Eyewitness news received an inside look at how Connecticut State Police recruits start their day.
The 126 Training Troop woke up at the crack of dawn at 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday to the sound of the trumpeted song Reveille, just like they do every morning.
They live inside so-called dorms at the State Training Police Academy in Meriden.
Once the 34 recruits get out of the bed, they go into the hallway, stand against the wall, and count out loud to make sure everyone is still there.
"There's a method to everything we do here and it's all for a very specific reason," said Lt. Robert Palmer, commanding officer, Connecticut State Police Academy. "Whether it's the position of attention, learning to stand up-right and communicate or attention to detail when making a bed. Very specific things like 45 degree angles and the expectation that they'll do it every time lends itself to 'hey, if I'm searching for a piece of evidence, I'm very methodical and I might find those little objects that might lead to breaking a case somewhere.'"
State Trooper Kelly Grant said it's all part of a 30 week program that includes classroom and physical training.
The recruits learn several subjects including motor vehicle and criminal law that will help them get through the training to become state troopers. They also learn crisis de-escalation techniques and ways to speak to people.
The recruits must then apply what they've learned outside. They drive cruisers in emergency situations, make traffic stops and build searches for suspects and victims.
"They take the assessment to get into the academy, and now that they're here, they have to take several throughout 30 weeks," Grant said.
According to Trooper Grant, the training is a huge change for the recruits and it consumes their lives.
"It is a lifestyle change," Grant said. "You make a commitment, you are committing fully to this program. It's not, 'I'm going to go to the academy and become a state trooper.' It's 'I'm going to become a state trooper.'"
It's a change that comes with sacrifices.
They're away from friends and families during the week.
"This is a life of service to the larger community and you may be called out in the middle of the night for a specific reason and you may think you may be getting off shift but you may not be because something happens," Palmer said.
On Tuesday morning, the recruits performed a physical fitness assessment, which they have to do in order to become hired at the end of the program.
Then the men and women will put on their uniforms.
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