Top 7 Things I’ve Learned in my Police Academy Class So Far

While work has taken over my life lately, I have to report that the Citizen Police Academy is pretty much the highlight of my week right now. A lot of people are asking exactly what we are doing or learning about, so here’s a list of the most important things to know.

Top 7 Things I Have Learned in my Police Academy Class So Far

1. K-9 unit dogs don’t have to be K-9’s. In fact, they prefer lab mixes because they are easier to train, and they often choose dogs that have been rescued as strays.

2. Some police officers (gang unit, I’m talking to you) are complete racist jerks. Really. We were told, “If you see a group of black guys or Hispanic guys hanging out together, you should probably call that in.” Like, seriously?! Um white people are in gangs, too. Especially white people who listen to Insane Clown Posse.

3. The SWAT officers get to blow stuff up for fun, and they don’t break down doors like on TV (shocker). Actually, they painstakingly collect information and plan their entries sometimes weeks before an entry. So that scene in Point Break where they bust in on the drug dealers? It’s all Hollywood.

4. Homeless people also live on water. Yep. Apparently all the ridiculous things that come with poverty on land can also be put on a boat. There are about 40 transient boat groups on the Columbia/Willamette right now, and the officers deal with these people daily: domestic violence, drug abuse, fighting, etc.

5. The River Patrol recovers approximately 50 bodies a year, mostly suicides. Sometimes the bodies are a day old, sometimes months. Although flesh may be decayed, their bones and joints pretty much stay intact.

6. Speaking of body recoveries, the “busy season” for body recoveries is Fleet Week here in Portland. Those big Navy boats disturb a lot of the sediment and naturally some bodies come with it.

7. The River Patrol officers are pretty rad. Instead of being hard asses (gang unit, I’m still talking to you), they joked around with us and even took pictures of us posing in front of their boats.


This coming week will be the Taser presentation, and I’m not going to lie: if they take volunteers, I would consider being tased (and I’ll do my best to remember to yell, “Tase me, bro!”). Soon after, I have my ride along where I scheduled myself for a Saturday night from 10pm – 2am. I’ll make sure to take some selfies of myself in the passenger seat.

2 thoughts on “Top 7 Things I’ve Learned in my Police Academy Class So Far

    • I know! It was really interesting! I would imagine homeless boat people happen a lot of places based on the way it was described. I would have let the officer talk my ear off but it was already so late and I was so tired. It would be a cool ride along in the summer.

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