When it came to training, the very first SDPD officers had little more than common sense and a few words of advice from senior officers when they began their careers.

That began to change when internationally reknowned police reformer August Vollmer suggested SDPD establish a police academy as far back as 1927. Unfortunately, the city would hear nothing of it due to the cost.  A partial move forward occured in 1931 when the department increased its hiring standards with entrance exams and educational requirements.

In 1932, the SDPD began its first formal police school.
By the end of the 1930's, Sergeant Robert J. Karrow was teaching law and criminal procedure to officers on his Ocean Beach Substation squad.

Smaller, semi formal formal classes called academies were held as early as 1941 however WWII prevented them from maturing into what they needed to be.  Karrow would later be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and placed in charge of the first offical, routinely scheduled, police school in 1945. The school was three weeks long. Today, the police academy is almost six months.