We are following recruits on their journeys to become Tucson police officers, diving into what they see and feel along the way.

Behind the Badge, the series:

Behind the Badge: TPD Recruits take on intense training

Behind the Badge: Recruits’ training stresses teamwork, accountability

Behind the Badge: How TPD recruits train for suspects violently resisting arrest

Weeks nine and 10 of the recruits’ 24-week training featured a whole new kind of driver’s ed.

Recruits drive police cruisers through practice courses outlined by traffic cones, simulating situational challenges they could find behind the wheel as a police officer.

Those scenarios include quickly reversing from a threat and then swerving behind cover, as well as weaving through all kinds of traffic.

But recruits tell KGUN they are re-learning even the most basic concepts of driving.

Man, you think you know how to drive until you come out here and they teach you something else,” said recruit Joaquin Martinez. “A completely different skillset than you thought you knew.

You honestly start like youre back at 15 years old, learning how to drive,” said recruit Alexanda Corrales. “You get used to all these bad habits so you really need to make sure that, God forbid, you are in an accident, you are the safest position and then youre not causing any accidents.

Martinez also spoke to the idea of removing bad habits that everyday drivers can adapt.

You get used to driving one-handed, very relaxed,” he said. “But here, its ‘shuffle steering.’ Everythings ‘shuffle steering’… Both hands are always on the steering wheel. Youre never taking them away Once you get used to it, it makes everything amazing.

Everything you learn, from feathering the brake, to how you steer, to where youre looking, everything is new and everything you have to adjust to be, in this specific driving to be a police officer,” Corrales added.

TPD is currently looking for recruits for its September Academy. The application closes May 8.



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