Trainers Blog

21st Century Field Training; Part #1

The National Association of Field Training Officers has been keeping a close eye on the impact and effects that the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has had on field training programs nation-wide.

NAFTO fields questions on a regular basis from departments asking for guidance or training in an effort to comply with the task force’s final report. This series of articles is meant to hopefully clarify some matters and share with our members how NAFTO can help support field training programs throughout the country. (more…)

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Trainers Blog

What Shape Is Your FTO Program In?

 What Shape Is Your FTO Program In, and Does It Reflect Where You Want To Be?

It has been a long time since most agencies have done any significant hiring so what will it take to be ready for the new officers when they enter your FTO training?  Most agencies will just dust off the field training program they have been using for years and be excited to get the new bodies in the field as quickly as possible.  Although this will work for the most part, and your agency will be happy to get the officers on the street with the same training as your field training officers received when they started out, but is that good enough for today’s policing? (more…)

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Trainers Blog

Texting vs Talking

After attending the NAFTO Conference in Washington State and attending the class “Generational Differences” I not only found out how old I was, but there was a significant generational gap between me and my trainee’s.  In an effort to close the gap, not in age, but in knowledge I found myself looking up Twitter, Facebook and Instagram just to see how they worked.  In my futile effort to understand it all, I found a lot of people freely expressing themselves.  I thought if they were willing to be that expressive on a computer then they would have no problem talking with other human beings; boy was I wrong. (more…)

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Trainers Blog

Have you thanked your FTO lately?

A good training officer will provide the tools needed to a new officer so they can build a successful career

By Joshua School, C1 Contributor

What group of people are the most influential in shaping officers at a correctional facility? Who works with new officers on a daily basis? Who do veteran officers turn to for professional advice? (more…)

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Trainers Blog

Leadership FTO vs Sgt.

About seven years ago I wrote an “FTO Manual” for newly appointed Sergeants & Acting Sergeants for my department. The entire manual was based off the principals and concepts I have been teaching for about 20 years as a Washington State FTO Academy instructor.

I wrote this article as an introduction to the manual. It outlines some concepts and principals about leadership I felt were basic, but important to a new sergeant. While writing the article I realized that any point you could substitute the word sergeant for FTO and it would all still hold true. I think if you read it from the perspective of being an FTO you’ll agree. (more…)

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Trainers Blog

Creativity – Key for Developing Student Officer

I have observed that student officers tend to get easily frazzled with tasks that most field training officers would consider to be routine.  As field training officers we should try to recognize these tasks and develop training to assist the student officers. (more…)

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Trainers Blog

My First Day with a Student Officer

Without a doubt the concepts and principals of a field training program have evolved over the last 25 years. The value of a standardized program, offering the necessary guidelines and documentation, has more than proven its worth.

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Trainers Blog

Probationary Release: It’s Not Easy!

Over the course of the last seven years managing our Field Training Unit, I’ve been forced to make a multitude of difficult decisions.  Luckily, it’s what I have trained myself to do. I cross my fingers most every day and hope that training and experience has helped me make the right decision. I recently made yet another difficult decision. That decision was to recommend a Probationary Release for one of our new Officers in Training. This was the fifth time in my tenure as the unit leader that I had to make such a recommendation, and I took note that the training and experience I’ve had on this topic did not make it any easier to handle such a bleak decision. (more…)

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Trainers Blog

FTO Burnout – Article

Being a Field Training Officer is one of the most important assignments in each and every agency. Field Training Officers volunteer their services to their departments in order to share their knowledge and skills with the youth of law enforcement.

The Field Training Officer has first crack at developing the culture, attitude and work ethic of a young police officer.  A role that must not be taken lightly!  And most FTOs do not take it lightly.  In fact, most FTOs take their responsibilities very seriously.  In the year 2000 the National Institute of Ethics completed what was at the time the nation’s largest study of ethical standards inside law enforcement.  They found that the Field Training Officer was the most frustrated officer in the department. (more…)

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Trainers Blog

Believe – Encourage – Challenge – Correct

Believe – Encourage – Challenge – Correct

I’ve had the amazing opportunity to meet, greet and teach over 200 newly appointed Field Training Officers over the last three years.  In that same time I’ve had the chance to meet, greet and train over 100 Field Training Supervisors and Program Administrators.  I am a wiser man today after befriending all these people.  I’ve gained insight and knowledge from each of them.  Opening my eyes to the many ways law enforcement is so similar and the many ways our wonderful profession is so different between agencies and jurisdictions. (more…)

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