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FTO program

I am a new FTO and will be soon getting a probationary Trooper. Does anyone have any good advise on dos and donts?


  • A good friend of mine is an FTO, his trainee showed up drunk and without his gun to work... I imagine that's something to look out for. lol!
  • Just be yourself. Don't expect to much from them at first, especially if they have no prior experience. Be firm fair and consistent. Don't be over bearing and have fun with it. If you don't learn things while teaching, your not doing something right. Joking about small stuff will gain you a lot of respect from your recruit.
  • One other thing, find a secluded area where you won't be bothered, and practice proper approach techniques of traffic stops. Give them different personalities, different situations, keep them realistic, and use red or blue guns. Drill safety safety safety!
  • Refrain from getting involved in the issues or dislikes of fellow officers. Let the trainee form his own opinion of everyone. I encourage my trainee's to take positive attributes from the diversity of each police officer to help them mold into the kind of officer they want to be.
  • I would suggest not becoming "buddy buddy" with your trainees. They need to realize that you are there to grade them, and wash them out if they are a danger to themselves, to others, or just can't do the job.

    I'm not saying be an overbearing arse that drills them into the ground, but your trainee needs to be completely astounded by how different you are after he/she's out of training simply because you are a completely different person when they aren't under your wing. Believe me when I say it will cut down on mixed signals when you have to discipline them.
  • Also, only grade them on factual performance, make sure your personal feelings for someone do not affect how you grade them. And in the end, remember you are training your future partner, make sure you give them the skills they need to be a good one.
  • Remember what it was like when you went through FTO? Did you have multiple FTOs? What did you like about each one? What did you dislike about each one?

    I look at it this way. I field train to keep people from making some of the mistakes that I have made, that I have seen made, or I have heard about people making.

    Be firm. Be consistent. Remember that the new officer will probably turn out like you.
  • I'm not an actual FTO but my LT assigned me a rookie due to shortage of officers on the shift when I worked the other night. I trained the way I was trained - Sit back, stay close and observe every move your rookie does. Then after each situation talk with them about what should or shouldn't have been done
  • If they are new treat them as such. If they have prior experience remember there is a difference between a way and the way. There are some things he/she will do that are not your way but aren't the wrong way. Teach them what your chief wants but remember they may have had another way beat into their head and its hard to break habit.
  • Officer safety. Teach it first! Goal is to go home at the end of shift. 1, before newbie gets in the car, place a knife in the back seat, tuck it. Tell him to inspect interior and exterior for damage and contraband. 2, radio talk. Tell him to think about what he is about to say. Short and sweet. Free up the air waves. 3, Location memory. Driving down Main St and you turn on Carroll St, ask newbie what street did you turn off and turn onto. 4, practice a few fake stops out of public view. The stuff they teach in the academy is NOT what we really do on the streets. Watch those hands!. 5, interviewing ppl. Get newbie out on citizens and field interview early. Ask for ID and run some warrants. 6, End of each shift, talk about the pros and cons and ask what he could have done better. Ask newbie how he did that day. Praise the goods to build confidence! 7, Ask what he wants out of law enforcement What does he want to do? Drug work, Warrants, Traffic ect.... What are newbies goals. 8, Have fun with being a cop! Good luck
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  • Give your trainee the benefit of the doubt, outline your course for them and stick to it. Have your rules up front before hitting the streets. Reading policy first and signing them off with a test is a start. FTO program isn't intended to be failed, so work with your trainee and square them away on any areas needing improvement before moving on. I pray you follow just these basics, my fto never afforded me that opportunity. Had to get a new one lol
  • I know in my department we have the rookies ride along for the first couple weeks so they can see and see what goes on in the car. Then we let them take over.
  • Be prepared for some really sharp ones or ones where you have to wipe their arse for them... I'm a civvie and have actually had to jump in to cover a new probie straight out of the academy.

    Apart from the safety aspect try and teach them how to keep their nose to the ground. Is there any little tell-tale signs/clues that may signal a bigger crime? You'd be surprised what I've 'picked up' on, done some background work then spun it into a much bigger case. Drugs unfortunately is a big one. Teach them how to read faces especially for different signs of intoxication/drug use. Do the search then obviously you can start busting dealers up the chain. I know this one is obvious but it will come in handy very often.
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