FRANKFORT, Ky., — The rigors of the Army's Officer Candidate School are not for the faint of heart. The same can be said for completing the stringent requirements of the Lexington Police Academy in Kentucky. For newly commissioned Kentucky Army National Guardsman 2nd Lt. Kevin Morris, successfully passing both at the same time required the utmost focus.
"You're probably going to be putting in around 50 hours a week for the academy just in prep time and then you have to find time to get ready for OCS," Morris said. "You can't just show up; you have to have your uniforms laid out, pressed and prepped with your boots shined, believe it or not."
Although going through both programs simultaneously took extensive amounts of time, Morris said there was a valuable aspect to the dual training.
"The benefit there was it was kind of like you never turned it off," Morris said. "You didn't go home and get rusty; you had to be taking on a task daily to step up and meet the challenges that were going to come your way."
Morris said the programs didn't focus only on physical fitness.
"You had to study and actually crack a book open and do some work there," he said. "That helped with OCS because you're constantly in that working out and study mode. The academy also gave us an associate's degree in law enforcement."
While completing the programs may be difficult, Morris said, just getting accepted to them was even more difficult. Out of the more than 800 applicants for the LPD academy, only a fraction of that were accepted, he said.
"It was good timing and I got lucky," Morris said. "I applied when the application class was around 800 and they only took 32 or 33 for the department. Given those odds, I wasn't going to pass it up. I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew it was one of those things that if you pass it up, it may not come back to you."
While the physical demands of OCS and the LPD Academy can take a toll on a person, the emotional toll of having a family, especially a newborn child, can be just as stressful, Morris said.
"My son was two days old when I left for phase one of OCS and was a month old when I began the academy," he said. "So there were definitely some stresses there. But at the end of the day, it was my family that had that support and helped me keep my sanity where I could take a step back and spend time with them."
Credits Wife for Support
Morris credited his wife, Cynthia, for helping him through OCS and the academy even while she completed a four-year nursing program in just two years.
"I have to tip my hat to her," he said. "We've been running pretty hard for two years. But you know what, you put that hard work in and the rewards will come."
"He has worked very hard for this," Cynthia said of her husband. "He loves to serve the people and his country. He's going to be a great leader; he's a very good man to be in charge."