Week 16

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

May 27, 2022

I am down to two more sessions of physical therapy and the “final” evaluation by the orthopedic doctor next week. I have worked hard and have achieved a range of motion in the “normal range.” These last few sessions have amped up the bodyweight exercises, which include banded air chairs, banded wall squats, banded lunges, one-legged balance step downs and side plank clamshells. Air chairs and wall squats are part of the “fun” in the academy, and they followed me to physical therapy (PT)! The real tough exercise is the balance board. If you have never had PT using this device, picture being on a teeter totter, trying to balance side-to-side without allowing the board hit the ground on either side for 2 minutes without landing on your face. I can’t surf with a good knee, so you can imagine how funny it is to watch me attempt this exercise. I am happy to report that today I may have looked crazy with some wobbly moves, but the board didn’t touch the ground! That’s the kind of physical fitness goal I have these days. The pain is still there when I walk, but it’s slowly getting better. I’m hoping the next doctor’s appointment will shed some light on whether it’s caused by my meniscus tear or medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain (or both) and what our game plan will be to fix it.

BAC52-22 traffic stops
Recruits practicing traffic stops.

This week the recruits tackled their knowledge-skills-abilities (KSAs) scenarios. Each day they were at a different training facility. At Academi in Moyock, they used simulated neighborhoods and commercial areas to practice responding to the kinds of scenarios they may encounter in real life. Along with role players, they conducted mock traffic stops, responded to firearms violations and stopped inmate fights. There are several criteria that the Training staff were looking for in these scenarios, including their decision-making process, ability to identify threats, appropriate use of resources, officer safety and communications skills.

BAC52-22 KSAs
Deputy recruits respond to an inmate fight scenario.

Many of the scenarios this week involved fight scenes, and the recruits had to use their training to combat the “suspect” and gain control of their movements. One wrong move by the recruit and they would very likely get struck by the assailant. This is a realistic situation that our deputies regularly face, and the staff is looking to see that they will fight back and never give up, no matter how tough the fight. Our objective in these situations is to stop the assault, gain control of the situation and minimize injury. I was able to attend the KSA scenarios several times this week and took photos and videos of the drills and some candid shots of my “crew” during downtime.

I can’t believe this is already the last week of training, and I am very proud of Basic Academy Class 52-22. I enjoyed working with this fantastic group of people who started out as individuals and – during the last 16 weeks – grew into a tight team. You probably remember me talking about the four phases of team dynamics: forming, storming, norming and performing. Well, I think the recruits finally reached the performing stage and are operating effectively as a unit. We are like family now, and I would have loved to have graduated alongside them. What I CAN do is continue to cheer them on through their last hurdles before graduation and help make their graduation a success. I’ll be helping cater their “last” meal together as a class, taking lots of photos and streaming the graduation ceremony on Facebook Live. You can tune in on our Facebook page at facebook.com/vbsheriffsoffice.

Only five days until graduation day! Keep up the good work, BAC 52-22!

BAC52-22 scenarios group shot
PIO Margie Hobbs and the recruits during downtown between KSA scenarios.

If you want to be a part of our team, we are accepting applications for deputy recruits until June 16! Apply at vbgovcareers.com.