Glad I checked the archives: Today — June 6, 2022, is the 10-year anniversary of my very first day as a cadet in Rio Hondo College Police Academy Class 2012-1
Back then I was but a lad of (cough) 48 years, daring to put what became a frustrating journalism career behind me and undertake a very much younger man’s endeavor in entering into the field of law enforcement.
In the months after leading up to June 6, 2012, I’d done my best to prepare mentally and physically. I dropped to 220 pounds (10 pounds lost of which was my hair that I hadn’t mowed in more than two years).
I studied codes both radio and penal, ethics, history, grappling and a wide range of law-enforcement scenarios. My new Glock and I got well-acquainted at a local range. I could run a mile in less than seven minutes, three miles in 25, crank out 30 damn good push-ups and 60 solid sit-ups, and a whole mess of (band-assisted) pull-ups.
But all that work wasn’t enough during that slow drive to Whittier for Day 1 to prevent me from questioning my resolve on what coincidentally was the anniversary of D-Day in which in my own small way I was advancing nervously into foreign territory not all that confident I could survive the ordeal.
I don’t think I passed a single offramp the length of the eastbound 60 Freeway from the 101 to the 605 that the doubting devil in me didn’t say was an opportunity to save me from making myself a fool. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t listen, give in and get off at Garfield Avenue.
But I fought the fear and instead of turning tail back west I got going east with my impromptu battle cry as I got back on the freeway being something like “Man the fuck up and let us go see what happens!” And the devil and I did.
Fast-forward 13 months, and having successfully avoided/overcome the innumerable hurdles that DQ’d more than half of my fellow cadets, I stood on stage with the other Class 2012-1 graduates, one of the proudest achievements in my life. But that’ll be an anniversary I recall next year.
P.S. I was not kidding about my hair: