Once a potential police officer makes it through the background investigation, he or she is ready to go to work for the Londonderry Police Department. Most of the time though it is "not so fast." It may be weeks or even one or two months before an officer actually joins the Police Department. Most agencies require that the new hire, at a minimum complete the police academy prior to working full time. Most also require that the newly minted cop, certified by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, complete a lengthy field training program. OK, OK let's focus on one thing at a time.

There are generally three to four 12-week police training sessions per year. About a week prior to the beginning of the academy there is a physical test, which recruits must pass prior to entry into the Police Academy. Generally police agencies bring on the recruit several weeks to a year prior to that test. Prior to any training or orientation the recruit is sworn in as a police officer in New Hampshire, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the State of New Hampshire.

In smaller agencies, the officer can, prior to the academy and after some basic training, take on some of the responsibilities of a police officer. In the larger agencies, there is some basic training, firearms familiarization, uniform allocation and general orientation. Some agencies even complete their field training program prior to the academy. In all agencies for the new guy the apprehension builds as the first day of the academy approaches. She knows that it's a challenge for the recruit and for her family. At the end though will come the reward of completion.

Finally it's here. The first day. The recruit is ordered to be at the Police Academy at 0730 hours. He or she is told what to bring, the uniform of the day and generally how to act. What they are not told is how stressful that first day and the succeeding weeks will be. It's tough, you're required to complete 14 hours worth of tasks in an hour. Meanwhile the recruit trainers are "encouraging" the recruit in very clear language. All of a sudden that day is over; the recruit falls into a sound sleep only to be awoken well before dawn to begin it all again. It is an information crammed 12-week class. The recruit must maintain strong fitness levels throughout. For many, it is the best condition they have ever been in. They must endure rigorous academic training, master self-defense and firearms while learning how to be a police officer.

It goes by quickly; each day filled. All too soon it is one of those memories that grows better with time. Police training is capped by a graduation ceremony. The police officers, recruits no more, march into graduation, accept the congratulations of their family, the governor and the welcome of all of the law enforcement family. The newly issued police officers are now ready for field training.

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