It takes just 8 months of training to graduate from the New South Wales Police Academy. Students begin to use live ammo on the shooting range after just 12 weeks. And as TEN’s factual series Recruits show us, some will fail before the training is over.
20 year old Kyle Windsor from Lismore is hoping he will make the grade. Ironically, it was another television show that made him give up a life in retail and try his hand at policing.
“I was enrolled to do a business degree at Uni and I woke up one day and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not gonna go, I don’t want a HECS bill to get a business degree, that every man and his dog has,” he told TV Tonight.
“I just saw The Force on TV and I’ve got a few mates who had joined and they are loving it, so I just said ‘Alright I’m gonna do it.'”
Windsor agreed to participate in Recruits after receiving an email from producers Jigsaw Cordell. Becoming relaxed to the cameras filming him in class, as well as parts of his social life, has taken some getting used to.
“I just wanted to have something exciting happen to me, something different. It’s the same old, same old thing, everyday. I just wanted to do something different for myself,” he says.
“It was a bit annoying at first. I wasn’t sure how to talk on camera, it’s a bit confronting when they are filming you in front of all your classmates and you’ve gotta do everything right. But I’m alright now I’ve probably made a fool of myself already, so no turning back now!
“I see it as just being yourself and if people like it, they like it, if they don’t they don’t. It’s not my problem, I don’t really care.”
After 8 months students become probationary cops on the beat, which also comprises part of the series.
Windsor has already been filmed at a placement at Richmond, near Lismore.
“On placement I learnt that it’s a good job and heaps of fun.You deal with shit people, but it’s rewarding. You get to take criminals off the street and feel good about yourself, in most cases,” he says.
“There is a lot of mental health problems there because, there is a mental hospital there and a lot of drug problems. You’ll see on TV that we had to deal with some weird and wonderful characters.
“There were a bit of indigenous issues, just with drinking and stuff, but they were pretty good people, they were really nice. We just had to tell them to move on because they were causing ruckusses everywhere. And kids on ANZAC Day drinking too much and just losing it.
“Everyone does it, but when you’re drinking in public and you’re being a nuisance and you’re chucking your rubbish on the ground and yelling out obscenities, it’s not really appropriate.”
Life at the Goulburn Academy hasn’t been easy for the surf-loving Windsor, with the nearest beach at Wollongong some two hours away.
“The first session which was the first 12 weeks was hard ‘cos I had to move so far away from home and family and being young it was a bit of a strain on me. But I’ve learned to live with it and I’m actually enjoying it a lot more this second session. We’ve got our own cabins now and they’re all self sufficient, sort of,” he says.
“Whenever you don’t have class you head into town in the civvies and on the weekends we normally head up to Sydney and go out in the city and go drinking beer.
“Go and have a good time and be normal for a couple of days.
“But keep it real responsible,” he adds.
The workload and responsibilites given to the young students can be demanding, all of which is part of the dramatic appeal of the TEN series. Prior to his time at the Academy, Windsor had never shot a gun before. Despite some initial nerves he now he has experience, but says there is room for improvement.
“I wouldn’t say I’m good. I can shoot a bullet, that’s the main thing and I’ve just got to try and get them all grouped on the target. Get them closer together,” he says.
“It’s just hard to when the camera’s in your face and the cameraman is asking you questions and stuff.
“You’re shooting a real gun so you’ve got to take it seriously and focus on everything, Everything they tell you to do you’ve got to listen to the voices behind you. It’s good fun.”
If he makes it through his first few years, he has ambitions for more diverse Police work.
“Eventually given a few years time, if I’m good enough and I’m enjoying it I want to do the more tactical side of things, and get into all the Special Ops sort of stuff. But I’ll just take one step at a time and just get out there and see what I want to do, see how I handle situations.”
On August 27 the remaining students will end their studies at Goulburn with a traditional Passing Out parade, attended by family and friends.
“Throw the hat up, get my gun and stuff and get out of here and go and help the community.”
Recruits airs 8pm Thursday on TEN.