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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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March 31, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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March 31, 2010
 

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7B Doing 360s in an out-of-use CliP car on a wet surface while an officer gives you drifting tips just isn't exciting enough, until you get two other cars going on the course at the same time. Participating in an intricate ceremony focused on cleaning the nameplates of fallen CHP officers seems to border upon a religious experience for young cadets. Witnessing the scene reduced a group of otherwise chatty reporters to silence and brought tears to many eyes. Photos by Joshua 5ebold FUN, from page 6B may be physically larger, will probably be at a dis- advantage because he isn't working out with the goal of performing quick bursts in close combat. Mental discipline The majority of the day for me was a series of reflections on the fact that I was getting the easy version of every task. When drill sergeants were screaming in my face or I messed up a marching cadence -- yes, CHP cadets do spend much of their time doing military-style discipline exercises -- I was enjoying myself. I was alternately trying not to laugh and attempting to follow the workout instruc- tors, but it wasn't the end of the world for me if I failed to succeed at either. In one instance, a female drill instructor was explain- ing one of my particular fail- ings in following the workout instructions, causing me to look into her eyes and attempt to listen to what she was saying to me. Most of us instinctually do this, we look at people while they talk to us, but CHP cadets are being trained to take in verbal commands while paying attention to other important stimuli, like the other instructor leading the exercise routine. When the woman yelling at me screamed, "Pay attention to the instructor, don't look at me, what are you, check- ing me out? Do you think I'm hot? This isn't a game," I was laughing uncontrollably, but a cadet who's future depends upon keeping a straight face and learning from this incident might be crying instead. My motivation to test myself by participating in the physical routine was separate from my mental state, which was finding all of it very entertaining. A cadet doesn't have the luxury of maintaining that level of cognitive dissonance. Cadets have to succeed in following orders; performing well in physical tasks and academic tests; conducting themselves in the expected manner; and resisting the significant forces of stress and fear of failure on about five hours of sleep each night. Failure is simply not an option for them, as most tests can only be repeated once before Uncle Sam decides a cadet is no longer worth the investment. Restraint and judgment I recognized a similar phe- nomenon when participating in a shooting exercise later in the day. We played what amounted to a big budget version of the arcade games where you point a plastic gun at a screen and identify the right targets to shoot. Those games usually func- tion on the simple level of "blast the aliens, but not the attractive women." This one was a little subtler, with guns that had a realistic weight but still no recoil or "kick," and situa- tions where you had to think a little more about who was a dangerous suspect and who wasn't. The game was relatively simple for someone who's played the amount of video games that most males my age have. My friends will tell you with my poor vision I can barely read the scoreboard when watching a football game on TV, but my hand-eye coordination from years of video games made it pretty easy for me to hit every suspect multiple times before he hit the ground, even though I've never held a real handgun before. The real difference be- tween this simulation and a real scenario was that I didn't have to tell a judge why I decided that shooting my suspect twice after he was already falling to the ground wasn't enough and I felt the need to hit him with a fourth round as he was leaving my field of vision. Your average person playing this type of game just wants to make sure he hits the target. Restraint doesn't really factor into the equation. I also didn't have to count my rounds, reload or antici- pate whether or not force would be necessary. Our instructor kept giving my partner and me trouble for the fact that we pulled our guns out the instant we saw a suspect every time a new simulation began. The fact we walked into a room, faced a computer screen, and strapped guns on told us we were going to be using our guns in this exercise. Real cadets have to act like cops when doing this exercise, keeping their guns at their sides until the situa- tion warrants the use of lethal force. I would hope they also have scenarios mixed in where you aren't supposed to fire a single shot and they just gave us only shooting ones to keep it fun. Not all fun and games Probably the most exciting event of the day was when we got to the "skid pan," basi- cally a "drifting" exercise where officers learn to main- tain a controlled slide on a wet track. I was surprised to see three CHP cars active on the same course at the same time, and I was slightly more interested by the fact that the instruc- tors let three media members drive on the course at the same time: no permission forms or proof of insurance necessary. Doing 360s, S-curves and drifting in general in a CHP car while two other reporters were on the same course was more fun than anything I ever anticipated doing in this job, I must admit; but once again I didn't have the added pressure of only getting four sessions on the course to prove my aptitude or get ex- pelled, the way a cadet would. I also assume most cadets don't have much experience driving in the snow, which greatly sped up my learning curve. The primary theme of the day for me was, "even if you think shooting, driving and fighting aren't hard, doing them in a controlled manner that won't get you sued, fired or killed is." The final event of the day, when we watched a rigorous and precise ceremony in which cadets marched into a circle of honor, polished name plates commemorating the sacrifices of fallen offi- cers, saluted and marched out, drove the point home that our time at the academy was essentially one big game, while the experience for cadets is literally a matter of dedicating their lives to the cause. 1De00. 0000o0000QUINCY FORD JEEp. Do00eE. CH00V00;I,rR Small Dealership ... J ots of Horse; Power!! Hop on in for some Easter Savmgs r. 2010 FORD FUSION SPORT AWD 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the YearZ Loaded! Reverse sensor, V-6, auto, AC, PS, PB, PW, PL, PSeats, tilt, cruise, multi-CD, leather, .... 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