Truckee police recruits awaiting academy graduation
[Editor’s note: This is the second in a series profiling two of Truckee’s newest police officers as they complete their training and join the Truckee Police Department.]
Fifteen weeks into their five-month training program at the Yuba College police academy in Marysville, Truckee Police Department officers-to-be Joshua Akright and Jeff Safford are eagerly awaiting their May 26 graduation day.
But before that day comes, the two recruits will have to endure six more weeks apart from their families and a barrage of physical and mental tests at the academy before they are ready to walk the beat in Truckee.
The next major challenge for the two men will be completing a series of 13 mock scenarios designed to test their policing instincts and how well their training has sunk in.
“It’s just a matter of putting everything that we’ve learned into practical use, putting it all together into one scenario,” Safford said. “And the thing they constantly pound into us is that when we’re placed into that real-life situation, or even a scenario situation, your training is going to kick in. No matter what is going on, your training will kick in. And I don’t doubt for a minute that that is going to happen.”
Both Safford and Akright are anxious to start the scenarios because they represent the last major hurdle before becoming officers in Truckee.
“We’re looking forward to the scenarios because once we get through that it’s almost graduation,” Akright said. “And once we graduate we hit the road and start working and put all our training into use. I know that’s what I’m looking forward to, graduation, so I can just get on the road.”
So far, the two Truckee PD recruits have done well at the Yuba academy. In recent weeks they have focused on report writing, firearms training and how to deal with domestic violence and drug issues within a community.
In addition, the physical training regimen has been intense; however, both men feel that they have become accustomed to the hard work and long hours, and they are doing their best to represent themselves and the Truckee PD favorably.
“The department has an expectation of us, and we want to make sure we meet that expectation level,” Safford said. “We want to make sure we clear the path for people who do this in the future, because really, this program of sending potential trainees to the academy probably hinges a lot on how we do through this … So it’s a big responsibility, and so far so good.”
Akright agreed that he felt pressure to succeed, but was pleased to know that he and Safford already had jobs awaiting them after graduation.
“Definitely it puts your mind at ease. Because you know that as soon as you graduate, they’re talking about two or three days after we graduate we’re getting sworn in. And then we’re on the street,” he said.
With graduation only six weeks away, both men are anxious to be able to get back to living at home full time.
Akright and his wife have recently found a house in Reno for their family, and he plans to make the commute up to Truckee when his time at the academy is done.
Both recruits still find being away from home to be the most difficult part of their training.
“The routine is there, but it’s still hard being away,” Safford said. “I have two saved voicemails on my cell phone Ð one from each of my daughters who called and left messages for me Ð and I saved them just so I can listen to their voices when I want to at school. At times it’s harder than others, but I couldn’t be doing this without my wife’s support and my family’s support, so I owe them a lot for going through this. I’m sure it’s been more difficult on them than it has been on me.”
Safford and Akright make up the final piece of an ambitious officer recruitment program put in place by the Truckee Police Department. According to Chief Scott Berry, the two recruits represent the final officers needed to bring the department up to a full staffing level and allow the department to better serve the town.
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