Becoming the Badge: One Team, One Fight


In the triple-digit heat of August, the El Paso Police academy is really starting to cook.

“Two months, (and) already there are some that have fallen behind and they need that extra push,” said academy instructor Ersi Madrid.

Four years on the force, Madrid is a force to be reckon with.

“Its tough love. It’s what I’m trying to give them, i try to push them,” said Madrid.

She won't let her recruits give up.

“In this profession you can’t have that, ‘I can’t’ mentality. When you, ‘I can’t it’s going to be life or death there on the streets,” Madrid said.

Recruit aren't the only ones suffering through PT--the instructors are right there alongside them.

At the end of the academy, they'll all be on one team.

To carry that point home, instructors rolled out 200 pound logs for a teambuilding exercise.

“We came together a team. We saw that we can depend on each other because if one person failed, we all suffered,” recruit Sergio Soto said.

“It’s also the team concept. You don't want to let your buddy down. You don’t want them to have to carry more weight than you,” recruit Damian George said.

“One person can't do it on their own,” said Madrid.

“If someone messes up we have to pay for it,” recruit Jesus Lucero said.

Once they're on the force and in the field, that team, will be everything.

“Its what’s going to help you survive,” said Madrid. “Its all of us out there patrolling the city.”

As part of one unit company commander Damian George has partnered up with

recruit Sarah Tew whose struggling during PT.

“George is an inspiration for me,” said Tew.

It's also about, who’s on your team at home.

“You have to have somebody help you out to get you through those tough times,” recruit Anthony Greer said. He credits his wife.

“She’s my backbone,” he said.

Last week, recruit Vanessa Bermudez thought an ankle injury might end her time at the academy.

“I did think, “Maybe this is it. I’m going to have to throw in the towel,’” said Bermudez.

But she's back to full duty.

“Coming this far already I didn't want to have to stop,” she said.

She’s thinking of her daughter during every step and every sit up.

“Shes my reason,” said Bermudez.

But most of the academy happens in the classroom where academics are individual.

This Monday’s test was tough.

“It was a cumulative test of everything we taught from day one to now,” Madrid said.

Some of the class scores weren't up to standards

“This wasn't a good week for me when it comes to testing,” recruit Jesus Lucero said.

“I didn't do well. I got a 74. Its unacceptable,” said Tew. The recruits need to score an 80 to pass. “Its unacceptable for me. There’s no excuse.”

To get their classmates on the same playing field, they'll study as a group, take practice tests and stay late for tutoring together.

Because every season brings wins and losses, sometimes it’s about staying in the game.

“I want to show them that you can,” Madrid said.

For recruit Sergio Soto, he believes this team will finish together.

“I think this is the class that’s going to graduate,” Soto said.

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