Week 11

Back to Basics: A 17-year law enforcement veteran goes back to basic training

April 22, 2022

I guess you could call me the “limpy” Easter Bunny.

Deputy Recruit Hobbs Easter
Deputy Recruit Margie Hobbs getting some love from her canine "nurses".

After my knee injury last week put me in crutches, it wasn’t easy trying to hide Easter eggs for my girls, but I made it happen (although it did require a bit of hopping). We spent the day at my sister’s farm and enjoyed a great meal. I was also treated to some “nursing” care from her two dogs, Senta and Dixie, after the egg hunt. I hope everyone reading this had an enjoyable holiday weekend with family, too.

This week I received some great news! I heard back from my orthopedic doctor’s office and my MRI came back with a lesser injury than expected. My MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury is a grade 1, which is much better than the first evaluation on the day of my injury. I do not have a fracture, which is even better! My healing time is estimated to be six to 12 weeks and, as you all know, I cannot wait to be running again. The weather is perfect for it, and it’s difficult for me to sit out.

The next academy is scheduled to start in August, and I’m supposed to join them in their 11th week to finish my last six weeks of training. I’m hoping that my knee heals quickly, and I can start physical training (PT) with Basic Academy Class (BAC) 53-22 at the start of their academy. A lot of the team bonding occurs during PT – which, you probably recall, includes pushups, “suicide” drills and other “fun” activities – and, although I won’t be restarting my training until Week 11, I want to get to know the class from the beginning. Fingers crossed that I will be healed in time.

I finished out my last week with BAC 52-22, and we took our fifth test on Wednesday, which covered material learned before my injury. I got a 100 and I’m happy that my last official test as a member of my class was a success. I’ve noticed that, as we’ve progress through the academy, our group has gotten stronger at test taking. Next week the class takes test No. 6. I know they will do a great job. Everyone has continued to come together for study groups and to make study guides. Success is a team effort.

While I won’t be finishing with BAC 52-22, I will be continuing to follow the class and write about their training.

BAC 52-22 ASP baton
Recruits practice their ASP baton defense techniques.

This week the recruits learned cell extractions, court security, court testimony, crime scene protection, ASP baton tactics and more. I was on scene to get some photographs of our class in action as they learned the different types of ASP baton strikes used for self-defense. The training is like what I experienced when I was a police recruit 23 years ago. The ASP baton has had some technical improvements since then (which is probably a good thing), and they have advanced the design and functionality. The ASP baton can be used if we’re faced with an assaultive suspect. It is a friction-lock expandable baton that supplements other defense techniques, such as closed-hand strikes. It is also used to create distance from an assaultive suspect by pushing them away.

The recruits also practiced cell extractions, which involve removing combative or uncooperative inmates from their cells. This is a skill that must be mastered in order for deputies to remove an inmate from their cell with the least risk of injury to all parties. While our goal is always to get compliance without force, cell extractions are used in the Correctional Center when an inmate refuses to leave their cell and is a danger to themselves or others. After practicing these skills in drills using protective shields, the recruits participated in scenarios where instructors played the inmates and the recruit extraction team had to enter the “cell” and remove the “inmate” effectively. Practice makes perfect! Or, in the words of our academy instructors, perfect practice makes perfect.

BAC 52-22 cell extractions
Recruits practicing cell extractions.

Next week our class will be putting their court testimony training to work and will be evaluated during mock testimony. For most it will be their first time ever “testifying,” even in a training setting. I will let you know how they do in next week’s blog.

Back to Basics has given me the opportunity to share my academy experiences firsthand, whether it be classroom instruction, qualifications, tests or corrective PT in the “Field of Fun.” Although I am no longer in the “trenches” with my classmates as part of BAC 52-22, I will always be a part of the team and I’m committed to helping them succeed in any way I can as they push through their classwork and practical testing on the way to graduation. Graduation is just 41 days away! Let’s go team!

Photos by VBSO Public Information Officer Toni Guagenti and Deputy Recruit/Public