The Police Academy movies have taught us you can get away with anything while becoming an officer – with a quick wit, some wicked sound effects and the ability to give up 16 hours of your life!
But while many of us think we know what happens at Glen Waverly’s Victorian Police Academy, the reality isn’t crazy superintendents or whacky ‘80s hijinks.
So before you enrol in CAE’s Police Entry – Occupational Preparatory Course – and start the process of beginning your new career – we’ve put together five facts about our very own Police Academy.
The Police Academy Is Like a Very Serious High School
The academy boasts about 700 students per year who are put through 31 weeks of intense study. And, by intense we mean intense. Classes start at 7:30am on the dot and a normal day goes through until 4:10pm.
Every Monday, recruits are out on parade where a superintendent inspects uniforms. There’s no creases allowed, no lint and for the guys, definitely no facial hair… more on that later.
The Average Age of Recruits Is 30
In times past, the average age of recruits was 21. They were also predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon males. Fast forward to 2017 and it’s a much more even mix of male and female recruits, with many people joining the force after doing other careers.
“These days now we attract a far more experienced, mature-age person,” said chief trainer Assistant Commissioner Kevin Casey on 3AW radio in June 2017. “So even though that average age is about 30, for the females, it’s about 34 years of age.”
Expect a Tough Week 9
Week 9 is firearms or gun week and is one of the most stressful weeks of the entire course. Recruits fire off about 1,000 rounds as they learn how to use their weapon. If you don’t pass gun week, you don’t continue with the rest of the course.
To Beard or Not To Beard?
The answer is not to beard… or ponytail for that matter. In December 2011, former Victorian Chief Commissioner Ken Lay decided he didn’t really like male officers with facial hair or ponytails and set about changing Victorian police uniform standards.
The decision led to 16 officers taking the Battle of the Beard all the way to the Supreme Court in a legal fight that lasted almost three-and-a-half years. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld a tribunal decision that found the force’s policy was not discriminatory in May 2015. There are cultural and medical exemptions to this but still, when the superintendent looks for facial hair on the parade ground, he means business!
Week 12 Sees a Pay Rise
Right from the word go, students are paid for attending the Police Academy. The base rate is $47,686 from Day 1 but in Week 12, recruits are sworn in as they go out to learn in the community. From then, the base salary jumps to $65,510.
Without a doubt, the police academy is a tough gig but along with the pay, it also offers the chance to learn and be part of a team with many people making life-long friendships along the way. And, to boost your chances of making it there, don’t forget to check out CAE’s Police Entry – Occupational Preparatory Course this February. A little edge may just go a long way.