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Becoming the Badge: Tested

This week the recruits took their first exam and they must score an 80 to pass. Credit: KFOX14

For the past three weeks, recruits have been pushing themselves to the limit, physically.

But a majority of the academy is academic.

This week the recruits took their first exam and they must score an 80 to pass.

“Anything below that is considered a failure,” said lead instructor Sgt. Jeremy Ontiveros, “After so many failures, it's an infraction and after so many infractions, the recruit is recommendation for termination.”

Ontiveros says the academy's expectations are high because he says when the recruits take the state peace officer exam, their performance could affect the academy's certification and standing with the state.

Some of the recruits passed, including former soldiers Damian George and Anthony Greer. Recruit Vanessa Bermudez also passed.

Other’s learned they’ll have to change their study habits.

Sergio Soto, 22, got a 68.

“That was completely on me; during the weekend I could have studied a lot more,” said Soto.

Former nurse Sarah Tew said she mastered the wrong material. “I was very upset. Very, very, upset,” she said.

Former custodian Jose Lucero also failed. Finding time to study after a full day at the academy is challenging for many of the recruits, who head home to small children who need time and attention.

This week, two more recruits left the academy.

“Their discipline and what we are looking for just isn't there,” said Ontiveros.

Recruits hit the books and physical training this week on their journey to becoming officers.

The lives of two other officers ended.

A San Antonio officer was killed in the line of duty and a New York City police officer was assassinated while sitting in her patrol car, targeted solely for the uniform she wore. If you're talking nationwide, you also have the cops in Virginia who died.

It's hardly the first time an officer has been assassinated – something the recruits knew before they signed up.

“Even then it didn't stop me from wanting to pursue this,” said Bermudez.

But it was the first, since the academy began.

It was a sobering reminder of the dangers they face.

“Being killed is a job hazard,” said George.

And yet, they don't waiver on their choice

“It makes me think of my life and my family. I know I can do this job to the best potential I know I can,” said Greer.

“I was pretty upset about it, but this is the kind of world we have to change,” said Soto.

Next week on Becoming the Badge, the recruits take on the mountain, literally. They’ll also start learning the laws they'll be tasked with enforcing.

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