September 6, 2006

The Best Free Education in LA

UCLA Extension could sell this 10-week program for $500 or more. But the Los Angeles Police Department offers Community Police Academy - a condensed, mostly hands-off version of what LAPD recruits learn - for free. For a Newbie like me it's a crash course in how this vast city bounces between chaos and calm. I'm halfway to graduation.

  • Week 1: LAPD History; Homicide Investigations (taught by actual homicide detectives with actual "murder books" containing actual photographs of what you actually think)
  • Week 2: Search & Seizure (the "mailman rule" says, if the mailman can get to something at your house so can the police)
  • Week 3: Pursuits; Community Policing; Traffic; DUI
  • Week 4: K-9; SWAT; North Hollywood Shootout (taught by a SWAT officer who helped take down one of the suspects on Feb. 28, 1997; he retires this month and is participating in a new National Geographic show about the shootout)
  • Week 5: Hate Crime; Internal Affairs (now called Professional Standards); Identity Theft
Did you know the LAPD has its own phonetic alphabet? Forget Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta... LA cops spell with Adam, Boy, Charles, David...

There ought to be a word ending with phile - like pedophile, or Francophile - to describe someone with a fondness for law enforcement. It would describe many of my classmates. They have a fascination with the investigation. They enjoy (or maybe they can't avoid) frequent LAPD interaction. Or could it be the 90-cent coffee?

Remaining weeks offer more law and order, LA style, including:

  • Week 6: Communications and Air Support
  • Week 7: Gang Enforcement
  • Week 8: Domestic Violence
  • Week 9: Vice
  • Week 10: Firearms Training Simulators

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