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  • FTO take two

    Hey guys.

    So I just started at a new agency after spending two years at my first gig. I am completing my first week driving in this FTO process and I am miserable. My FTO is a veteran officer and he is very knowledgeable. I went through a similar FTO program in my first agency and that was miserable as well. I felt like nothing I did was right and was constantly worried I wasn't cutting it. I was cut loose and thrown to the wolves and actually thrived and loved coming to work everyday. During my two years I was tasked with training two recruits (20 man agency with high turnover) and I loved being an FTO and helping my recruits learn the trade.

    Now I am at the bottom again at a better agency and I hate coming to work again. I feel like I am constantly messing up on things I have done 100 times before at my old agency. My DOR's are mainly acceptable with a few unacceptable scores, but the FTO comments sound like I am missing the most basic things. Then my FTO pulls a 180 and tells me I am doing well in many aspects after being on me all night long about every little mistake or perceived mistake. My FTO is teaching me more everyday, but I feel like I just walked out of Academy all over again. Is it usual for FTO to be like this after you've already found your groove and have become comfortable being a LEO?

    Just kind of frustrated, wondering if I made a mistake switching agencies. I am sure I will enjoy work again when I get cut loose, but for now it's a total grind.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hanmo View Post
    Hey guys.

    So I just started at a new agency after spending two years at my first gig. I am completing my first week driving in this FTO process and I am miserable. My FTO is a veteran officer and he is very knowledgeable. I went through a similar FTO program in my first agency and that was miserable as well. I felt like nothing I did was right and was constantly worried I wasn't cutting it. I was cut loose and thrown to the wolves and actually thrived and loved coming to work everyday. During my two years I was tasked with training two recruits (20 man agency with high turnover) and I loved being an FTO and helping my recruits learn the trade.

    Now I am at the bottom again at a better agency and I hate coming to work again. I feel like I am constantly messing up on things I have done 100 times before at my old agency. My DOR's are mainly acceptable with a few unacceptable scores, but the FTO comments sound like I am missing the most basic things. Then my FTO pulls a 180 and tells me I am doing well in many aspects after being on me all night long about every little mistake or perceived mistake. My FTO is teaching me more everyday, but I feel like I just walked out of Academy all over again. Is it usual for FTO to be like this after you've already found your groove and have become comfortable being a LEO?

    Just kind of frustrated, wondering if I made a mistake switching agencies. I am sure I will enjoy work again when I get cut loose, but for now it's a total grind.
    You are nothing but a TRAINEE at your new agency. ---You may be a trainee with experience but you are still just a trainee until you pass Field Training.

    THAT is just one of the perils of job hopping.
    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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    • #3
      Two years is still in the learning phase. Iowa is dead on.
      Now go home and get your shine box!

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      • #4
        A couple of things-

        1) Different agencies have different ways of doing things- so you can expect to have trouble with a lateral transfer sometimes. In some ways, it can be harder on a lateral officer- he/she may have habits that were fine with the old department, but are "bad" habits with the new.

        2) The FTO may well be testing you. I have known of some FTO's (I don't do this myself, but I've known of it done) who will ride a rookie really hard even if they're doing well/ok. It's a way of testing commitment, ability to function under stress, etc. Not sure I agree with it entirely, but it does happen. If so, don't let it get to you. Shoot, you know how much stress this job can put you under- look at it as practice for high-stress times like a summer crime wave or a riot or protest or something.

        3) I'm jumping to conclusions just a bit here, but you actually sound a lot like me when I first started out. Very, very self-critical, focused on mistakes and slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of info cops need to know. I'm not super-cop now, but I'm pretty good. So you'll almost certainly be all right- just keep doing your best.

        Listen, stay sharp, and be safe. Before you know it, you'll be out on your own and look back at the rookie days with wonder that you stressed so much.

        Good luck, and stay safe.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. Just to be clear, I am putting zero blame on the FTO. I just find it odd that I feel like an idiot and lost confidence when I was doing the same job a month ago. This is more of an internal problem than anything.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hanmo View Post
            Thanks for the replies. Just to be clear, I am putting zero blame on the FTO. I just find it odd that I feel like an idiot and lost confidence when I was doing the same job a month ago. This is more of an internal problem than anything.
            I worked 3 different institutions during my career in Corrections--------actually 2 different ones but when i went back to the first after working at the second the mission had changed so it was like a different place.

            I learned 3 different ways to do exactly the same job over 10 yrs----------in the same statewide department.

            When I went back to the penitentiary I had veteran's there treat me like I was an idiot even though I had more time in grade than they did PLUS 5 yrs as a sworn cop.

            I knew what I was doing was "my way" of working and that I would be doing it that way as soon as I got "trained" (we didn't have an FTO program at that point)

            Luckily the administration and supervisors knew me from before and treated me like the veteran officer I was ----------and ignored those who tried to derail me. I think my training was scheduled for 2 months and actually lasted 2 weeks

            This really isn't at all unusual.
            Last edited by Iowa #1603; 12-18-2014, 10:15 PM.
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              As others have said, different departments have very different ways of doing things. You have 2 years under your belt.. you know how to be a cop. You're not a brand new rookie. But you still have to learn the ways of this new dept. No big deal.
              "Hate" coming to work, though? That's a little extreme. How long is FTO? Surely, you're gonna be cut loose in not too much longer. My FTO period was 3 months. At the time, it seemed like a long time, but nowadays 3 months flies by in the blink of an eye.

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              • #8
                OP you'll be alright just take things a day at a time and don't look in the long run.

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I was in Field Training, I always thought I was screwing up, even if I wasn't. Take a breath and focus, you will learn it in time.
                  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

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                  • #10
                    You're fine, dude. I went from a local dept. to State Police after having served 5 years in my previous dept. And I went from one state to another. Talk about frustrating. I had to relearn many "old things" in a "new way". This too shall pass for you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hanmo View Post
                      Thanks for the replies. Just to be clear, I am putting zero blame on the FTO. I just find it odd that I feel like an idiot and lost confidence when I was doing the same job a month ago. This is more of an internal problem than anything.
                      I talked with my son the other day about college, he was a bit upset that he couldn't test out of more classes. I explained -- college is only 25% about getting an education. The other 75% is a test to see if you can stick with something to the end.

                      FTO is sort of like that. You may be doing everything just fine, but it's still going to be a miserable time. It's just supposed to be. You have probably already encountered nights at your other agency where no matter how hard you tried - everything you touched seemed to turn to crap. You've had days where you just started off the night feeling like you didn't want to be there that night, but you centered up and pushed through. IMHO, that is the top of list of things you learn in FTO. So because of that, FTO just sucks.

                      Of course that's just my opinion - I've only been through FTO once. and yeah, it sucked every single day. My first day out of FTO - I was getting dressed and was thinking "FINALLY!" -- until I got in the car... then my butt pucker factor was at about 1 million, and I'd have given about anything to have that crotchety old ba****d back in the car with me! (which is funny to say, because I was actually older than him, but I digress.....)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Shush View Post
                        I talked with my son the other day about college, he was a bit upset that he couldn't test out of more classes. I explained -- college is only 25% about getting an education. The other 75% is a test to see if you can stick with something to the end.

                        FTO is sort of like that. You may be doing everything just fine, but it's still going to be a miserable time. It's just supposed to be. You have probably already encountered nights at your other agency where no matter how hard you tried - everything you touched seemed to turn to crap. You've had days where you just started off the night feeling like you didn't want to be there that night, but you centered up and pushed through. IMHO, that is the top of list of things you learn in FTO. So because of that, FTO just sucks.

                        Of course that's just my opinion - I've only been through FTO once. and yeah, it sucked every single day. My first day out of FTO - I was getting dressed and was thinking "FINALLY!" -- until I got in the car... then my butt pucker factor was at about 1 million, and I'd have given about anything to have that crotchety old ba****d back in the car with me! (which is funny to say, because I was actually older than him, but I digress.....)
                        I think you are spot on, my friend. I just got my first weekly review with the FTO and Corporal and it was very positive. The FTO told me he has no worries about me progressing so I left feeling great about that. I am starting to think that the FTO program is supposed to make me feel awful until the bitter end. All I can do is gut it out until shadow phase and start to feel more comfortable in this new position.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I had the same experience when I switched departments years ago. Looking back on it, the FTO program was worse the second time. Like you, I pushed through it without excuses even though I was miserable. I had even more fun after being released from the FTO program at my new agency. I was eventually promoted to sergeant and supervised the FTOs on my shift. The FTO program will always be stressful as law enforcement can be a stressful job, but I tried to make sure no trainee was MISERABLE. You will also be successful but never forget your experience.
                          Owner of Fearless Tactical

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                          • #14
                            I can't really comment on anything that hasn't been mentioned already; it appears you're not far off from being cut loose. Take your experience and your way of doing things and sort of mold everything that is deemed acceptable according to policy with your new job. I want to believe that things will smooth out after you're back on your own again without someone monitoring your every move. Veteran or rookie officer at a new agency, I believe everyone at some degree performs differently when there is someone in the passenger seat tasked with watching how you do your job opposed to being by yourself. Sounds to me you're doing fine, you'll be back on your own in no time; stay positive and congratulations on your new job.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                              Two years is still in the learning phase.
                              Very much so.

                              That aside, I think some teachers/instructors just have a special knack for knowing how to make people feel like complete idiots. It's an art.... Even if you/they are doing well and even ahead of their peers who have around the same amount of experience. Just suck it up and know that it will pass in your next phase.
                              Last edited by Ignite; 01-06-2015, 03:57 AM.

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