In my 23 years of law enforcement I have had the privilege of serving in many different specialty positions. I have been a detective, bicycle officer, Defensive tactics instructor, a TAC officer at the basic law enforcement academy, and a patrol sergeant to name a few. But the one specialty position I found to be the most rewarding was the role of the field training officer. I have worked for two different law enforcement agencies in my career and at both agencies I was an FTO. In fact after my 5 year assignment at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy was completed and I returned to my agency, I reapplied to be an FTO once the position came open. I had the pleasure of training 3 new officers before I was promoted to sergeant. (more…)
Just hours after posting our article last night, we found on Facebook that law enforcement had the 100th Line of Duty Death.
We think it would be good for you the following follow up article. It’s About Saving Lives, Not Just a Number.
In case you missed our first article, Below 100, you can read it here.
I usually don’t stop to write openly about my inner thoughts and emotions very often. But this may be good therapy? And yes, all active personalities in my head agree that this is a topic worth talking about.
I was driving into work this last Wednesday and turned on the radio to listen to my favorite afternoon sports show. Programming was different that day. I was listening to the annual fundraiser show this radio station and disc jockey run to raise funds for the 100 Club of Arizona. A very worthy organization, that help financially support the families of fallen officers and firefighters. (more…)
Recently, I read a Daily Observation Report (DOR) prepared by one of my FTOs. The following is an excerpt of the report: “We were on routine patrol when I ran a random license plate check of a nearby vehicle. The vehicle returned clear of stolen, but the male R/O had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. I then directed my student officer to pull up beside the vehicle in order to observe the driver. I observed the male driver fit the physicals listed by the DOL for the R/O and on the outstanding warrant. I directed my S/O to initiate a traffic stop. My S/O made several lame protests about “PC” and other trivial matters regarding the validity of the traffic stop. Realizing an override was necessary, I backhanded him in my standard method of correction. After only one “puppy-like” yelp, my S/O activated our patrol car’s overhead lights and stopped the car…” (Okay, I’m kidding) (more…)
We received a very good question from an agency regarding reserve officer FTO. I asked Sgt. David Harris to respond to this question.
Question: Do you have information about liability in reference to reserve officers/deputies receiving a 12 month FTO program vs. the standard full time officer/deputy FTO program? (more…)
Blue Knights with Lt. Dan Marcou
On patrol you are not looking for something, you are looking for everything.” A long-time Field Training Officer told this to every recruit he ever trained. He hoped to encourage them to be proactive and maintain a wide-open mind, during every contact. He did this because experience had taught him that one good cop can make a difference. (more…)
Officer Safety: Inside and Out
By Sgt. David J. Harris
As the FTO Coordinator for my agency, it has been quite some time since I had a Student Officer in my car. Recently that opportunity presented itself. I found myself recalling all of the skill sets required to an effective FTO. One thing that stood out to me is just how many things I need to know about the inside of the car-that has absolutely nothing to do with the Student Officer! (more…)
By Sgt. David J. Harris
In my previous article I discussed the reasons for FTO’s asking their trainees, or student officers, the “why” questions. While I do believe it is critical to ask questions, it is just as important to permit our S/Os the time to answer them.
It is well documented in classroom settings that teachers ask their students questions and typically allow one second for the student to respond. I don’t know about you, but unless they are asking me for my birthday or to recite the alphabet (in order), I would require some time to think about the question before I was able to respond. The ability to correctly answer a question in 1 second typically requires memorization, sometimes referred to as rote recall. The alphabet, multiplication, vowels are examples of subjects we learned in school and committed to memory. How can we truly expect our S/Os to answer questions if we do not permit them the time to do so?
By Sgt. David J. Harris
As a Field Training Officers, we are required to assume many roles, sometimes referred to as the ability to “wear many hats.” Mentor, counselor, instructor, coach and evaluator to name a few. One of these “hats” requires training and, in my humble opinion, experience.
As we all know, FTO’s are expected to evaluate the performance of the student officer (S/O) and not the personality. How can an FTO properly evaluate a specific performance if they do not know “why” their Student Officer did what they did or did not do? (more…)