Cadets in the Del Mar Regional Police Academy must meet an extensive list of training requirements, which leads to them being in high demand.
“Del Mar attracts a lot of other recruiting departments” including San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Alice and Sinton, said Stanley Repka, who directs the academy.
Among the resources available to students is a simulator that allows them to practice 500 scenarios they may come across in the field. The simulator is a $50,000 program run by instructor Chuck Carpenter. The cadet in the simulator has to make the choice to shoot or not to shoot. He/she must also decide how to deescalate a situation by talking down a person of potential threat.
Sgt. Joe Garcia talks to cadets about traffic accident scenarios.
“After the exercise is over the cadet then must be briefed,” Carpenter said. “He/she is required to support their decision by using previous court cases or the Texas Penal Code Chapter 9.”
Just 25 students are selected for each academy, which leads to more one-on-one time with instructors. It also makes for a tough selection process.
To be considered for the academy students must register, then fill out and submit their training application packet. After being reviewed, the potential cadet is interviewed by Repka and Davis Merrell. A physical exam, psychological exam, fingerprint test, clean driving record and background check must be successfully passed by the individual.
The cadets are tested in seven areas on a pass/fail basis, including rearms (pistol and shotgun), driving, defense tactics, field sobriety, CPR/ first aid, traffic investigation and a written exam.
They are given traffic accident scenes that are set up by their instructor, Sgt. Joe Garcia with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. They must work in groups to investigate the accident and find the right course of action to take.
There are four major written exams that must be passed with 85 percent or higher to take the final. After passing the state exam, the cadet goes on to graduate the academy. Most recruiters interview the graduating officers on site during graduation. These officers will be on their journey to helping and serving the public.
“Today is about helping the community,”Repka said.
Repka worked for the Corpus Christi Police Department in 1972 and retired in 2010 from Nueces County Sherriff ’s Department at rank of captain. In 2010 he became a tenured instructor and in 2011 the director of the Del Mar Regional Police Academy. He offers cadets the following advice about being an officer: “It is not like TV or the movies.”
The academy at West Campus offers interested students four sessions per year. It is located on the second floor of the Public Safety Building and can be reached at 361-698-1706.
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