The Academy and PT

In the summer of 1995, the Justice Institute of BC moved from the Point Grey area of Vancouver to its current location in New Westminster.  When I started with the Police Academy in the fall of that year, I joined twenty-six other recruits from across BC in the first class to conduct its entire training in the new facility.  After hearing horror stories from the old campus of the PT sessions which included the infamous run up Trimble Hill, I wasn’t sad to be starting out my training as far away as possible from the hill in question.

But sometimes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.   

What I had overlooked in my glee of being in different jurisdiction than Trimble Hill was the undeniable fact that New Westminster is a very hilly city – I soon found out there was a spectacular view from certain vantage points.  Mind you, I’m sure I would have enjoyed the view more had I not been gasping for breath after sprinting up to the summit of what we coined ‘that darned hill’ (the language we used was a bit stronger than that, but you get the point).  The ending upward climb of this particular route has been given a name by the leagues of police recruits in the years since, but it will forever be etched in my memory as ‘that darned hill’. 

The other PT sessions, while strenuous and demanding, were one of the highlights of my training.  We were instructed on the use of various types of intermediate weapons, such as the baton and OC spray.  We were taught some of the finer points of tactical ground fighting and learned that we did not have to be a master at every move – just pick one or two and practice those ones until you are very good at them.  I still use the skills learned over a decade ago, and they have served me well – I was able to take down a man who outweighed me by fifty pounds and was several inches taller than me.  Do I recommend doing this?  No, not all the time.  In this case, I caught the guy by surprise.  

PT was tied in with the legal education – we learned about powers of arrest and about the use of force during an arrest or incident.  We learned that when dealing with a suspect it is always better to have a cover officer who can watch your back, and we were taught the ‘one plus one’ rule – if there is one gun/weapon/suspect, there is most likely one more, so do not let down your guard until you have cleared your area.  We also learned that one of our best weapons against crime is each other.  We shared training tips, study guides and knowledge.  We learned how to make our communities safer, and how to make it through an otherwise deadly encounter so we can go home at the end of shift to our families.

We also learned it takes more than sheer effort to protect against those who would do us harm.  It takes teamwork, and guts, and perseverance. In the same way we ran back for the slower runners coming up ‘that darned hill’, we continue to find strength from one another, and by standing together as a team, we are making a difference.

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