Here's the Readers' Digest Condensed Version about the police academy. In a nutshell, I took the test, passed (with flying colors, of course! haha!) had the background check, the psych testing, drug testing, the whole shebang. Like I said, I trained that whole summer (with two of my cousins who are cops) to do the physical part, and had it down without a problem. Best shape of my life, I tell ya! The night before I was supposed to start the academy, I made the last-minute decision to not do it because I gave in to the "Mommy guilt." My son sobbed and sobbed, asking me not to do it. His reasoning, which was quite valid for a 6 year-old, was, "If you become a police officer, I'll never see you, just like I never see Daddy!" You may recall that the CSJ was a Chicago cop. He used to work afternoons, so he didn't see his dad very much (which was just FINE with me, quite frankly!)
A funny side note about this whole thing - I made a friend of mine take the test with me just to keep me company at the "open testing." We both passed, and then did all the next steps, but I dropped out and he went on to become an officer. Until I asked him to keep me company that day, he never once thought about becoming a police officer. We women can be pretty persuasive, can't we? ;-)
I don't know if I ever mentioned that many members of my family are police officers, and subsequently, many, many of my friends are police officers. My uncle, who is a captain in the department, bugged me all the time to take the test. I always joke about how I already completed the academy at least 4 times because I helped him through it when he was there (nearly 25 years ago!) by doing ALL of his assignments, typing ALL of his papers, making his code books (as well as about 20 more for all his friends) and keeping his uniforms in order. Keep in mind that I was 16 years old at the time. Then, obviously, I helped CSJ, too. I used to hold a study group at our apartment every Sunday, and 8-12 of the people in his class would come over to study. I would read the books during the week, make notes, etc., and then hold class. That's when I started thinking about a career in the department. I decided it might be fun to teach at the academy. After my ex graduated, two of my cousins went through the academy, and naturally I helped them, as well. So, like I said, I've been through it at least 4 times!
My plan was to graduate, do my time on the streets (probably 2 years) then have my uncle use his pull to get me a job at the academy. He actually worked at the academy for a number of years before he became a captain, so I figured it wouldn't be too difficult for him to set things up for me. And, if that didn't work, I figured I would just work for him. Captains get to have their own "assistants" and drivers, who are officers, but only work for the captain. How sweet would that have been?
But, alas, I threw it all away because of my son's tears. Now I could kick myself for not just doing it, because I'd have 8 years on already. Even if I was working on the streets in the ghetto, I'd be better off than I am now, since I work in the ghetto everyday, without the comforts of a badge, vest or gun! More than likely, I'd be working some cushy desk job (don't hate, I'm just being honest!) definitely making more money, with better benefits, etc. Oh well... As my uncle keeps reminding me, it's not too late. There have been many tests given since I took the last one, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, he calls and tells me to take the test again! The age limit has been changed several times for the test, and at one point, I was too old to take it again, but now they've raised the cut-off to 40. So, if I took the test in the next 8 months, I'd still be ok. I've been seriously thinking about it lately, given how much I love my job these days. I'll keep you posted if anything develops...
And, just for the record, Smiley, they do just as extensive a background check for Chicago Public Schools as they do for the police academy!! Smart ass!