Inside the Academy: Tustin PD recruits tackle month 1


Adapt and stay focused.

That seems the running theme for the Tustin Police Department’s three recruits making their way through the academy at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy.

“You just have to find a way to overcome the challenges and stay focused on the long-term goal and that is, to become a police officer, serve my community and be a good example to my community,” said recruit David Valencia.

For eight hours a day, recruits are inundated with information that they will later be tested and re-tested on.

The first four weeks cover everything from learning about firearms and chemical agents, to introduction into arrest and control and a first overview of how the criminal justice system works.

Then there’s the physical training — two hours a day, every day.

So far, six peopled couldn’t handle the pressure and the class dropped from 52 to 46 recruits.

“The first weeks at the academy have been both physically and mentally challenging,” said recruit Leah Barrett. “Between the classroom atmosphere and learning new material, to the physical aspects of the academy, I have been working on finding the best way to prepare myself for each day.”

When the day ends, their work is not over, added recruit Ismael Aurelus.

“I’ll stay up to midnight just studying,” he said. “You have to give 110 percent to this academy because if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll fail out.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel. A little bit. Not much. We have five months to go.”

Aurelus said he focuses on the end goal when it gets tough.

“I’m just trying to make my department and family proud,” he said. “I’ve been real grateful to be here.

“Next thing you know, I’ll be 10-8 with Tustin PD.”

To read more about the recruits, check out the first story in the series HERE.