Image courtesy of Mark DeMayo Image courtesy of Mark DeMayo
By Mark DeMayo

One of the comedy clubs where I perform regularly is called The Stand, and it’s located on 19th Street and 3rd Avenue… one block south of the NYPD’s Police Academy. What makes this interesting is that, after 20 years of service, I retired from the New York City Police Department to pursue my passion, stand-up comedy, full time.

I see the Police recruits in their gray uniform shirts all the time now, and it takes me right back to the days when I was a recruit in the Police Academy. I know exactly how they feel. I know how heavy their book bags are; how much most of them hate wearing that Blue French Army Academy hat; how much their commute into the City sucks; how much they fear being chastised by the Police Academy Instructors. But most of all, I know how anxious they are to graduate so they can “hit the streets” and “fight crime”… and that’s how I differed from my classmates back in the day: I loved the Police Academy and didn’t want to leave!

The NYPD’s Police Academy is six months of intense training and I enjoyed every second of it. I could’ve stayed for another six months or even a year. I was like Ryan Reynolds in Van Wilder. I never wanted to graduate. I was having too much fun.

I was in Company 92-55, with thirty great people. We were trapped in the Police Academy bubble out of harm’s way and New York City was paying us…TO GO TO SCHOOL! Sure, the academic portion of the academy was a drag, but it wasn’t hard. We were studying Police Science, not Rocket Science. If you paid attention during class and crammed the night before the test, you could pass. The rest of the stuff we were learning was great.

They gave us guns!  And the instructors taught us how to use them. They took us up to the Rodman’s Neck Shooting Range in The Bronx and, for two weeks, we practiced shooting and tactics every day until our fingers were blistered. We shot at stationary targets, moving targets; they even had a virtual reality machine that was way more intense than any video game you’ve ever played.

We learned how to drive police cruisers at high rates of speed at Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn. That was the most nerve-racking thing I ever did. Like ESPN’s X Games, the training was called EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator Course.) I don’t care how good of a driver you think you are, EVOC is challenging. The hairiest part is getting the cruiser up to 60 MPH and then barreling through a slalom of cones, with the turret lights and sirens blaring and using only the hand-over-hand method to navigate the cruiser. If you touch the brakes even once, you failed to qualify.

We had to take gym everyday — a mile-and-a-half run along the East River promenade — followed by calisthenics, and then self-defense classes, all with a Police Academy Instructor up our asses yelling at us like a military drill sergeant. Civilians pay tons of money for a personal trainer to put them through the workouts we were getting in the Police Academy. For a lot of us, it was the best shape we’d ever be in.

We went swimming — there’s a pool in the basement of the Police Academy and every recruit is taught how to swim and tread water properly. We were trained how to save someone from drowning and we were certified in CPR.

We took class trips! My favorite was to the morgue in the New York City’s Medical Examiners Office on 26th Street and 1st Avenue, where we had a chance to look at cadavers and watch an actual autopsy being performed.

We listened to lectures and got to meet Police officers and Detectives that worked on high profile cases like the Son of Sam.

And after each quarterly exam, all the recruits would go out partying together to let off some steam. Connolly’s Pub on West 45th,  Doc Watson’s on 2nd Avenue, McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village, and Jake’s Dilemma on Amsterdam Avenue were just some of the haunts we frequented.

The best part of all were the NYPD uniforms, better known as the “Blue Magnet” because of the way it attracts women!!! Some recruits actually met their future wives while they were still in the Academy.

For six months we spent almost every waking moment of the day together. We made fun of each other, got into arguments and fights with each other, and, at times, we might have even hated each other. But we always pushed each other and made sure we were all graduating together. We formed bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime.

When I become famous, I hope I get asked to come back to speak to the recruits in the Academy. I would tell them, “Relax, enjoy your time here, because it’s  going to fly by and you’re going to look back one day and wish you could do it all over again.”

33 Responses to Back in the Day: Fast Times at the Police Academy

  1. FatRichard says:

    Having any sense of humor after 20 years at that job is an accomplishment. Keep moving ahead De Mayo and only look back to laugh.

  2. Joseph says:

    92-55 the company of kiss asses!

  3. prof56 says:

    Rocket Scientist indeed.

  4. prof56 says:

    See what a real pensioned former Philly Police Instructor at the Police Academy has to say about policing in America and Public Affairs on: Robert A. Young’s Blog For Social Responsibility @ BlogSpot.com. Featured on this authentic blog are several articles critical of Policing and Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania, New York and around the nation. Check out the reform oriented pieces by a real former 2nd generation big city police pensioner.

  5. Bernadette says:

    Why would 12K not be called a bonus? That’s one heck of a BONUS. People in the private sector (us regular folks that pay the taxes that pay the cops?) We don’t get that at Christmas, so yeah, I guess you should gloat. Not a class act though, are you Kamala?

    • SgtRock101 says:

      Were you saying that on/after 9-11?? Seems the blue magnets paid a heavy price without ever complaining. Can’t say the same for you.

      • Bender Rodriguez says:

        Our troops are paid less for harder work and equal life sacrifices. And they aren’t in trouble all the time for abusing citizens on the other 364 days of the year (and every other year) there isn’t a 9/11.

        The firefighters should be doing most of the gloating. Yet they never do. Hm.

        • SgtRock101 says:

          Hm or not, the cops (those I refered to, not soldiers; soldiers ware camo, not blue) died doing their jobs on 9-11 like the fire fighters died doing theirs. Trying to say one was more heroic than the other is damnably ignoble of you. You are beneath contempt.

      • KAMALA1218 says:

        He is a pathetic loser sarge don’t answer him.

    • gunnerv1 says:

      Would you take a Bullet for the Team (even the OTHER Team)? That’s what they signed on for, just like the Military.

    • Del says:

      That 12K “bonus” was PURCHASED by the unions paying the city Approx 127Million dollars in the late 1980’s. The city begged for the money and signed that deal. If you went to a bank and paid a large sum for an annuity, signed the contract, would you agree that it was a bonus?

    • KAMALA1218 says:

      It is a benefit paid to cops and firemen as well as city correction officers for twenty years o service . It is not a bonus. The city did not want to hand out a 65% pension benefit for completing your twenty years ago but agreed to what they call the define benefit. The pension fairy sings very month and the 9886 after taxes every xmas is a wonderful thing pal . You should have taken a civil service test on that one Saturday morning. You to can and would have retired in twenty years with paid medical and pension for life. Gloat yes he can why because very know it all knock police and fore jobs while working in some corporate setting. When the pendulum swings the other way after a commie president comes onto office 8 years ago and the dow plummets 4000 points. The blame game comes in. By the way the taxpayers have not paid one cent into police pensions in the city of new York for the last fifteen years because the fund is self solvent with monies in excess of twenty four billion. Even if the dow drops to 1000 they have enough money to pay retirees for the next 30 years.

  6. JWkeepsitreal Real says:

    How cowardly pathectichow the Moving targets have changed to Hoodies today!

  7. KAMALA1218 says:

    Enjoy the monthly visit from the pension fairy, and that vsf of 12K. Collect lots of checks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • John Biesty says:

      the crime is that a lowest form of filth. is the who wrote this

    • Paula A. R. DeAngelis, PhD says:

      Guess you missed the courtesy, PROFESSIONALISM, RESPECT part of the training. If you only wanted “lots of checks”, why didn’t you just sign up for welfare?

      • KAMALA1218 says:

        He earned it Doc. That is what this career guarantees after twenty years. My comment is directed at the individuals that spite individuals like him. Jealous? hopefully your practice will yield you high earnings. and not live on cat food doc.

      • Sal Mazza says:

        Sound Like the Dr was born with the golden spoon in her mouth, or a mair order bride.Married to some left wing professor.. Take the Golden spoon out of your A…. dear

        • KAMALA1218 says:

          A pillapine reject. What was earned is deemed not qualifying for a person that earned her PHD through some third world institution. I wonder if she got paid and financed her education in Subic bay servicing us when we were on active duty. She calls well earned pensions z welfare check.

        • KAMALA1218 says:

          Pillapine mail order bride.

        • Paula A. R. DeAngelis, PhD says:

          I ama THIRD generation American whose great-grandfather fought for the Americans during the Philippine insurrection. My grandfather is a graduate of West Point (as is my father) who served with General MacArthur and survived Bataan and years in a POW camp. And despite my family’s service to this country, I am still insulted by morons like you.

          PS: nobody in my family EVER saw an Army pension until they served 20 years. That includes my nephew (two tours in Iraq) who served seven years in the Army before going leaving to attend medical school.

          • KAMALA1218 says:

            A lot of us are war veterans from the first gulf war and served out our twenty in civil service jobs. It is an insult that you call it a welfare check. The next time your at Rene’s restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue and you look out the window and if see a policeman . Go up to him or her and thank him for keeping your neighborhood safe .

      • KAMALA1218 says:

        Including Mr. Demayo and a lot of pensioners that did their 20 we earned the pensions. It is not welfare.

  8. Rob M. says:

    First of all, he is not even remotely funny though it’s obvious he’s trying to be in this article. It’s written more like a twink recalling his first year at college. Or a high-schooler reminiscing his first field trip as a child.
    They gave us guns!! Wheee!! My uniform was a chick-magnet!! Wheee! *eye roll* And the guy is in his 40’s? EEK

    This is a great example of how many of our police departments are filled with immature, trigger-happy morons whose only other calling in life is stand-up? Best of luck! lol

    • M Donohue says:

      Jealous , Rob ?

      • Bender Rodriguez says:

        I joined the US Army when he joined the police. I was learning M-16s, M-60s, grenades, grenade launchers, claymores, LAWs and crawling through realistic live fire battle fields.

        I’m not jealous.

        He sounds childish. “We partied after tests!!!”
        (exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point)
        Yeah, ok, dude.

        And why would you hate a simple hat? Sounds really childish.

        • Lt Bil Drat says:

          I’m retired Military. When I talk of a specific period you have to identify with it. I don’t talk about OEF the same as Desert Shield/Storm or Germany. I was different ages by about ten years. He did alright for an article.

        • KAMALA1218 says:

          I a veteran also . We did the same thing. Off base liberty came and the partying. Back in the day the job required you to have 20/40 vision uncorrected with correction being 20/20. Cant be deaf. Also having to get a 28 on the asvab to get in is nothing to brag about. The jobs standards were a lot higher than the army’s kid before affirmative action lead to the hiring of criminals and medical rejects. He is collecting the equivalent of some one who is working and collecting a 120k salary being taxed. We were all young once. He was too. But the pension and health benefits that everyone shits on is well deserved,. He has a second career and is making something of himself.

    • Lt Bil Drat says:

      He’s giving the account during the period….anyway…you mad bro?

  9. robert cohen says:

    Sometimes life is like good comedy. He is a good writer because
    he knows that we readers are rather inured to or now even bored by the ugly & “sin-sational.” Thus, cleverly depict basic cadet training as some not totally hard and surely extremely worthwhile essential experiences. Leave-out the sickening difficulties of the
    super-important profession, and because the tabloids & television dramas already do that.

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