physical fitness is close to the last requisite for this course. There was no physical for admission to the academy.

                              The academy director preaches that being on time is very important, but it is very loosely enforced. The tests we take are by far the most confusing tests I've taken in 7 years of college. There is a weekly test, and we've been tested on subjects not even covered in class. For example, the department chair highlighted about 20 of the "most common" 10-codes we should study and know for the test. What were we tested on? 14 10-codes, 4 of which were the highlighted ones.

                              In the end, I just have to ask myself the question, Will this course make me certifiable? and the answer is YES. The academy has much to be desired, but the fun factor is always there.
                              Hrrmmm. Yeah I guess you would see more of a military like academy if it was run by the local police department itself.

                              Maybe they assume it is a better learning experience if it more laid back? Dunno.

                              The book store isn't run by the college, which I find funny. Explains why the books are 100x more expensive than Amazon.com.

                              Could you please tell me the names of the books you are using (or are suppose to be using)? I want to buy them now.

                              What guns are you firing? Did they issue you pistols (to keep)? What kind? Can you bring your own?

                              Thanks!
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                              A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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