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  • Growing Pains

    I obtained my Peace Officer License in May of 2010. I didn't start working in law enforcement as county jailer until almost over a year later. I stayed with the county jail as a deputy sheriff/jailer for 3 years. During that time i wasn't able to do much hands on police work. In January 2014 I finally was given the opportunity to join a police department as a patrolman. I was so excited because I was finally able to do what I went to the academy for. However going thru the field training program has been less than the dream I believed. I have been behind the 8 ball most of the time. Spending my days off trying to brush up on law updates, police procedures, locations, 10-codes, and daily patrol operations. On top of that dust off years of not using the skills and methods taught in my academy. I never knew how much of patrol work is multitasking. (which has been pointed out a concerning weakness). I am have been commended on my report writing, and dealings with the public. But I haven't been the complete package as of yet. And its not that I cant do it, or don't want to do it. But my progression I fear is leaving some doubt with my FTO and training sgt. I have been told that I fit in the department, and everyone likes me and are rooting for my continued growth. But I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I mentioned to my FTO that I would be willing to step away and retake the complete academy to refresh myself and come back. Now I think that statement might have placed a nail in my coffin, as me possibly admitting that Im not ready to do the work. I love being on patrol, and love being a peace officer. I could never see myself doing anything else. But I feel that my hiatus in training has left me in limbo with the department.

  • #2
    STOP. Take a deep breath. And start breaking down your problems.

    Most of the stuff you're talking about sounds like on-the-job training issues. In some ways being a police officer is just like any other job. There's a learning curve. Half of it is the equivalent of learning to put the right cover sheets on your faxes (Office Space reference).

    If you've been a jailer for 3 years, I'm willing to bet you already have the cop mindset down to pretty well. I'm sure you know how to speak/interact with people, and I bet your officer safety is not lacking. A lot of the other stuff is just going to come with time.

    FTO is stressful for most. It comes easy to some, but most struggle a little bit. I'll be the first to admit, I was not a standout during FTO. But now it's been about 2.5 years since I hit the street, and I'll probably be an FTO by the end of the year.

    Like you, on my days off I worked on locations. I drove around my sector for at least a couple hours. I memorized the addresses of certain locations as "landmarks" and built on it from there.

    As for calls, every call starts the same way. Safety first.. Get control of the situation. If someone needs to go in handcuffs, cuff them, frisk them, and stick them in the back of your car. Then hit the pause button and figure out what you're doing. Get the story, identify the parties, figure out what laws apply.

    I can't stress enough, FTO is extremely stressful. I went home most nights with a lot of self doubt. But a couple years later, I see myself doing this happily for the next 20 yrs til I retire.

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      Your not expected to know alot of what your doing on FTO, Thats why your being instructed.Theres only so much you can learn from a book at the academy. Ask questions and learn from mistakes.Dont make the same ones over and over again.Had been a couple of years for me also. The rust can come off if you wipe at it alittle and pay alot of attention to detail.

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      • #4
        What your feeling is normal.

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        • #5
          I think that you are your own worst critic and most likely you are not doing as badly as you think you are.

          Perhaps you have your own expectations and since you are not meeting them as easily as you intended, you're beginning to have doubts.

          Relax brother and just try to have fun. I switched agencies and completed two different Field Training programs. I felt worse during the second FTO program, even though I was a certified FTO at this point from the prior agency, than I did during the first time I went through as a brand new shiny boot... I realized that it was all in my head, and I was beating myself up because I wasn't doing everything perfect. We can't be perfect, but we can be safe. It's all in your head. Good luck.

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          • #6
            I want to agree with everything you have been told so far.

            In the agency I worked for as a deputy sheriff, our deputies often spend 7-9 YEARS in the jail before having the seniority to hit the road. EVERY ONE of those deputies (its a pretty large agency) make it through FTO on patrol. EVERY ONE

            FTO is a learning experience------and the learning curve is pretty steep sometimes.

            Part of the learning experience is to have confidence in yourself-------if you are not confident in your performance ----you can't convince your FTO and training Sgt that you can do the job solo.



            There is another thing to think about & I don't want to be a Debbie Downer here BUT, not everyone is cut out for patrol. A certain percentage of academy graduates just can't make the transistion during FTO.

            Be honest with yourself and do some real honest SELF EXAMINATIONS.

            Good luck
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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            • #7
              When I was cut loose from FTO, I thought I was going to be a big failure. And I made a ton of mistakes (including putting an arrest charge on a traffic ticket and letting them go... And locking my keys in the car... On the same day). But those mistakes had to be made, and I learned as much from them as I did from my FTOs. Trust your FTOs and brass; they know what they're doing with the training program. You're no different from anyone else; we all had many problems that had to be ironed out. Just keep putting your best effort in and please please please ask questions! About everything! Commit to learning the job and you'll feel comfortable with it sooner than you realize.

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              • #8
                We had a cop write a summons to john doe. A nice guy and book smart but he was probably the person with the least amount of common sense I ever met. He is a Sergeant today.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                  What your feeling is normal.
                  Listen to these guys, they know what they're talking about. I just got out of FTO 4 months ago and I hit a rough patch like you. Breath deep and take it call by call and take your time in situations that allow it.

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                  • #10
                    It's normal to have your confidence shaken but you have to bounce back. FTO teams can be like sharks in the water. If they smell blood they swarm. You have to flip the script by changing your behavior. A few ideas:

                    1 Keep training/studying on weekends.
                    2 Grab an instructor or partner for quick refresher on arrest control
                    3 Grab a swat guy ask him if he has a few minutes to go review some basic tactical philosophies while on calls (ie, gun side always away from suspect, always keep problems in front of you etc)

                    4 As you drive to a call be thinking, based on the info coming through, who do I need to deal with first to ensure a safe scene

                    5 USE YOUR RESOURCES Tell guys on the scene what you need them to do. "go talk to her" "sit him down" and can you guys clear the house for me?

                    6 Always be thinking when you arrive on scene: Did a crime occur?, what is the crime?, did it occur within my jurisdiction? If there a crime and it is in my jurisdiction do I have discretion if the victim does not want to pursue charges or is it something like a DV where if there is PC an arrest needs to be made. Even if it's a simple crime where one person doesn't want to press charges, you better at least document it in a report.

                    You need to always be thinking about the next call and what you are going to do, where you are going to park, how you will be approaching as you get up to the call. Picture what you are going to do if you pull to a 7-11 and it's getting robbed. What will you do? where will park?

                    Finally, multitasking takes practice. One way you can help your self is either on duty or off start using a running dialogue in you head. Look around and start speaking what you see. "I am eastbound on 1st ave approaching main st. I'm observed 3 white males standing near a liquor store looking suspicious. You hit a red light, practice calling out the plate ahead of you and act like you are doing a traffic stop. After you call it out think about putting the car into driver, spot and overheads are on, grab your baton etc. Go through it mentally.

                    Sounds like you need to step up your game through a systematic process of preparing. By thinking a few moves ahead you will get the confidence to know what your purpose is once you are thrown into that next call. Good luck. Make sure that failing is not an option.
                    Last edited by cantorzorn ; 08-09-2014, 01:34 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Im currently in FTO I see my corporal pull a hypodermic needle out of a guys pocket...is that pc enough to search a vehicle?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by justin8785 View Post
                        Im currently in FTO I see my corporal pull a hypodermic needle out of a guys pocket...is that pc enough to search a vehicle?
                        I don't know Texas code, but here is what applies to me. While a needle is definitely a clue to drug use, they are also used by diabetics. So it by itself with no indicator of it being used for drug use makes it probable cause to search the guy. If I find something that gives me reason to arrest - then I can search incident to arrest. If I can't arrest him, then I can't search his car unless he gives permission.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                          We had a cop write a summons to john doe. A nice guy and book smart but he was probably the person with the least amount of common sense I ever met. He is a Sergeant today.
                          I was told he is now a lieutenant. lol

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                            I was told he is now a lieutenant. lol
                            Soon to be 1st Dep Commish?
                            September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

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