Rookie officer Brian Wyatt agreed to have a Louisville Courier-Journal reporter and photographer chronicle his one-year probationary transition to real-world policing. The paper told the story of the first six months through a journal he kept and interviews with him, his friends, family, and other officers.
It was a shock to his wife, Lisa, that he wanted to be a cop. In September 2003, at 29, he joined 16 other recruits at a police academy. The Louisville Metro Police Department was under fire at the time. Shootings by police officers had raised tensions in the community. With a new police chief focusing on the need for training, Wyatt and other recruits started their basic training to prepare for a job that pays $34,000 a year to start, plus a uniform allowance. Five days a week for 25 weeks, they studied the law, learned to shoot, and ran miles and miles to get in shape. They handcuffed each other. They drove, sirens blaring, around a simulation course. They arrested people at mock crime scenes. They wrote practice reports. The Courier-Journal tells the story of Wyatt’s transition to his new life as a police officer.