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Advice from FTOs

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  • Advice from FTOs

    I am beginning week 4 with my current trainee, and I've encountered an issue I haven't in previous trainees. He does OK out on the street, but when we get back to the station to write reports, I want to bash my head through the wall. The poor kid has no command of the English language. It's beyond the occasional typo, which I completely expect. His reports are full of misspellings, run on sentences, fragments, random capitalizations, sentences that just don't make any sense, basically every grammar error you can imagine is present. Our last shift, he completed a DWI/narcotics possession report. After I printed it and made corrections, I counted over 60 grammar errors.

    My question is, has anyone encountered this before and what did you do? Is it my place to suggest remedial English books? We work in a college town, so I'm sure there's some English major or instructor that would be willing to make a couple extra bucks for a tutoring session, but, again, I don't know if that's really my place. I have talked to our FTO coordinator on a couple different occasions. He said to turn in printed reports with my notes on them along with my DORs and to keep documenting the issues, which I'm doing. I want to see this guy succeed, but part of me feels like being able to write is a minimum requirement and not something we should have to spend time on in FTO.

    Thanks for any advice.

  • #2

    Sí, tenemos el mismo problema. Inglés es el segundo idioma y los reclutadores no les importa. Ellos sólo quieren que mosaico.
    September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

    Comment


    • #3
      or....depending on where you work....

      Yo Yo, scrate up we's gots da same problem, yo. da politician love it yo an don't make me pull mah gat!
      September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dc140 View Post
        I am beginning week 4 with my current trainee, and I've encountered an issue I haven't in previous trainees. He does OK out on the street, but when we get back to the station to write reports, I want to bash my head through the wall. The poor kid has no command of the English language. It's beyond the occasional typo, which I completely expect. His reports are full of misspellings, run on sentences, fragments, random capitalizations, sentences that just don't make any sense, basically every grammar error you can imagine is present. Our last shift, he completed a DWI/narcotics possession report. After I printed it and made corrections, I counted over 60 grammar errors.

        My question is, has anyone encountered this before and what did you do?
        Is it my place to suggest remedial English books? We work in a college town, so I'm sure there's some English major or instructor that would be willing to make a couple extra bucks for a tutoring session, but, again, I don't know if that's really my place. I have talked to our FTO coordinator on a couple different occasions. He said to turn in printed reports with my notes on them along with my DORs and to keep documenting the issues, which I'm doing. I want to see this guy succeed, but part of me feels like being able to write is a minimum requirement and not something we should have to spend time on in FTO.
        It is your place to document which tasks the PPO is doing well and the ones he is having problems with. I have three new officers in FTO now and the writing could make or break them. If written communications is a task that your agency rates, you have to be honest and provide the opportunity for the PPO to bring his game up to an acceptable level.

        If the ability to write has not been addressed up until this point and your PPO is unable to do it, you may have to spend time on it. We are grown men and women, we carry firearms and are required to make life changing decisions on a regular basis. It IS NOT too much to ask to have the skills and ability to document your work. Officers who author inferior reports detract from what should be the profession of law enforcement. You have a great opportunity to (pardon the cliché) break the cycle for at least one officer.


        “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

        George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by slamdunc View Post
          It is your place to document which tasks the PPO is doing well and the ones he is having problems with. I have three new officers in FTO now and the writing could make or break them. If written communications is a task that your agency rates, you have to be honest and provide the opportunity for the PPO to bring his game up to an acceptable level.

          If the ability to write has not been addressed up until this point and your PPO is unable to do it, you may have to spend time on it. We are grown men and women, we carry firearms and are required to make life changing decisions on a regular basis. It IS NOT too much to ask to have the skills and ability to document your work. Officers who author inferior reports detract from what should be the profession of law enforcement. You have a great opportunity to (pardon the cliché) break the cycle for at least one officer.

          In all seriousness, I have had this conversation with our Training Division......I can teach a PPO how to write a report, I can teach a PPO what the elements of a crime are in real life (not classroom), I can teach a PPO where to route reports for follow-up investigation, BUT it is not my job to teach a PPO sixth grade grammar, punctuation, or official titles. For example, while waiting for the ME to respond, my trainee put in his report that he waited for the "Body Snatchers" to respond and take possession of the deceased.
          September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

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          • #6
            Thank God for spellcheck and autocorrect.

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            • #7
              Friday......... recruits are starting on Friday:/

              Aside from documenting, have you had the "wtf is wrong with you?" talk?
              I make my living on Irish welfare.

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              • #8
                Fail. He needs to be dropped. Keeping him on is doing no service to the citizens...
                Now go home and get your shine box!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                  Fail. He needs to be dropped. Keeping him on is doing no service to the citizens...
                  I agree with 3C’s, don’t kick the can down the road....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I used to see this all the time, usually from a product of an inner city public school education. I don't think it is the FTO's job to teach English grammar and punctuation. Start letting him turn in the reports to your supervisor (Sergeant?) for approval, without making all the grammatical corrections. But document, document, document. And if the approving authority/supervisor is ok with reports that are a grammatical mess - assuming the relevant facts are in it - then so be it. If not, then it gets bumped up the ladder for the Training Sergeant (whoever supervises the cadre of FTO's and trainees) and let him make the decision for which he gets the big bucks.

                    BTW, when I was assigned as a Desk/Shift Sgt and had to approve reports - back in the 1980's - if a trainee turned in a really crappy unreadable report, I'd light it on fire before his very eyes, and hand the flaming paperwork back to him, much to the delight of the other Deps, and the consternation of the offending trainee. Eventually the quality of of the reports did improve. However I would not advocate this technique now; today's trainee, faced with such a learning incentive, would likely write a report naming the Sergeant as an arson suspect, and then scurry off to the unit's designated Safe Space for Victims of Micro-Agressions, pending the arrival of the Internal Affairs investigators.

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                    • #11
                      Basic English writing skills is a must. If the report writing is the only skill that is severely lacking, then I'd have an informal "heart to heart" with the PPO and advise them to get some remedial English training YESTERDAY. It would then be up to them to figure out how to solve the deficiency.

                      In our agency we have a "new guy" who was an English major who turns in very brief reports that lack relevant elements. Some of them sound really good, but read more like a work of Shakespeare. Really sad, as this 20 something is otherwise an OK guy.
                      Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

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                      • #12
                        If he isn't using a grammar check program at the very least, what is he doing? I mean he ought to be making some adjustments at this point if you have to consistently have him correct this issue. If he gets unsatisfactory ratings on report writing everyday on his evaluations then so be it. This is an issue, I think, that the department has no obligation in providing him with assistance, even though it could if you all wanted. But, he should seek his own help and be able to document it, if he wants to see his unsats go up.

                        If he has to use example reports to go by, that may give him some clue as to what you expect. I don't envy you. Hope you get it worked out soon.

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                        • #13
                          There is NO excuse for not being able to hand write a report. No computer checks, no grammar check, nothing.
                          Now go home and get your shine box!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Have a chat with the mopes who passed him on testing for hire and let him graduate from the academy.
                            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                              There is NO excuse for not being able to hand write a report. No computer checks, no grammar check, nothing.
                              There is absolutely no excuse for this, but I have heard about two-dozen of them. They sound like the kid whose dog ate his homework and I have no sympathy for them.

                              “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

                              George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

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