My eagerness to enter the academy awakened me early on the first day. I had shaved my head afresh the day before, so no one could tell the color of my hair, and I didn't want the nickname of "Curly-Locks", which I had in High School until I had to forcibly stop them from calling me, at least to my face.
We would be issued uniforms when we completed our four weeks of training. Extra uniforms we had to purchase from our own funds.
Jackson teased me about my nervousness, then said, "Don't worry, Slick! You'll do just fine. Just keep your head on straight and don't let anything or anyone rattle you. I think there may be several young men in there in the same boat as you; they'll be just out of the military, looking for a future."
We went to Mama's for breakfast and then we headed for the police station. I had found out the academy training took place in a building nearby the station. We were able to travel together to work each day.
"I'll meet you for lunch when you all get out of class around noon," he told me. "Keep cool!"
I waved him a good-by, then headed next door to the building marked "Police Academy".
It looked like I might be the first one there, so I went in and realized there was already someone there. He was smoking a cigarette and standing near a window, looking out. Ah, he had on a uniform, so I knew he wasn't a student, and must be the instructor.
I had put on my Yankee's cap to cover my head. At my entrance the instructor turned and looked me over.
"Hello, sir! Zebulon O'Hanlon reporting for class!" I held out my hand, expecting a handshake. There was none forthcoming, so I dropped it.
"Eager beaver, eh? Well, we'll see how eager you are about four weeks from now."
UH, oh, one of those guys. Well, I figured I had had one of the toughest D.I's in the U.S. Army, so I knew how to deal with this one. I wondered if he had been in the military.
I just nodded my head, and took a seat, waiting for the others to come. It was good to get the lay of the land early, so to speak. I knew now how I had to be to deal with this instructor. For one thing, I figured Jackson would know him, and could clue me in on what I hadn't found out for myself.
It wasn't long before others began drifting in one by one, some a couple at a time. All in all, we had about ten new recruits.
The instructor began...
"All right, men. My name is Captain Charles Wintermeyer. I am your instructor for the next four weeks. You will receive training in the use of firearms, both revolvers and shotguns; how to make an arrest, control of prisoners, use of batons, driving procedures, pursuit techniques, operation of emergency vehicles, delivering babies, and what each code means.
Some of you will no doubt wash out, unless you follow instructions to the letter. Any questions?"
"No? Okay, roll call. Please answer when I call your name."
(To be continued)