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  • Fresh out the academy

    Hi Guys,

    This question is for anyone from someone who just finished FTO to seasoned professionals and of course FTO trainers.

    I am 33 years old, spent the last 7 years of my life as a Banker. I start with my new dept. in early Jan. It is a small town northwest of Lubbock. We have 4 officers including the chief and a population of 2000.

    I was told I would receive two weeks of FTO training (Half my training will be with a seasoned certified FTO and the other half will be with an officer who is not certified as an FTO but has 2 years experience in the town. I asked why the FTO program was so short and he stated it was because the call volume is so low. (Approx 2-4 calls every two weeks) He told me that whenever I do get anything, to call and he will come out and teach me case by case.

    We do have two highways that run through town. One of which runs from NM to Amarillo and is a big drug running hwy. Most of my activity will obviously be traffic. Traffic and Domestics are taught in the academy as the two most dangerous activities a LE officer works with on a daily basis.

    So, finally my question. LOL. What advice would you guys have for me. I will always be working by myself (we do have 1 deputy and state trooper on at a time so we do have back up it just may not be quick)

    To the FTO's...What sort of mistakes do rookies commonly make?
    To the rookies out there...What kind of lessons have you learned or mistakes you made that you never thought of before actually hitting the streets?
    To the seasoned officers. Being that I will be running lots of traffic (At night) and the knowledge of it being a heavy drug running hwy, what sort of things should I be looking for to not only keep myself safe but to have a good idea if they are drug trafficking?

    I know this was a really long post but I appreciate everyone who takes the time to answer me. I hope to one day have the experience to help out others.

    Thank you

  • #2
    Your first goal should be learn how to be the police. A rookie trying to do interdiction or drug enforcement will end in either that officer hurt, cases dismissed, or case law that screws the rest of us. Try to get some additonal training, as much as you can get. Ask questions to senior officers and district attornies.

    Learn the law, be observant, and be able to communicate easily you can make good drug cases. But work towards that as a goal.
    Where'd you learn that, Cheech? Drug school?

    Comment


    • #3
      I just can't get past the "2-4 calls every 2 weeks". The last case number I heard go out over the radio in November was in the 14k range.

      Comment


      • #4
        that call load is amazing. I just got assigned a case in the 40,000s.
        The Republicans need to shrug off this Christian Coalition noose it has placed around its own neck and recognize the fact that, though they may not realize it, the majority of Americans are actually quite libertarian in their philosophy. They also need to learn to fight once in a while. What a bunch of wimps.
        -Neal Boortz

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, after im there for a month, ill post my call log for the month. Hopefully its more than 5. Ha. From what I gather, its just a TON of traffic. I probably wont ever want to write another citation after a year or two here. Lol.

          We do use copsync so we can write a citation in 3 minutes. That equals lots of tickets I think. Ha.

          Comment


          • #6
            When I worked the road, during the summer, we had maybe 10 - 15 report calls a week. In the winter, it was like 5 report calls a week.
            The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

            I Am the Sheepdog.


            "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
            that we are all that stands between
            the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              I also started out in a small town (worked in several of them, actually). At the first one I had less than a week of training, at the second one the chief threw me a set of car keys (the map was in the cruiser), and told me to call if I needed anything. In my experience, there are a lot of poor to mediocre officers at these types of departments, but a few rise to the top. Here are a few thoughts:

              Learn how to talk to people and to listen. Everyone doesn't need to be arrested for everything. Read and understand the law. And I mean know the nuances and understand what is actually written. Read as much as you can. Read every report that is written (even it is just to see how poorly some officers write reports). Get as much training as you can, even if you have to pay for it yourself (I spent a ton of money and a lot of my own time going to training seminars). Whoever is on the ball at your dept., ask them a ton of questions. Try to meet up with the state and county guys when you can and ask them questions. You have no business going out on your own right now and trying to do drug interdiction.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by just joe View Post
                Learn how to talk to people and to listen. Everyone doesn't need to be arrested for everything. Read and understand the law. And I mean know the nuances and understand what is actually written. Read as much as you can. Read every report that is written (even it is just to see how poorly some officers write reports). Get as much training as you can, even if you have to pay for it yourself (I spent a ton of money and a lot of my own time going to training seminars). Whoever is on the ball at your dept., ask them a ton of questions. Try to meet up with the state and county guys when you can and ask them questions. You have no business going out on your own right now and trying to do drug interdiction.
                To echo Joe's post, learn the word DISCRETION!! He is right, not everyone has to be arrested for everything! Some druggies could be turned into pretty good CIs some day! Some folks just had a bad day... Not everyone needs a traffic citation, I for one, only write citations for suspended/revoked licenses and plates, DUIs, stuff like that, I HATE running traffic, so most folks get a warning. Sometimes the biggest fear for minors is telling the parents, but that's not always the case. You will learn when to use discretion, it will come with time and experience.
                The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

                I Am the Sheepdog.


                "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
                that we are all that stands between
                the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  I can't imagine having that little of training. Yikes... I had 5 months of academy and 6 months of FTO... I've only been solo for a year now, and I still have questions arise daily.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So, I am reading a lot in regards to discretion and listening skills. My Chief didn't say I had to write any certain number of citations but he stated that 7 MPH is enough and anything else over that in town deserves a citation in his opinion. Me personally, I think I would start making stops at 10 over with citations being issued at 12 or more over. Our city is on a HWY so the speed limit goes from 75-65-55-45. Do you think 12 MPH is to lenient? Obviously on local streets and school/construction zones I would make stops between 5-7 over.

                    Question to my Texas LEO's. I know we cannot arrest and take to jail for speeding or open container however, on the state exam there was a question that insinuated that you could take them to jail if they don't have a TX DL and TX registration. (IE: New Mexico DL and NM registration) Is this true? Can you take them to jail? Normal circumstances would dictate that you wouldn't take them to jail for these offenses but being that I am in a City on the border of NM, I was just curious? Thank you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here is my two cents worth... WOW, only two weeks of FTO!!!, sign up with TMPA, CLEAT, or any other police legal aid, You have to crawl before you walk. Criminal interdiction is a learned skill that will come with experience. Whatever JD, Just Joe, and Small City Cop said, Your chief can't tell you how many tickets you have to write, because that is a quota, and they are unlawful. Texas recognizes out of state DLs/ Reg. Do not arrest a NM resident with a NM DL/ Registration. Now with respect to that, you can enforce Texas law in reference to DLs and Registration even if they display NM DL/ Registration. In reference to speed limits and writing tickets, (I'm being respectful) a lot of smaller towns rely on revenue generated from traffic tickets, and they budget for that. I tell my rookies, your are not here to make money for the city. I don't want them in that mindset. You stop cars at whatever speed you feel comfortable with, and write tickets/ warnings accordingly. Your agency also probably gets money from asset forfeiture/ seizures as well, if they are big into criminal interdiction. Again this is just my two cents worth. Good luck and be safe!!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by D-W-H View Post
                        Here is my two cents worth... WOW, only two weeks of FTO!!!, sign up with TMPA, CLEAT, or any other police legal aid, You have to crawl before you walk. Criminal interdiction is a learned skill that will come with experience. Whatever JD, Just Joe, and Small City Cop said, Your chief can't tell you how many tickets you have to write, because that is a quota, and they are unlawful. Texas recognizes out of state DLs/ Reg. Do not arrest a NM resident with a NM DL/ Registration. Now with respect to that, you can enforce Texas law in reference to DLs and Registration even if they display NM DL/ Registration. In reference to speed limits and writing tickets, (I'm being respectful) a lot of smaller towns rely on revenue generated from traffic tickets, and they budget for that. I tell my rookies, your are not here to make money for the city. I don't want them in that mindset. You stop cars at whatever speed you feel comfortable with, and write tickets/ warnings accordingly. Your agency also probably gets money from asset forfeiture/ seizures as well, if they are big into criminal interdiction. Again this is just my two cents worth. Good luck and be safe!!!!
                        Thank you so much for all of that great info. Two weeks is pretty short but I suppose I will have a good story at retirement. I have spoken with the rep at TMPA. They sound like the best one out of all of them. I will sign up with them the day before I start work.

                        I will definitely keep everyone posted with how things are going along with any positive or negative experiences. Of course, I will continue to post questions when needed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BankerBoy2646 View Post
                          So, I am reading a lot in regards to discretion and listening skills. My Chief didn't say I had to write any certain number of citations but he stated that 7 MPH is enough and anything else over that in town deserves a citation in his opinion. Me personally, I think I would start making stops at 10 over with citations being issued at 12 or more over. Our city is on a HWY so the speed limit goes from 75-65-55-45. Do you think 12 MPH is to lenient? Obviously on local streets and school/construction zones I would make stops between 5-7 over.

                          Question to my Texas LEO's. I know we cannot arrest and take to jail for speeding or open container however, on the state exam there was a question that insinuated that you could take them to jail if they don't have a TX DL and TX registration. (IE: New Mexico DL and NM registration) Is this true? Can you take them to jail? Normal circumstances would dictate that you wouldn't take them to jail for these offenses but being that I am in a City on the border of NM, I was just curious? Thank you.
                          Yeah, technically you can take anyone to jail for anything other than those specifically listed- speeding, open container, and I've actually heard running a red light- that might be a very recent change (I joke that it's the three things the state legislators do most). That said, TREAD VERY CAREFULLY with that- you better have a damn good reason for arresting someone for failing to signal a lane change or something like that. It will look bad on Youtube, let's just say. Also, just verify that your department (and I realize it's very small) doesn't have a policy forbidding that- one thing you'll learn, department policy is always more restrictive than state law. With a department as small as yours, I recommend you talk to your Chief or fellow officers about what you're thinking if you have something like that come up.

                          Although, remember, if you think the guy is a danger and you can lawfully detain him (which includes any traffic stop), you can cuff him and stuff him. Handcuffs go on, handcuffs go off. Better to have some hurt feelings from the driver than get shot.

                          And, wow, 2-4 calls per 2 weeks? My retirement plan of going to some West Texas town department and playing dominoes in the restaurant next to the town hall all day sounds more promising...

                          Edit: Regarding speeding enforcement- 10 over was, when I actually helped run radar, the hard limit- i.e. anything less was not getting a ticket, though I may or may not let someone off that was over. But it's really a gut call. Some of the more traffic-oriented guys in the forum may be able to give you some advice about radar gun stuff- like what the error margin is (I never actually ran a radar gun, I just helped a guy I knew do it occasionally). The main thing to consider is whether that speed is reasonable and safe.
                          Last edited by artless195; 12-18-2014, 09:03 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by artless195 View Post
                            Yeah, technically you can take anyone to jail for anything other than those specifically listed- speeding, open container, and I've actually heard running a red light- that might be a very recent change (I joke that it's the three things the state legislators do most). That said, TREAD VERY CAREFULLY with that- you better have a damn good reason for arresting someone for failing to signal a lane change or something like that. It will look bad on Youtube, let's just say. Also, just verify that your department (and I realize it's very small) doesn't have a policy forbidding that- one thing you'll learn, department policy is always more restrictive than state law. With a department as small as yours, I recommend you talk to your Chief or fellow officers about what you're thinking if you have something like that come up.

                            Although, remember, if you think the guy is a danger and you can lawfully detain him (which includes any traffic stop), you can cuff him and stuff him. Handcuffs go on, handcuffs go off. Better to have some hurt feelings from the driver than get shot.

                            And, wow, 2-4 calls per 2 weeks? My retirement plan of going to some West Texas town department and playing dominoes in the restaurant next to the town hall all day sounds more promising...

                            Edit: Regarding speeding enforcement- 10 over was, when I actually helped run radar, the hard limit- i.e. anything less was not getting a ticket, though I may or may not let someone off that was over. But it's really a gut call. Some of the more traffic-oriented guys in the forum may be able to give you some advice about radar gun stuff- like what the error margin is (I never actually ran a radar gun, I just helped a guy I knew do it occasionally). The main thing to consider is whether that speed is reasonable and safe.
                            Artless...Thank you so much for taking so much time to write so much good info. I truly have no desire to arrest someone for these minor infractions. I was just curious about the out of state license thing since it came up on the TCOLE test. My best guess is that they allow you to make the arrest if they have out of state license if you don't feel as though they will pay the ticket. That's simply a guess though.

                            I spoke with the Chief about the calls and he stated it was more like 4-5 calls per week. But he said it's a bit busier during the warm months vs. the cold months. (My initial 2-4 calls every two weeks came from a PT officer) I imagine with 5-8 calls per week you could still play Dominoes and probably even chat it up with Otis, LOL.

                            I read the entire policy and procedure manual and it didn't mention anything about these kind of arrests. It only took me an hr to read the entire manual. I imagine larger departments have much larger manuals. HA. I did like the use of force section. It starts will presence, verbal commands and then goes to taser, pepper spray, then goes to hands on, followed by baton and lastly deadly force. I've heard that some departments make you physically fight someone before using taser. It's not that I am afraid to fight but it seems that using the taser before getting physical would significantly reduce the risk of serious injury to both the officer and suspect.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You can google or try and get the policies/procedures for more serious cases from the large departments. That should help guide you through the tough bits... I know I can find our state police's policies online if I look hard enough. Theres no way you will ever get alot of variety of calls on FTO in a small town.

                              I never had a domestic disturbance call in three months on FTO. When I got off FTO we started dealing with domestics at least once every other day for about two yearsm until they got arrested or moved out. Now I've had one domestic call in 6 months this year. The type and volume of calls get dictated by who lives in and drives through your town...


                              I thought I had low call volume, but damn... Winter time we'll be lucky to get a call other than an alarm or two at night. During daytime summers were running stacked calls most of the day. Were around 17k calls this year and have a population of 10k.

                              A tip... Working in a small town there exists an expectation for the local police to be more lenient towards their residents. I'm not saying let all the residents off with warnings but don't be "that guy" who is trying to change the world with ticketing every person he/she stops. With time comes wisdom, I have many years on, I can tell you the process of dealing with an armed robbery but not know what to do when a resident's tree falls onto a neighbors car. Everyone has strengths, just don't pretend to know everything, that's what'll gt you in hot water. Best of luck...
                              Last edited by axelfoley4; 12-19-2014, 10:02 AM.
                              Alex: You do what you are Jezzie.

                              Jezzie: You mean you are what you do.

                              Alex: No, I mean, you do what you are. You're born with a gift. If not that, then you get good at something along the way. And what you're good at, you don't take for granted. You don't betray it.

                              Jezzie: What if you do, betray your gift?

                              Alex: Then you betray yourself. That's a sad thing.

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