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Academies - College VS. Department Led

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  • Academies - College VS. Department Led

    As we all know, Police Academies are either run through Colleges or Departments themselves such as the Philadelphia Police and the State Police having their own Academies. Certainly State Police is incredibly challenging overall, but my question is what are the biggest differences between each and how does the training differ from one another; specifically around structure, organization, curriculum, training material, and overall "Academy Life".

    This was from an individual I know who graduated a College Academy a few months ago and their statement was basically, "College Academy is a joke!".

    I would really appreciate everyone's comments here regardless of how and where you became ACT120 certified... What was your overall experience like and what can you say about it??...

    Thanks guys!...

  • #2
    dunno dont live there, but as far as academies go, they may differ in some ways but they should be similar to state requirements of licensure. they would require basically the same academics and block hours of each subject taught.

    one may be more strict or laxed, usually the state police academies are para military which are alot tougher on cadets.

    if your friend said that and thats what you want to do then go for it, really all comes down to preference. and where the academies are available.
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    "When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation." -Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder

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    • #3
      Here in WV, if you want to become a LEO, you go through the Basic course at the WVSP Academy. A few of the metro PD's have been certified by WVSP to periodically conduct academies when there is a greater need than what the state academy can adequately train but that is a very rare thing. I can remember two times in nearly three decades that it was necessary.

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      • #4
        Academies - College VS. Department Led

        For what ever it is worth, I wouldn't get too hung up on one vs. the other. Once you get the initial training behind you, the real training occurs when you get experience under your belt!

        It sort of reminds me of some of the discussions I had last year at a few of the high school graduations parties. Granted, the range of potential post high school academics was wide. I asked a number of people working in fields, both law enforcment and non-law enforcement, about the importance of where the academic degree was attained. Virtually everybody stated that it did not matter. A few suggested that in some fields it might matter, but most people mentioned that how someone performed "on the job" was much more important than where they received their education or training from.

        I know that many private college and universities like to brag about their small class size and superior academics. Perhaps they are right, but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter much to me where someone got their education or training. It is performance in the real world that counts!
        Last edited by Jim1648; 02-07-2014, 10:15 AM.

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        • #5
          I've always maintained, and still do, that ANY academy will require 100% dedication and effort on the part of the trainee. This is true for the semi-military academies run by virtually every state, and many local agencies.

          Some of the community college schools may be somewhat more laid back than the military type academies, but the need for discipline and dedication will remain. The military type school is definitely more difficult in terms of the discipline, drill, inspections, PT than the often more laid back community college atmosphere.

          Word of caution though. Quite a few community college schools feature the military style discipline and training. Only difference from the state academy is that the trainee does not reside at the academy.

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          • #6
            The biggest difference I've seen and heard is that *most* college pay-your-way academies will be easier and hold your hand more to pass you because YOU paid THEM and they rely on students to pay for the program. If they fail too many people, they won't have people attending their academy.

            I've heard some horror stories about people that actually passed. Luckily, just passing doesn't guarantee a job.
            Originally posted by RSGSRT
            We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
            Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

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            • #7
              There is a college academy and several department academies in my area. I went to a department academy and it was challenging. Very paramilitary. I know several people that went through the college academy and they described it as a joke.

              Either way, it does not matter. The academy is just something you have to do and it is going to give you a very basic foundation on what the laws in your state are and how you enforce them. Your real training begins when you are hired and are on the streets in FTO. So don't get hung up on which academy to go to, it really isn't too important.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post
                For what ever it is worth, I wouldn't get too hung up on one vs. the other. Once you get the initial training behind you, the real training occurs when you get experience under your belt!
                I couldn't have said it better myself.

                I went to a college academy, but sitting in a classroom and being out there is really different. The real world doesn't matter where you went, it's going to treat you the same either way and you're going to deal with the same issues. Personally I like the college academies (especially in PA since most municipal departments will require you have completed a self-sponsored academy and have your Act 120). Don't let people knock it and deter you from it. You still get the same hours and training whether you're in a para-military or "laid back" academy, or if you get hired by a department to put you through an academy. The State Police have their own academy with additional training, but you get the idea.

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                • #9
                  I am a self-sponsored academy graduate and I paid my way through a municipal agency's in-house academy. We shared some of our facilities with our local community college's academy and had some of the same instructors.

                  I felt that I received better training because the agency sent current LEOs to teach classes, while the community college was mostly retired or former cops. My academy was much more laid back once we earned it from our instructors, while the college academy guys were hammered nonstop throughout their academy. After talking to a few of them, I got the distinct impression that the college guys had it alot tougher, since many of them had jobs outside of the academy.

                  I think it's mostly six of one, half dozen of the other. You'll get the same training, just different styles and methods of teaching. Where I work now, there are no municipal agencies that have their own academy, just three community colleges. The one in town is taught almost exclusively by current Deputies and Officers from our area working OT.

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                  • #10
                    From what I can tell, it really depends on the academy. The one I went through in Massachusetts was a part time academy. The instructors were all active LEOs, and they demanded dedication, punctuality, thoroughness, attention to detail, and of course unwavering integrity and respect. However, they were pretty laid back, always approachable, did a lot of ball busting (although obviously, we weren't allowed to return the favor ) and joking around, and to sum it up, were somewhere between a coach and college professor in their demeanor. The commander of the academy, on the first night, said that this course was going to be challenging but fun and that he wanted everyone to graduate; none of the "My job is to weed out all non-hacks who don't pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps," attitude. I learned a LOT there and I looked forward to going every night (especially Monday night when we did vehicle stops and video shoot/don't shoot drills ). The part time academy, while short and pretty low stress, did turn out some fine officers, many of whom were promoted within their departments and sent to the 800 hour academy to be full time officers (the 800 hour academy is a paramilitary, yelling DIs, PT, weeding out the weak type of course).

                    I don't think college academies are by their very nature easier than municipal run academies. I've heard of some CC academies that are just as long, brutal, and thorough as a state police academy minus the residency. I've also heard of some municipal, county, and state-run academies that are pretty laid back and, by some officers' opinions, a "joke." Hell, there's even some states whose state trooper academies don't have a reputation for being particularly rigid and strict (compared to the municipal academies).

                    The thing is, I don't think there's any science to what makes an academy good or bad. Some say you need a training program that would make the Ancient Spartans cringe. Others say that encouraging and building confidence is done in a lower stress environment. It comes down to recruits too; some do well in situations where they are constantly being yelled at and forced to act under pressure for six straight months and would not do well unless there was the constant threat of PT and humiliation if they slack off. Others would be broken down in a paramilitary setting and would never regain confidence, but might do well in a setting where the instructors are approachable and encouraging them to do their best.
                    "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
                    -Chris Rock

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                    • #11
                      Around here, some college academies are lackluster and expensive, and the department driven ones are looked higher upon. But ive seen great officers come from colleges and poor ones come from other places. Its all about what you put into it. You can be ranked 1 out of 30 in a college one and 30 out of 30 in a great academy. In the end, nobody cares where you came from, its all about how you prove yourself on the streets
                      "Every 56 hours, the Thin Blue Line fades to black"

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