Welcome to the Costa Mesa Police Department. You have chosen to become part of an extraordinary team in one of the finest law enforcement agencies in California. Becoming a police officer is a difficult journey, every day of which you will be tested mentally, physically, and emotionally.
This rigorous training regimen at the academy is meant to instill pride and discipline in each recruit. Its paramilitary setting helps accomplish this, with its uniforms, ranks and insignias, chain of command, and traditions. Come graduation day, you will have earned and will take great pride in your new position as an officer with the Costa Mesa Police Department.
Preparing for the Academy
Your experience at the academy will be considerably easier if you physically prepare for it as early as possible. Beginning a workout program is a good starting point. If you do not work out on a regular basis, it is important to start at a comfortable level and slowly build up your strength and endurance. Basic exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups are performed daily at the academy and should be included in your workout program. Prior to starting the academy, you should be able to complete 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, and at least 4 pull-ups. Weight training can assist your preparations.
Running is the main aerobic conditioning at the academy, and should form the foundation of your own exercise program. Again, begin slowly and build up. If you can’t run two miles continuously, slow down and walk for a portion, then continue running when you have recovered. After a week or two, you will be able to run the entire distance. Once you have achieved this, work to increase speed and distance.
Your recruit training will include academics, physical training, enforcement tactics, weapons training, and vehicle operations. You will be required to meet the standards set forth by both the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) and the academy. The following descriptions will provide an overview of what to expect from each type of training.
You will be responsible for the 42 learning domains (LD) mandated by P.O.S.T., as well as agency-specific policies and procedures. During your six months at the academy, you will receive over a thousand hours of training from experienced officers and sergeants. Should you fail to pass any LD examination, you must take a remedial exam. Failing the remedial exam will result in termination from the academy.
You will also be required to pass courses in criminal law, Spanish language, and accident investigation. You will also earn an Emergency Medical Responder certification.
Most recruits find physical training is the most challenging portion of academy attendance. You will need to report for training prepared for a strenuous conditioning program. You will be motivated to push your body to its limits. You will also be expected to pass a multitude of physical fitness tests.
To prepare yourself for such demanding activity, you should follow a strength-training program well in advance of entering the academy (a circuit training program is advisable). You should also be running at least three miles, three times a week, at a nine minute per mile pace. Prior to reporting to the academy, you should also be able to complete 50 sit-ups, 50 push-ups, and four pull-ups. Following these guidelines will ensure that you meet the minimum acceptable level for new recruits.
The staff will train you in various aspects of enforcement procedures. You will learn basic applications regarding use of force, patrol techniques, vehicle pullovers, and crimes in progress. Your general knowledge will be tested in each phase, as well as your ability to apply that knowledge to both day and night scenarios.
Weapons Training is a realistic program that prepares officers to face the challenges of on-the-job encounters.
Each recruit will be instructed in the safe handling and effective use of the department's general duty weapons: Heckler and Koch model USP 40 semiautomatic pistol, and Remington model 870 shotgun.
Weapons Training also includes the proper use of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC spray, also known as pepper spray), operations in a chemical environment, and basic recognition and handling of confiscated and clandestine weapons.
Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC)
EVOC, one of the finest law enforcement driver training programs available, will train you in enforcement driving. You will hear lectures on vehicle dynamics, performance driving techniques, and departmental policy. You will also receive interactive driver training, which includes vehicle placement, skid control techniques, performance driving, defensive driving, and code-3 pursuit driving.
Each recruit must meet minimum performance goals during each phase of interactive training, as well as demonstrate knowledge by written examination.
Customs and Courtesies
Recruits should become familiar with the following customs and courtesies:
- When speaking to a staff member or any person, state: "Sir (or Ma'am), Recruit __________ requests permission to speak to __________, Sir (or Ma'am)."
- Upon contacting, meeting, or passing any person on the academy grounds, state: "Sir (or Ma'am), by your leave, Sir (or Ma'am)."
- When reporting to any office or officer, state: "Sir (or Ma'am), Recruit __________ reporting as requested."
- Any time you report to a staff member, you will assume the position of attention and remain in that position until told otherwise.
The academy will be your "home away from home" for the next several months (you do not live on academy grounds). Your training day will typically begin at 0645 hours and end at approximately 1700 hours. You must remain on academy grounds during training hours.
Recruits learn the drill procedures necessary to participate in ceremonies and tactical formations, including riots and civil disturbances. Marching is a critical aspect of drill procedures, and you will practice it often.
Police recruits attending the academy are paid $26.56 per hour based on a 40-hour workweek. Paychecks are distributed bi-monthly. In addition, the police department pays for all required uniforms and equipment.
You will be entitled to receive medical benefits after your first 30 days of training. The department will pay for treatment for injuries suffered as a result of training.
Academy Rules and Regulations
In response to the academy's design, your ability to adapt to situations and manage stress will be tested. You must be prepared to handle a heavy workload while maintaining your appearance, demeanor, and professionalism.
At the end of your academy training comes graduation day: a proud event for you and your family. Recognition will be given to the most outstanding recruit in the areas of communication skills, arrest and control, firearms, physical training, practical applications, and overall recruit.
Badge numbers will be assigned based on the overall academy performance, with the highest point total receiving the first badge number for that class.
Each recruit will face a number of obstacles during academy training. Most recruits have difficulty with the regimentation and some with the physical testing, but most recruits share one obstacle: they failed to adequately prepare for the demanding academy lifestyle.
Fortunately, the Costa Mesa Police Department Training and Recruitment Bureau staff will work with you in advance to help you meet your physical and academic goals.
When you first report to the academy, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of studying and physical exercise required. The staff will urge you to perform and will assist you should you need it.