Make ‘Em Or Break ‘Em
Training is the foundation of any police officer, which is why the Field Training Officer’s role is so vital. Regardless of the recruit’s age or background, they’re at an impressionable point in their lives and careers. They’re eager to learn and be successful, so chances are they’ll try to emulate their FTO. This is a heavy burden for you as an FTO, and one you should not take lightly. Your job is multi-faceted; you’re not just a trainer. At times you’re called upon to be many things: an educator, counselor, disciplinarian, friend, protector, etc.
Your job is seemingly pretty simple; teach new officers how to do police work safely, effectively, within the law and within department policy. It sounds simple, but we all know how complex it can really be.
We’ve all known great FTOs, and some who were not so great. Then there are the ones who amaze us, not only because they’re FTOs, but because they’re allowed to be a cop at all. Don’t be that guy. Take pride in being an FTO, and recognize you’re responsible for much more than a few weeks of officer training. You’re forging the foundation of your entire police department. So much of what we become stems from our FTO training. It’s during this time new officers learn the techniques and habits they will use for years to come. If these are good habits and techniques, the officer will spend the next few years improving and excelling at his job. But if they’re bad habits, stand by for a problem officer.
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