Academy Instructor: Guardian of the Gate

On graduation day, it is with tremendous pride and sense of accomplishment that the Law Enforcement Academy Instructor allows those few qualified graduates to begin their journey into our world


The title of Law Enforcement Academy Instructor comes with an immense amount of commitment and responsibility. The title should not be taken lightly nor should it be given without serious deliberation. The Law Enforcement Academy Instructor has been entrusted to ensure that only those that are worthy of passing through the gates enter into the profession.

The Law Enforcement Academy Instructor is the Guardian of the Gate.

They should not view this responsibility as one to target recruits for removal from the academy. The Law Enforcement Academy Instructor that feels the need to “wash out” a recruit or to be the “ax man” misunderstands their role. The role is more properly described as a teacher and mentor. Those recruits that are not worthy to join our profession will not be able to pass the identified standards and will fall from the class on their own.

Our Ultimate Loyalty
Our profession has identified standards that must be met. The Law Enforcement Academy Instructor must hold recruits accountable to the identified standards and insist that the recruits perform to the standards. Allowing a recruit to pass through at performance levels that do not meet the standards is a disservice to the recruit and may put that recruit in extreme dangers under the stress of the real world we work in.

The Guardian of the Gate understands the standards that a recruit must meet and holds the recruit accountable. Holding recruits accountable may not make the Law Enforcement Academy Instructor popular with some recruits. This is necessary because our ultimate loyalty must remain with the profession and not to the individual recruit, or their feelings. As the Guardian of the Gate, it is easy to view the responsibility as one to protect the recruit, our brothers and sisters already in the field, and the citizens we are sworn to serve.

Behind the gate is the profession of law enforcement. It can be an uncertain and dangerous world where the recruit may face physical, emotional or financial risk if they are unprepared. We work in a stressful world — the academy process is designed to test the recruit to insure he/she can operate to the identified standards under stress conditions. The recruit that is not physically, mentally and emotionally ready to pass through the gate is a danger to him/herself.

The Guardian of the Gate must not allow this to happen for the safety of the recruit.

Our brother and sister officers that are already in the field deserve to know that we will guard them as well. They are a part of our law enforcement family and deserve to be protected to our best ability. The recruit that is not physically, mentally and emotionally ready to pass through the gate is a danger to these fellow officers that we work with on a daily basis. The Guardian of the Gate must not allow this to happen for the safety of our brother and sister officers.

We are professional law enforcement officers, sworn to protect the citizens we serve. These people deserve to be policed by only those recruits that have proven they are ready to pass through the gate. The recruit that is not physically, mentally and emotionally ready to pass through the gate is a danger to the citizens we serve. The Guardian of the Gate must not allow this to happen for the safety of the citizens we serve.

On graduation day, it is with tremendous pride and sense of accomplishment that the Law Enforcement Academy Instructor opens the gate and allows those few qualified graduates to enter through the gates to begin their journey into our world. To the best of our ability, we have prepared them to protect themselves, our brother and sister officers, and the citizens we serve.

About the author

Ed Flosi is a retired police sergeant in San Jose (Calif.). He has been in law enforcement for more than 27 years. Ed has a unique combination of academic background and practical real world experience including patrol, special operations and investigations. Ed was the lead instructor for use-of-force training, as well as defense and arrest tactics for the San Jose Police Department. He has been retained in several cases to provide testimony in cases when an officer was alleged to have used excessive force. He has assisted the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) in providing expertise on several occasions related to use-of-force training. He has a Master of Science degree from California State University Long Beach and holds an Adult Learning Teaching Credential from the State of California. He teaches in the Administration of Justice Department at West Valley College.  He is currently the Principle Instructor for PROELIA Defense and Arrest Tactics.

Contact Ed Flosi.

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