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How does FTO work?

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  • How does FTO work?

    Do you sit in the passenger seat the first few weeks, and then switch roles or ?

  • #2
    It will vary greatly on your dept, FTO, structure etc.. My PD does FTO in three phases and everyone is assigned a primary FTO. I have seen some FTO's let them drive right away and others make them wait a week or so.

    My best advise is don't ask general questions like that to your FTO they will tell you all you need to know in the begining. Good luck.

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    • #3
      Your progress and/or department policies will guide the process. When I was in FTO we actually started prior to attending basic police training. A lot of agencies won't do that. Many will. Some have no FTO period at all. I think I was in FTO for three weeks before the academy and maybe that many afterwards although it was supposed to be a 12 week program.

      I had been a paramedic and police dispatcher/jailer for a while with a sheriff's office, between jobs, so the radio lingo, a lot of geography, and the process through which a call is given to an officer from start to finish was familiar to me as was incident reports, warrants, court, etc.

      It started out with me riding passenger and taking on a mostly observatory nature although this was never instructed of me. It just seemed like the most logical thing to do. Then, after about two nights, I became the principal officer of a call, and later I started driving. I wasn't in FTO as long as some of the others hired at the same time I was, and I wasn't assigned to a certified FTO. For whatever reason the admin. thought the narcotics officer I was with, in patrol, and the shorter duration of my training was suitable. Kudos to me maybe. ??? He and I would drive around and B.S. about whatever, but periodically he'd give me things to look up pertaining to criminal law and procedure. He'd throw scenarios and what ifs at me to see if I could synthesize what was in the book to real life instances. He and the department always thought I was pretty good at that.

      On this forum, it appears that the process is a lot different from others, and from reading about some of them (keep your mouth shut types of things) I would've hated it, but I enjoyed FTO. Honestly, I liked it when he drove too. He'd do that, and I'd take care of reports. I'm the weirdo that likes writing reports so it was cool to me. I didn't mind even though the certified FTOs were always talking to me like I was expected to do the grunt work. Ok, whatever, I liked doing it, lol. I asked him one time why he didn't have me doing written assignments, keeping a journal, and all that, and his reply was "I'm not an ***hole, and you're learning more than their rookies are anyway."

      Your results may vary.

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      • #4
        We do two 8 week rotations. My first 8 weeks, my FTO drove for the first week and half or so and after that it was me. Every now and then if he felt like it or if I wasn't feeling up to par he would drive.

        My second FTO drove the first night and after that it was me everyday. No matter if I didn't feel good or not.
        "Rollin and Patrollin the Wild Wild West of Bham"

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        • #5
          Rode passenger for the first week. Drove the first 2 days of the second week, then I got my own car and my FTO responded to everything at the same time.

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          • #6
            We start with a limbo week where the recruit is more of a glorified ride-along so they get acclimated to the basics of responding to calls for service, the MDT, and radios.

            After that then it will depend on your FTO's for each phase. I prefer to inch people in, and see if they will take the initiative if I am their first phase FTO. Second phase I want them to take lead and ask questions, I will still likely intercede if they need me or I see something. Third phase I expect them to take the initiative all of the time, but I don't expect them to know everything; just be willing to ask, learn, and show the ability to adapt from their mistakes and not repeat them.

            Last two weeks of third phase is Evaluation only, so I expect them to act like I am not there; and depending on their development I will let them be lead and I will be the silent partner. Everyone has a different learning curve but there is only so much time that we are given to train, and part of that process is how much the recruit or new officer wants to succeed.
            "Oro En Paz, Fierro En Guerra"
            "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
            - Attributed to both George Orwell and Winston Churchill (unsourced)
            Californian by birth, Cardinals fan by marriage!

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            • #7
              observation phase; trainee sat in passenger seat in uniform and observed. then active phase; trainee drove and handled calls with assistance from fto. then primary phase; trainee drove and handled all calls with minimal (and i mean minimal) assistance from fto. then final phase; trainee performed as solo officer and fto was in plain clothes and did not get involved unless gbi or death situation. it was structured and progress was closely monitored. roughly 16 weeks total. felt like forever.
              wherever you go, there you are....

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              • #8
                6 phases of training, each phase is about one month long ( I can stretch or shorten to a degree to fit the trainee).

                First 3 phases I consider instructional and the last 3 I consider "show me".
                In each phase I expect the trainee to take a little more on. An example would be report writing. In the first phase I dictate all narratives to the trainee. In second phase I provide the trainee an outline and he writes the report. In third phase I help along with the investigation and he writes the report. In 4th phase it's all him baby.

                My trainees don't drive until phase V. By the second week of phase V I'm just a shadow in the car. In their final phase they are out on their own and I'm just their personal supervisor if they need help.
                Today's Quote:

                "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  I sat in the passenger seat the first hour, and haven't sat in it in the 3 years since.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mdrdep View Post
                    6 phases of training, each phase is about one month long ( I can stretch or shorten to a degree to fit the trainee).

                    First 3 phases I consider instructional and the last 3 I consider "show me".
                    In each phase I expect the trainee to take a little more on. An example would be report writing. In the first phase I dictate all narratives to the trainee. In second phase I provide the trainee an outline and he writes the report. In third phase I help along with the investigation and he writes the report. In 4th phase it's all him baby.

                    My trainees don't drive until phase V. By the second week of phase V I'm just a shadow in the car. In their final phase they are out on their own and I'm just their personal supervisor if they need help.
                    Man that would suck! Although, i'm looking at it as a seasoned officer, not a rookie, i'm sure it's different for experienced guys.
                    Originally posted by K40
                    To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
                    ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PtlCop View Post
                      Man that would suck! Although, i'm looking at it as a seasoned officer, not a rookie, i'm sure it's different for experienced guys.
                      I guess that really depends on the agency and area. If you're in an area where you have 2 man cars, it makes sense for the new guy to spend his time in the passenger seat ( I know he's in LA County... but I'm clueless as to how they work there). I have no interest in being an FTO... partly because I would go absolutely insane in the passenger seat.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StudChris View Post
                        I guess that really depends on the agency and area. If you're in an area where you have 2 man cars, it makes sense for the new guy to spend his time in the passenger seat ( I know he's in LA County... but I'm clueless as to how they work there). I have no interest in being an FTO... partly because I would go absolutely insane in the passenger seat.
                        Hmm. I kind of like being driven around.

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                        • #13
                          My FTO drove for the first night and them turned it over to me, and I wasn't even certified yet.(took a while to get my paperwork back). He didn't particularly like the idea but it came from top down that they are to have trainees drive. After that it is really up to how the particular person moves along. It is anywhere from eight weeks to ever how long it takes. Most finish in 8-10 weeks. I absolutely loved my FTO and he is my Sgt still. He made a lot of things harder than I thought necessary at the time but looking back on it I learned a hell of a lot more. He really knows how to train someone.

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                          • #14
                            My FTU program lasted 6 months. It was a group of us put in together. We were rotated through various FTOs and shifts. Some were difficult to deal with and burned out with being an FTO but most were nice guys. But you always had to keep your mouth shut, eyes/ears open and know your place. Some days were pure misery. But overall it was good preparation for the job and its expectations.
                            Last edited by SHU; 02-28-2010, 05:50 AM. Reason: spelling

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