Law Enforcement (Part 1)

Annett Tamayo, Staff Writer

Since freshman year Law Enforcement became a really interesting topic for me. I think it all began when I started watching the show Criminal Minds. It might sound silly but I always believed that this show gave me the foundation for what the “Criminal Justice System” was about or what I thought it was about. Due to this in 2016 I set out a goal to become an FBI agent in the future, thus I joined the Law Academy.

I  am a member of the Law and Justice Academy and I have been apart of it for 3 years now and it has given me a lot of opportunities. When I joined the law academy my freshman year  the Pinole Police Department put out a flyer, for the Pinole Police Youth Academy. I was thrilled and of course I had to join because this was the career I pictured myself in. I ended up participating in the youth academy for two years.

Pinole Police Youth Academy 2016:

The program consisted of 5 sessions each on Saturdays from 9am to 12pm at the Police Department. The things we learned ranged from an officers training to their salary, and what they do on an everyday basis. I was very interested to learn about all of the things an officer goes through.

Week one: This was mainly an orientation.We took a tour around the Police Department and the fire department. The Department is not that large but Pinole is not that large either so it’s understandable. During the tour,  I was given the opportunity to kill all of the T.V stereotypes about the police department that I have learned over the years.

Week two: The homicide Detectives came in. I was intrigued by the homicide Detectives because T.V shows are mostly focused around these types of crimes and officers. I learned a lot about what a Detective is supposed to do when they enter a crime scene. When officers come into a crime scene with a dead body they record the position, take notes of the blood on the floor, trace the evidence and LEAVE EVERYTHING ALONE so contamination does not happen. The Detectives also establish a pathway, and proceed cautiously when entering a crime scene. Detectives typically freeze the scene meaning that they take photographs, protect fragile evidence, and conduct a grid,zone and spiral search. Next they try to figure out what happened based on the evidence such as fingerprints and blood etc..There are actually many types of prints: Blood, dust and grease.

My favorite part of this academy was the on hands training all of the members were able to do.

Week three:  On October 31st 2016, we took a walk to Fernandez park and did an obstacle course, defense tactics, as well as the mile run.The obstacle course was meant to give us an insight on the type of environment you may encounter on the job, and what the Police Academy may look like. The obstacle course included: hopping over fences, going under poles, jumping over random things, and climbing over an approx. 6+ foot wall. The hardest one for me out of all of these was the wall.The wall was approximately 3 times as big as me, I was really intimidated by it. I am 5’2 and my upper body strength is not the best so there was no way I could pull myself up there and get over it. I tried to climb it at least 5 times, I failed every time I tried. At last with some help I was able to go over it and finish the course. The defense tactics were really helpful and informative. I learned how to: get out of a headlock, and how to defend myself enough to get out of a dangerous situation.

Week four: My second favorite part was driving all the way to concord to do a shooting and driving simulator.

Driving Simulation: The students were supposed to “drive” a car with the intent of catching a suspect. We were told the description of the suspected car and it was up to us to successfully pull this person over. During this simulation I learned that driving at a high speed is not easy and not for me. It was fun but I felt like I was being set up for failure. I failed many times and I don’t recall ever pulling the suspect over successfully.

Shooting Simulation: The shooting stimulation was really tricky. It felt pretty real. I was given four fake weapons: a gun, baton, pepper spray and a taser. Responding to a call was really scary because you really never know what will happen. You never know if the suspect is armed or not.It was really hard for me to predict if a weapon was necessary. If it was I had no idea which weapon I was supposed to use because it all happens really quick.

Pinole Police Youth Academy 2017:

I joined again my sophomore year (2017) and we pretty much did the same things. However, this time I came in with a different mindset. In 2016 I joined because I wanted to become an FBI agent, but in 2017 I no longer wanted to work for the FBI or Law Enforcement. In 2017 I joined because Law Enforcement was becoming a recurring theme in the news and it still is. The more I digged deep into many cases the more I developed a lot of questions regarding their training. That is mainly why I joined, I needed Law Enforcement to explain themselves to me and explain their training and why they do the things they do because many of the things that the media informs me of is unjustifiable. (like police brutality…etc). Of course I am aware that not every officer or P.D is the same but they do receive the same training.

Some of my questions were answered, some were not. This is why I am developing this 3 part series called “Law Enforcement”. In part 2 of this series I will be discussing a case that I came across and I will be targeting Law Enforcement’s training as well as interviewing an Officer from the Pinole Police Department. For part 3 I will be interviewing the same officer and some students to show why we need Student Resource Officers on campus.