*LONG POST! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!*
I'll give a break down of my brutally honest opinion, and this by NO means is directed towards any other officers in particular, as I've met some great people since joining the APD and some dedicated players. It also means that it's not directed towards the people who actually give up their free time, by helping the server/community grow...we all have lives outside of the game.
But this is my perspective from the lens of someone who spent 5 years in the military, and 2 years as a beat cop with the Boston Police Department.
I'm a 31 year old, who has been gaming since I was in diapers, literally...and I play everything under the sun.
Why am I saying this? Because it's adds context to where i'm coming from with my opinions, even though it's strictly anecdotal.
I will break this down into sections; training/requirements and in game/real time play.
Training:Firstly, the training the APD offers have offered is mostly very lack luster, this is the average opinion from most players I encounter. It consist of "tell you obvious stuff that as an ARMA player, or white listed player in general, you should honestly already know" and then a glorified PVP match. The training sessions need to be far more developed, in depth and focus on honing players reaction skills and teamwork. Simply making call outs and following loose orders every now and then, is nothing special. In my opinion, all officers should have a mandatory training they need to attend at least once a month, to refresh their skills, go over rules of the APD guidebook and develop their communications and tactics as players. (I actually do this with friends on my private server). It's as simple as setting up 4 different training opportunities throughout the month, but as long as you attend 1 out of the 4, you're good. If you miss more than two months (consecutive) of training, you'll be demoted or kicked back down to cadet. This would enforce some amount of minimum standards for the force, beyond just being a good player, as not every player can be a good shot, but every player can learn to be good at communicating, if you can't at least do that...then the APD just isn't for you.
Requirements: On most private servers, the requirements to get into their police force tends to be far tighter, and fall under a few requirements, other than your age and why you want to be a cop. I'm seeing a lot of cadets who are more than half way through their cadet week, yet barely understand the basics of ticketing, etc. Unless they have the opportunity for a mock RA (which from the feedback i'm hearing, hasn't been that great with certain players, whom i'll not name here...I.E. mock RA givers being too distracted, doing things in the background, talking on their phones, etc).
There needs to be a more direct approach to how we're training cadets, we want to develop them, not just have them memorize a guidebook. Cadet week should be broken down into two time requirements, time and day. If a cadet has put in "X" amount of time and has attended at least one of the required training sessions I proposed, then they should be able to test. On the other hand, if a cadet has reached "X" amount of days as a cadet (this would be higher than the current) and has attended at least one training event (once again, par the requirements I suggested before), they're ready to test.
There should be a Constable First Class, or SFC/SPC for more veteran constables, so people are easily able to point out who more seasoned officers are, as currently there is a very large amount of Constables, and with the even more lax RA that just came to light, I haven't been confident in some of the players i've played with due to their knowledge, team work and communication skills. Constable First Class cops should be the focal point for cadets to mimic, they're the ones who have play time under their belts, know their stuff and meet the more defined requirements of team play/communication and RP quality.
Real Play: This section is more of an echo chamber of what I was saying earlier, that there is an adherent lack of cooperation within the force, communication and tactics. The most common thing I see is people just gearing up as fast as possible, grabbing a car and zipping to wherever the action is happening. Officers are just concentrating on small areas, rather than the island as a whole, and sticking to the familiar rather than broadening the APD's scope. (Such as this: I'm amazed how many times i'm told from players that they're surprised to see cops in Sofia, the hunting grounds, southern Altis, etc). It seems that the APD does two things, hangs out in Kavala/Georgetown and deals with the same thing everyday (you're just feeding these types of players) or just searches drug fields/randomly goes after a warrant once in a blue moon. And that's it. My dream would be that (with the right amount of total players) officers became assigned to certain areas on certain days, I.E. "Oh hey it's Tuesday, today is my Highway Patrol day" or "Oh hey it's Friday, todays my day for patrolling illegal areas and responding to 911 calls", and so on and on. We are of course far from being able to do that, but it would be ideal. It would help unify a more spread out force, with clear objectives/goals. Combined with correct training, and we could have an organized police force that could help breath a more realistic life into the server.
Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems like the APD is short staffed, and is afraid to loose players, so they've removed many of the old requirements or goals to reach. Yet since this has happened, the quality of the APD in general has declined over time (this is a general opinion of players) and has started to be more of a means for easy cash and virtual power trips. The ideals of what a police force should be in an RP related game, seems to be falling to the wayside in favor of quantity, not quality. Something needs to change eventually, and I certainly don't have all the answers...but this is just my (long) two cents towards the situation as a whole, as a veteran ARMA player and someone who truly loves the community/game as a whole. I'm sure i'll get flack for some of this, and i'm sure there will be players who hate the APD and would rather troll this post, or the type who just complain/make fun of the fact that this post is long...but we all have opinions, I'll gladly respect yours, if you respect mine.