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  • New and No FTO.

    I know there is allot of new rookies out here that get hired on small town departments where your field training is really more like teaching yourself. If anyone out there has any tips, advice, or anything to help us develope just as much as we would with a FTO. I am sure we would all appreciate it. I know I would. Thanks
    Go ahead and run, we like that!

  • #2
    he,he... not *answering* just saying, "hey". In the same boat here.

    I have an FTO-who knows his stuff--except it's the Chief. FTO during weekday-day hours is going to be tricky. No calls, and he's pretty busy with the Chiefly stuff.

    I"ve been through another FTO program, and have some experience, but it was almost 2 years ago, so I'm rusty.

    It's a very different challenge than in big agencies!


    • #3
      small departments just sometimes dont have the man power to have fto's, at the least they dont have them available for 6 months. a lot of small departments here will put a new guy with someone for two weeks or so and then he is alone. now he is always on shift with someone so another officer is pretty well always within a minute or two response time. my first street job as fulltime was by myself the first night. i had been a reserve at a sheriff's office and a dispatcher for a few years so it wasnt like being completely new to the line of work. everyone has lots of questions when they start out and there usually is someone willing to help. if your by yourself in a town and the chief is asleep and its not an emergency call a deputy. surly the county has someone out that can help you if you need help knowing how to handle somthing that doesnt warrant getting someone out of bed.


      • #4
        It still amazes me that there are some departments out there that do not have a field training program. It's too bad you won't have a Field Training Officer, but you can learn a great deal of information from your fellow officers (if you are lucky enough to have more than one officer on duty at a time LOL). Watch how they handle different situations and don't be afraid to ask them for advice - it doesn't mean you have to do things "exactly the way they do things," but it's good to get a different perspective.

        The most important thing that I or any other officer will tell you is that you ALWAYS GO HOME AT THE END OF YOUR SHIFT! I cannot stress that phrase enough. Read it again, let it sink in.

        Ok, now that we are clear on that, use your common sense when handling calls, and if anything feels "strange" (ie - "spidey sense" tells you something isn't right), make sure you take control - call for backup, put someone in bracelets, use the reasonable amount of force necessary to control the situation, etc.

        I would take a moment (or two, or three) to read the "what rookies should know" thread that is posted in this section; URL posted below. Lots of good info within:


        Additionally, here are a couple of tips I remember from field training when I first started :

        -Always check the backseat after transporting anyone, including prior to your shift.

        -Park a few houses down from the location of the "call."

        -Know the road you are driving on and the nearest cross street at all times in case the feces hits the fan and you need to relay your location to dispatch.

        Remember, always go home at the end of your shift. Best of luck!
        Officer Down Memorial Page


        • #5
          Originally posted by RPD13
          I know there is allot of new rookies out here that get hired on small town departments where your field training is really more like teaching yourself. If anyone out there has any tips, advice, or anything to help us develope just as much as we would with a FTO. I am sure we would all appreciate it. I know I would. Thanks

          We did not have an FTO at my agency and how i was trained was just watching and pray that i can learn without a teacher. I did fine and you will catch on at these small agencies. one advice is not go to a small town where everyone knows everyone and start bring chaos to that town. The politics in a small town is rediculus. For example, dont write the locals a ticket give them a warning and always be nice to everyone because they are your chiefs best friend. I will promise you that if you go to that town and start getting a bunch of complaints from all the locals, you will be canned. I work in a community where 79% are black and the rest are mixed with all races. We have a lot of stolen guns floating around the city and stolen merchandise, but if you are nice to the locals and dont arrest them on every little damn thing they do you will get help from them on your next bust. My partner and I will go right into the middle of town in the bar and just sit there for a coule of hours bs-ing with all the locals, but always watch your back. We are the only white people in that entire area at night and to make it worse, we are the police. our chielf believes in community[policing] and that means that you have to park your cruiser and just walk around with our partner through the city at 1 am and see what you can get into and just chat with all the known criminals.Last night when i was in service, we were talking to a b/m 6'5 320 just got out of prision and said he was not going back for nothing. I ran him and he came back as a hit and Since we are always on foot talking to all of them he said he has respect for us and walked with us about 1/2 mile to our cruiser and just slid right in the back seat. My partner and I were like omfg thank you so much for not kicking our stupids asss all the way down the street. lol This post is long but it will help you in a small town good luck. Oh one more thing, we are too samll to afford vests and so none of us wear them under our uniforms. We are in casual polo typr shirt with our badge imprinted into the shirt and poilce on the sleeves and neck collar. Wwe have blue btu and the polo shirt is grey trimmed in blue and our duty belt.That is our uniform .ne more thing SO is about 15mins away and you are alone most of the time out there and all you have as a weapon IS YOUR MOUTH NOT YOUR GUN

          If you need more advice just ask hope i helped alittle
          Last edited by Crex4242; 08-21-2005, 09:42 AM.


          • #6
            I'd suggest not accepting a Job offer from a small department that has no true FTO training. I have seen several potentially good Officers ruined by accepting employment at non-training departments. Your first year on the Job really dictates how you do you job for the most of the rest of your career.

            Always see what the department offers prior to accepting an offer. Educate yourself on their department. You could just take the job as a hold off til another comes around, but that would be the start of a velcro-patch career.

            Just like a Baby, you absorb info at an alarming rate when young.... young in your career.. if you do not absorb the true basics from an experienced Officer/FTO, you will not get what you need for a long lasting, gratifying career.
            What is it about, "Thou shalt not.....", do some people not understand?
            Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.


            • #7
              I couldn't even imagine not having a FTO. Not only dangerous but there would have been so many things I did wrong, and so many things I could have done better even if I did get them right.

              I am on FTO 4 of 6 and even though I am excited to go to solo beat in a month or so, it's intimidating when I realize how little I really know.
              RIP Sgt. Henry Prendes...EOW 2/1/06
              RIP Off. James Manor...EOW 5/7/09
              RIP Ofc. Milburn "Millie" Beitel...EOW 10/7/09
              RIP Ofc. Trevor Nettleton...EOW 11/19/09
              RIP Ofc. Daniel Leach...EOW 11/21/09


              • #8
                crex4242 has definatly worked small towns. i just left a 4 officer town and worked one before that where you mess with the locals and you find a new job. i got to spend a couple of days training two new guys ans i told them to watch who they stopped for a while. i told them stopping locals is fine but write them warnings for minor offenses and go on. out of towners dont matter because they dont vote in your town. this paticular town wasnt to bad on the cops. the council always asked what happened on complaints and when they heard our side that was the end of it. the town before had a policy that if someone said it you did it, then you did it. i now just work for a sheriff's office and we cant do wrong. unless we are out of line or illegal we never hear a word about it. its sure a different experience. now i have local p.d. officers in the county having come do their dirty work and then they can sit back and say "hey its the county i cant stop them". after working small towns i really enjoy helping a city cop out with some $hithead council members son who they wont let the locals mess with.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MattG
                  ...it's intimidating when I realize how little I really know.

                  I've been doing this job for over 2 years, and have realized that I don't know everything. I could blame that on a small department without a FTO program, but then that would be absolving me of personal responsibility for not seeking advice, training, feedback from those more seasoned than me. Yes, no FTO can be a real big problem, and those with out that program need to do is go through your policy manual thoroughly and make sure you understand it; seek as many training opportunities as you, your family, and your department can afford; and always keep a cool head and remember that mercy also has it's place in Policing. I am continually re-reading training manuals, policies, statutes to keep the knowledge I have fresh. Most of the other things will come with experience, but I hope nodoby learns about officer safety because of a bad experience. Even though rookies do not have the experience, there are things that they can still teach the old salts. In essence I guess I'm saying that nobody in this profession knows it ALL, but seek out those that know more than you and learn.
                  Last edited by badger; 08-30-2005, 11:13 AM. Reason: spelling
                  " (T)o preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.... " Richard Henry Lee, 1788


                  • #10
                    I started off in a small sheriff's office and the "FTO" process was just to learn the county roads and a couple of traffic stops a day. It took about a month then I was on my own to be thrown to the wolves.
                    I remember my first day alone when they called my number, i was like
                    It's all good as I look back at it because I have learned to keep my radio transmissions short and to the point, independant judgement, and use of my verbal skills in situations (due to backup being 20-25 min away).
                    Listen and learn from seasoned officers, don't be afraid to ask questions, and if u need another officer to help you at your call, ask for assistance. We have all been there at one time.
                    As a rookie you will come across all types of coworkers, my advice is to try and learn from the soft spoken officer of the shift who just goes out and works. They are the ones that usually have the most knowledge of the law, department policy/procedures, and ability to handle things. Also don't become over aggressive/cocky because there is always someone bigger and tougher than you are. Handle yourself professional at all times and address someone by their last name (Mr. xxx etc..), even if they don't deserve it, but remember, we as police officers are held to a higher standard in both our professional and personal lives. Good luck and rock on!
                    "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God - Matthew 5:9


                    • #11
                      I would suggest excellent series of books by the Calibre Press: Street Survival, Tactics for High Risk Patrol, and The Tactical Edge. These are all excellent books, if you can only buy one, get Street Survival. Some of the tactics are antiquated, but most of the info is still good today, and the book speaks alot to mindset. In addition to these soak up anything you can get, but remember to look at it all with a critic's eye, because some of it is crap.

                      You might also try to make contact with someone who has reputation for being squared away in your agency or nearby agency and start doing an unofficial "FTO" by riding along with these officers. Let them know up front your intentions are to try and learn as much as you can, and work with the ones you find helpful.

                      Most important, be aware of and learn from your mistakes. You can get away with bad tactics, and you can handle a dangerous person, but you can't do both. If you make a mistake with grandma, and you realize it after the fact, go over it and think about what you would have done different. On the same note, practice crisis rehearsal techniques. You didn't mention it so I hope you have been to academy training, and if you have, think about what you learned and apply it to different situations. Don't do this passively. You need to set aside time and really sit down with you eyes closed and imagine different situations and then visualize yourself handling them correctly. When the time comes it might make the half-a-heartbeat of difference in your mental calculations.

                      Good Luck, and remember "You ain't John Wayne, and this ain't the movies"

                      Go Home Everyday
                      "A fanatic is one who won't change his mind, and won't change the subject." -Winston Churchill

                      "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." -Will Rogers

                      "To desire to save these wolves in society may arise from benevolence, but it must be the benevolence of a child or a fool" -Henry Fielding


                      • #12
                        Im in the same boat here. I've tried to pay attention to the other officers I work with and learn from them but there is still a lot of stuff Im just not sure about, like domestic disturbances, or DWI's, I just haven't done enough of them to be sure, also for some reason I have a hard time smelling beer on somones breath, Im fine with hard liquor but its the beer I just dont seem to smell unless their S**t-faced.
                        On the other hand Ive been told by a few of the older officers that I have had to learn things that most Officers don't get to do or learn for quite awhile. An example was that within the first couple of months I was writing and serving my own arrest warrants, preparing my own cases from the initial arrest to the lab submission to the DA presentation. I also got thrown into maintaining our evidence rooms. I guess you could say its been a hands-on learning experience.
                        The trick comes in keeping yourself out of trouble by knowing what you can handle and knowing where you need to back off and ask for advice, even if that means swallowing your pride from time to time.


                        • #13
                          Try going in on your free time to ride around with more seasoned officers. Just a thought.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RPD13
                            I know there is allot of new rookies out here that get hired on small town departments where your field training is really more like teaching yourself. If anyone out there has any tips, advice, or anything to help us develope just as much as we would with a FTO. I am sure we would all appreciate it. I know I would. Thanks

                            I've been in the reverse situation before. As a supervisor in a large dept with a comprehensive FTO program, I'v made myself available to people in your situation (with the Chief's approval, of course). I can't be an FTO for someone on another dept, but I can offer guidance and advise to new officers, who frequently are working all alone. Sometimes, a new guy just needs a few words of advise, to make sure he's not screwing it up royally.
                            You can now follow me on twitter.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by VIPER
                              Try going in on your free time to ride around with more seasoned officers. Just a thought.
                              I was going to suggest the same thing. Even though it's a pain in the *** to go to work while off-duty I really think you will benefit from riding around with a seasoned officer. Even if you just go once per week for a few weeks I think it will help a lot. Good luck!
                              It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses....Hit it!


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