SAN ANTONIO – Before becoming San Antonio's finest, police cadets are tested physically and mentally for 32 weeks.
During that time, each cadet must successfully undergo what the San Antonio Police Department Academy has nicknamed "Hell Day."
"Hell Day" includes being put in a room and exposed to CS gas.
"What we tried to do is hold our breath for as long as we could. But you only make it about a quarter of the way, and that's when you get that emergency breath in," said police cadet Jordon Hammond.
"For me, I panicked, so I took a huge breath and that really hurt."
The cadets are exposed to the painful chemical about four times with and without a gas mask. The exercise is part of teaching cadets to trust their equipment. Cadets are also pepper-sprayed.
"It takes a lot to wear this badge. That's why when they represent the department and this city, that's why they are truly called, 'San Antonio's finest,'" said Capt. Brian Reyes of the San Antonio Police Department.
Class president Jordon Hammond said it's a day he and his fellow cadets will never forget, but one that is worth it, in order to become part of the SAPD family.
The cadets are scheduled to graduate from the academy and join SAPD in June.