Q. What is the Academy like? A. Physically, it is not quite as tough as Marine Corps Boot Camp. You will not get the mind games that you get in boot camp, but you will be challenged mentally by the course work. As one trainee agent once stated, "It's like college with a purpose." You have to learn Spanish while you are there if you are not already fluent. Native speakers get basically the same course as everyone else. This is subject to change as the academy is looking at eliminating the Spanish portion for those who can test out.
You will be physically conditioned; you will learn police science; you will push yourself to the limits of endurance. You will learn to use a firearm and become proficient in its use. It will become molded to your body and if and when the time comes, you will be ready. You will attain driving skills similar to those of a professional race car driver. You will become intimately familiar with Immigration Law.
Many prospective applicants write asking if such and such a height and weight will be OK to enter the academy. If you have to ask, you should probably start a PT program right now. A quote from an trainee who is about half way through the Academy: "A word of advice you may pass on to those who inquire is that it is very important that they are in good physical shape PRIOR to reporting for duty. I've seen too many people there who have to struggle that much harder in order to pass one of the easiest things to pass (that being PT). I believe the right shape and proper attitude are essential ingredients to success at the academy."
Your time after work is your own. This is not boot camp! When the day is over, while you are expected to complete homework, what you do on your own time is your decision. There will be times during the academy training that you will be expected to work at night. Food and lodging is provided at no cost to you. Did I mention the maid service?
Last year some courses were cut out of the curriculum as it was felt that they could be presented in a computer based learning format (ie, FLETC courses). This changed the Academy from 91 days to 81 days.
The Academy is on a 55 day program. Spanish is dropped from the first part of the curriculum. Instead a Tasked Based Language course has been developed for those who need to become functionally fluent in Spanish. A test will be administered at the Academy to see who needs to attend that five week course. Those who show fluency in Spanish will be released back to their station after successful completion of the 55 day program.
The PT change on the C-Course is that the horizontal rope has been lowered two feet. Since the majority of that obstacle is crossing it, not dropping off of it, the change is fairly moot. Too many injuries were being attributed to either falling or landing improperly.
Q. Is e-mail and/or internet access available to students at the FLETC? A. Yes, internet accessible computers are available in the student center
There is also a commercial Internet provider that you can purchase for the time you will be at the academy. This is a wireless setup and you can use the service in your dorm room.
You may also access your personal e-mail or internet account from the dorm room phone line. To do so, you must have your own computer and be able to access your Internet Service Provider (ISP) either by a local (Artesia, NM) phone number or by using a toll free number provided by the ISP. Cell phone cards are available from some providers that slide into the card slot of your laptop. You can use your computer for internet anywhere you can hit a cell tower.
Where in the world is Artesia, NM?
Artesia is 40 miles south of Roswell – the Alien Capital of the World! - and 25 miles north of Carlsbad, home of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Do the dorm rooms have phones? Yes, all of our dorm rooms have telephones! We are very proud to say they also have televisions with cable and remote controls. Just like home! Or at least close!
What is the weather like in Artesia? Artesia has a wide-range of temperature fluctuations. Summers are warm, 90+, but with very low humidity. Evenings, even in the summer, can drop in the 50’s. Winters are fairly mild, average temperatures in the daytime between 40-50, but it can snow! Spring winds can be a problem, but survivable.
What is there to do in Artesia during off-duty time? Artesia is a small community, population 10,000, but because of its location, there are many wonderful sites to see. The mountains are an hour’s drive east, Carlsbad Caverns half-hour to the south, and shopping north to Roswell and the Alien Museum. Check out ourArtesia FLETC home page for more information. The Center does provide shuttle bus service nightly to downtown for movies and shopping.
Q. I am a little concerned about the PT at the Academy. Should I be? A. Yes. Below is a post that I copied from the message board that pretty well describes what you should be doing to get ready: First the run is 13 minutes or less. PT sessions last for two hours. You will do it every other day starting your second week, then every day after week nine. If you wanna get ready this is what you need to do. Now don't get all freaked out by this, just start and give it a honest effort. Here goes.....You're gonna get suited out and go into a mat room, there you will do maybe ten minutes of stretching. Then you're gonna do sit-ups, no set number. My suggestion is to be able to do thirty to forty with ease. When you do them, do them until you cannot get off the ground again, not until you get lazy. Sometimes you will do 4 counts, sometimes diamonds where your hands are together under your chest in a diamond pattern (close together) and some times you will do (I'm not joking here) knuckles, where you do pushups on your knuckles. All of these will be done in the following manner...all the way up, all the way down to within one fist of the mat. When you can't do any more get on your back and do crunches (don't put your knees on the ground during transition, or ever for that matter) until you cant do anymore, not until you get lazy. My suggestion 200, and keep your head off the mat. Its not a pillow! Then back to pushups, select a different form, diamonds, four count military (if you don't know ask someone who can show you) wide stance, knuckles, until exhausted. Back to sit-ups, knee rock backs, leg lifts or some other kind of ab work out. You get to where you can do this for 45 minutes straight then you will have the mat room down. Then you get a drink and run. We went on runs that were over 4 miles. Not often but they happened. My suggestion....Be able to run 4 miles nonstop, don't worry about the time but don't walk! Never walk unless you've already passed out or if you think you need medical assistance. Then you will finish off when you get back with 10 4-count pushups (which is really 20) or pull ups. After 9 weeks you may catch a break here and there and do the weight room instead of running depending on your instructors. Then you're gonna run in and take a two minute helicopter shower (run in, twirl around and run out) and then try to change with 50 other guys in a room the size of a McDonald's dining area. Ok? That's the routine in a nut shell. This may be just a little more that will be required but better to be a leg up. You know what to do which is more than we had so go do it. If you think I'm full of BS then don't do it, I don't care. But if you chose to wait for the academy because you don't feel like doing it now, or you can't believe what you've read, then just do me one favor...Think of this post on your first day of PT. I took the time to post this and you all have the time to do it, don't let it go to waste! You are gonna have enough academics to review at night without having to go to PT remedials. If you think this all sounds too hard to do now wait till you get to the academy and have Spanish and law heaped on your plate. Q. Do I get paid while at the Academy? A. Yes. You receive full pay while at the Academy. In addition to your GS-5 (or GS-7 or 9, depending on qualifications) pay, you also receive a small amount of per diem ($5) to cover the costs of incidental expenses. Q. What should I wear while awaiting uniforms at the academy? A. You may wear clean, neat conservative attire, shirts must have a collar. Jeans are prohibited for on duty wear. Trousers similar to Dockers are preferred. Suits and ties are not required. Currently, generic uniforms are being issued for your use while waiting for uniforms. Q. Will we get any time off between the academy and our duty station? A. You will be given the opportunity to apply for leave toward the end of training. You will probably accumulate about 40 hours (one week) of leave during training. Add to this your two days off on both ends and you can be off for about nine days before going to work. For you folks who have served in the military, your two days off each week are not deducted from your leave balance. Example: If you have Sunday and Saturday off (work week is Sun - Sat) you can request Monday through Friday as leave days and be off a total of nine days. Q. How much money do I need to bring with me when I report for duty? A. Another difficult question to answer. This depends a lot on you, but at a minimum, plan for three days of hotel room cost (be sure to request the government rate), plus food and transportation. You should bring about $300 more for incidentals. You will be issued uniforms to wear during training. After you report for duty, you are given $1000 initially for uniforms in the form of credits to be applied to your account. Sorry, no cash. All uniforms are purchased from a contract provider. Q. Where is the Academy? A. The Academy is located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Artesia, NM. Q. Can I bring my car to the Academy? What about my wife/husband/kids? A. You can bring your car to Artesia, but parking may be at a premium, so this could change at any time. Your off duty hours will be consumed by study and the distractions of a family life prove to be too much for most trainees. Rentals for your family are almost impossible to find. A car tends to be another distraction since all of your classmates want to go here and there and guess who drives? Getting the car there is also a major problem since you MUST travel by government transport from your O.S. A better solution is to rent a car on weekends if you would like to tour the area. There are quite a few entertainment options, such as Roswell (Alien Capital, USA) NM, Carlsbad Caverns, Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino and Resort, and Cloudcroft, NM. Q. Do the trainees who are at the Academy have any advice for those of us who are just getting started? A. Start getting in shape NOW, even if you THINK you are in pretty good condition, especially running and upper body. Travel light. You don't have a lot of storage space in your room. Prepare yourself mentally for a challenge. There might be a place to hook up your modem, and you probably WILL have a phone in your room. A computer will be handy if you have one but they are available there. Word for Windows would make it even better. Bring the best running shoes you can afford, and two pair would be even better to alternate. You will be issued a combo backpack/camelbak to carry your goodies at the academy. You must use this and only this item to tote your stuff.
Boots: You must wear issued tan Danners. Your ostrich skin pointy toed bull riders ain't gonna get it.
These are items mentioned by a BPA(t)'s wife who visited him at the Academy:
Court shoes are NOT a requirement.
A couple of changes of clothes - must be slacks or khaki's with button down shirts or polo type shirts, everything must be neat. NO SHORTS IN CLASS. You won't need these clothes as much once you get your uniform to wear everyday in class. It will take about 4 weeks for you to be in your BP uniform in class. You will get a generic FLETC uniform to wear while waiting for your BP greens.
Lounge clothes. After 4:30 p.m. it's your time, you can wear pretty much what you want.
Index cards - about 4 packs (also WalMart)
Laundry soap, fabric softener (can be bought locally).
Iron, unless you want to pay around $8.00 a week for laundry and pressing.
Plus any other miscellaneous personal items you can not live without.
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