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Earning The Badge: An inside look of what it takes to become a police officer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - With tense law enforcement and community relations across the country, it seems there has never been a more dangerous time to be a police officer in America.

Line of duty deaths have increased sharply, with a 56 percent increase in shooting deaths, including ambush attacks.

NewsChannel 9’s Christie Casciano shows us how the current climate is now being addressed at the Central New York Regional Law Enforcement Academy, with an exclusive look at how future officers are earning the badge. 

The academy starts out with 28 weeks of training in a classroom-like setting to help them understand the laws they’ll uphold. A messier part of the training— getting pepper sprayed while doing a variety of tasks.

The recruits are constantly pushed.

“Just by pushing them, they can get through, they are going to feel the pain, they are going to feel the anxiety and that conflict, but they are going to have to push through that, and still perform their duties,” said Matt Bucci, a defensive tactics instructor at the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.

Every situation, physical task, every threat they face in the academy, may one day be a real threat they will face on a job with plenty of public scrutiny.

“The job is getting harder. People look at police and we're supposed to get the job done, do it quickly, efficiently— and at the same time, we're not supposed to hurt anyone,” said deputy Matthew Getman, a martial arts instructor.

Controversial choke holds, or any move that restricts a person's breathing during arrests are not taught in this academy.  Instead, techniques such as a firm grip, grabbing an arm and wristlocks, and even pain compliance are the preferred takedown methods.

“The more tools we give our people, we provide them with the ability to identify various issues whether they're at risk issues, whether they're at risk, whether it's an approach technique to keep them safe. Keep the community safe and at times, also includes the suspects they may apprehend,” said Lieutenant John D’Eredita, a police academy supervisor.

Onondaga Community For the first time, they're training future police officers with future custody and civil deputies.

Even fire departments are pitching in— North Syracuse, Onondaga Hill and Solvay are providing housing for seven recruits from outside agencies, saving the recruits and their departments on overtime and lodging costs. 

Click here to learn more about the exam.

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