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  • Problems with new Trainees?

    I have been in Law Enforcement for going on 13 years now. I am and have been a Field Training Officer (FTO) for my department for going on six years now. I came initially from the military where the training was shall we say "in your face". When I got involved in Law Enforcement it was this same way, and I adapted very well to the para-miltary environment. We are now coming across these new recruits who have never been exposed to this type of environment and basically shut down when placed in a stressful situation. I am assuming that this is not an issue that we are alone in experiencing. How are others over coming this new generations way of thinking? This so-called "Y" Generation. I find myself wanting to strangle them sometimes, LOL. Any input would be appreciated.

  • #2
    My first police-related training experience was at the Law Enforcement course at the USAF Security Police Academy in 1980, followed by the local police academy in 1981. At that time, the AF was what I would consider medium in the structure at the SP school -- up about 0430 -- breakfast, the morning run & PT and then class at 0700 until 1600 or so, and then we were released. (You could change into civies and go to the club for a few beers if you wanted to). I greatly enjoyed SP school. I think it's a lot more structured all the way through now.

    Our local academy is more structured than in past years, and they don't harass the students (and I don't think they should) but it does need to be more structured and organized. (I teach there part-time and I've had that opinion for 20 years)

    As an FTO or firearms instructor, I prefer to train in a structured environment and test under stress. I don't think adding stress over issues that are unimportant has any particular training value.

    I recently spoke to trainers involved in the Academy for the Madison PD and also for the State Patrol, and they have both noticed an increased number of trainess who "lock up" when going through scenario testing at the end of the Academy. I only occassionally get involved in doing scenario training at the local regional academy, so I can't speak to that issue from any recent personal experience.

    I've always found that recruits with some kind of relevant experience (military law enforcement, working for a good private security firm) tend to come up to speed quicker both at the academy and in field training because they have some real life experience to relate to.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Jeff for your response. I totally agree in the fact that when you are working with recruits or trainees that have come from either a military or para- military background, they do progress quicker. The problem we seem to be having is that we are finding less and less of these recruits and more and more of the ones without any "Worldly" experience.

      Comment


      • #4
        A question from a Trainee who does not want to be a Problem

        Hello,

        I hope you don't mind me adding to this thread with a question. There is a good chance that I will be going to the DPSST (Oregon Police, Fire, etc.. Acacemy) for basic police training in June. I am at the end of the application process for Entry Level Community Police Officer with the Portland Police Bureau. I have been working on getting myself prepared for training physically and mentally.

        I read on the DPSST website that a few agencies had problems with new recruits being "hyper-vigilant" and they would like the training to cover communication and empathy more.

        It sounds like you have experienced recruits who have not been properly prepared for high stress situations.

        Maybe the academy in Nevada has taken a different approach than the one in Oregon. Nevertheless, I would like to get the most out or my training that I can. I want to make sure I am prepared for high-stress situations without loosing my sense of compassion.

        I have no military training and I can not imagine being hyper-vigilant. Keeping that in mind, what advise would you, or any other experienced police officer, give for a new recruit to get the most out of basic academy training.

        Thanks in advance,

        D
        07/12/08: Written Exam for Portland - Passed
        09/13/08: PAT - Passed
        10/02/08: Oral Interview - Passed
        01/22/09: Final interview w/BI
        02/24/09: Psych Eval - Passed
        02/26/09: Medical Exam - Passed
        03/05/09: Hire date for Temp position
        04/16/09: Sworn in
        04/27/09: Pre-Street Academy

        Comment


        • #5
          As an FTI, I have found myself writing things like, "lacks situational awareness" or "Officer lacks focus" or "Not Responding to Training"...

          I had a rookie, he was in his last phase of Field Training, and when presented with a basic scenario, he was at a loss for words.....

          I as well as many of the Field Training Instructors in my Dept. are frustracted, but I think you have to continue to try to instill a sense of pride and accomplishment in the new officers that they are carrying on a fine tradition,, blah blah blah,, I try to find things that they think are important and have them concentrate on that.

          Comment


          • #6
            As a 25 year old officer with less than a year on the job and no military background, I can't answer your question but I can give my particular point of view. I think there are a couple things at play here. First, across the nation, departments are being pushed to recruit the higher educated above those with military training. Let's be honest- the real world experience one gets in the military is very different from what you 'learn' in college. I feel I can say this, as I've seen how former military as well as college educated react in a high stress environment. And yes... I'm a college grad. While not discounting an education, I'd rather have someone who has been through basic, deployment, etc. standing next to me when it hits the fan, rather than someone who can explain where the Shire-Reeve system was developed. (Yeah, we learned that in college)
            At the same time, training programs are being pushed to be 'kinder and gentler' in order to keep their graduation rates up and believe it or not, insurance rates down. My former state academy had to cut out its "boxing week" due to injuries and its insurance company threatening to drop coverage. This is a dangerous trend that is eventually going to get good officers hurt or killed. If you don't have what it takes, for the safety of others, you need to be cut loose!
            Also, a lot of it comes down to "Are you cut out for this?" As always, there are those who can do this job and those that can't. I've been through a state academy and a local academy, and I've seen both.
            While I'm no veteran and still learning every day how to do this job, I thought this might give our point of view.

            ---Oh, and yeah- A LOT of my generation are turds who have no place behind a badge or anything else, except maybe a fast food counter!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              I disagree strongly with the assertion that a military background and high stress academy is necessary to create a successful leo. Some people regardless of whether they ever served a day in the military, can handle stress better than others.
              What is Perseverance?
              -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
              -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
              -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


              BOP - BPA - ICE

              Comment


              • #8
                Most normal people’s first real experience with stress comes when they hit the academy. I was prior military and had no issues.

                Some of these college style academies do nothing to prepare the new guys for the street.

                When you get a new person just ask them questions about their background and training. You can then understand how they react to stress and are making the decisions they are making.

                The first time you get punched in the mouth on the street is not a good time for it to be a new experience.

                I also think departments are putting way too much on how well they score on written tests and have a degree. I would rather have a guy who did ok in school, got into some minor trouble and working as a handyman for 4 years then most of these highly educated, with no life experience people we are hiring today
                "Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter. You will meet them doing various things with resolve, but their interest rarely holds because after the other thing ordinary life is as flat as the taste of wine when the taste buds have been burned off your tongue." -Ernest Hemingway

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 1AssToRisk View Post
                  Most normal people’s first real experience with stress comes when they hit the academy. I was prior military and had no issues.

                  Some of these college style academies do nothing to prepare the new guys for the street.

                  When you get a new person just ask them questions about their background and training. You can then understand how they react to stress and are making the decisions they are making.

                  The first time you get punched in the mouth on the street is not a good time for it to be a new experience.

                  I also think departments are putting way too much on how well they score on written tests and have a degree. I would rather have a guy who did ok in school, got into some minor trouble and working as a handyman for 4 years then most of these highly educated, with no life experience people we are hiring today
                  I agree. Well said

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've noted that too and have addressed on other (LE) boards. I think it'll be worth repeating..

                    Generation "WHINE"... Y

                    What NVDetective wrote is right on point. Seems we need to hold hands more, mentor and guide them through and once in awhile, go to bandcamp and sing campfire songs with them.

                    For us, we've extended the orientation period and included a few (controlled) situationals early on to engage the trainee and get them involved. Sort of extending the "practicals" in the (CA) academy....

                    It has helped but then we have the "other" part of Gen Y attitude, the attitude of entitlement and the blame someone else (i.e. it's not my fault), which "training / development" that we cannot help or solve.
                    ''Life's tough......it's tougher if you're stupid.''
                    -- John Wayne

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Kansan I thought you were still waiting to get a job? It is called stress innoculation and the best way to get a grip on handling the issue is a high stressful situation in a controlled enviroment so you learn hjow to properly handle your self. No one is born a hero and if you think everything will be fine when your blod pressure shoots up and you hormones get dumped because your a tough guy, good luck.

                      That is the reason they yell and scream and give several conflicting orders while your in training/boot camp. You learn to process thoughts, ideas, and to prioritize while your in a bad situation. No it is not the exact same and it is not perfect, but if you have no experience with it then when the shtf you will find your self in shock, lethargic, non reactive, and a victim.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I refer to them as the new breed.

                        Back in the day...individuals knew they wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement at an early stage in life. Nowadays, its for different reasons, money being one. Lets be real..what other job can you make six figures with a high school education?

                        This new generation is different to say the least. You can't tell them anything because they already know it.....what they don't realize is, times have changed and it's starting to get really nasty out there. We just buried four brothers who were veteran officers. There isn't a time out button for when the crap hit the fan.

                        Most have zero life experience and some still live at home with their mommy and daddy! Instead of thinking outside the picture they tend to get sucked into the situation.

                        How do we overcome this new breed way of thinking? All we can do is ensure they get the training from those who have been there done that, not kids teaching kids. Build a foundation where they can be the best and more importantly stay alive. It is in their best interest to listen and practice what is preached.

                        Those who aren't able to react or adapt to the ever changing situations need to get out for their safety and the safety of other officers. You either have it or you don't and if you don't see ya! This isn't a game.

                        So to answer your question, no it's just not your dept..the problem is apparently widespread.
                        This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NORCOCOP View Post
                          Kansan I thought you were still waiting to get a job?
                          I am still trying to find full-time work in law enforcement. I personally know quite a few good officers who never served in the military, and didn't attend paramilitary academies, yet somehow, they have excelled at their jobs. How is that possible? According to some here, they should have frozen up the first time a suspect yelled at them.

                          My point is that your generalizations are pointless.
                          What is Perseverance?
                          -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
                          -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
                          -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


                          BOP - BPA - ICE

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I call it "Generation Me". "I deserve that..." "I expect that..." "Above and beyond? Does it pay me more?" Very, very frustrating.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheKansan View Post
                              I am still trying to find full-time work in law enforcement. I personally know quite a few good officers who never served in the military, and didn't attend paramilitary academies, yet somehow, they have excelled at their jobs. How is that possible? According to some here, they should have frozen up the first time a suspect yelled at them.

                              My point is that your generalizations are pointless.
                              Are You Employed in the Law Enforcement Industry:
                              Yes
                              Law Enforcement Agency:
                              Kansas
                              Are You a Sworn Police Officer:
                              No
                              Interests:
                              fishing
                              Rank/Title:
                              Deputy Sheriff
                              Years Experience:
                              9 months
                              Occupation:
                              Dish Network Satellite Technician, Reserve Deputy Sheriff
                              Location:
                              Kansas City

                              So all of us that have over a decade of police service, have taken 1000s of run and made countless stops. Interacted with ****loads of police officers, been on the two way range a few times, but really have no clue what we are talking about because you with your vast amount of road time and experience, KNOW a few good police officers that were not in the military.

                              Not to be a dick but your need to get a freaking reality check. You are a Reserve Deputy Sheriff. Part of being a good cop is listening and knowing when to put in your 2 cents. Seems to me you have not grasped that yet.

                              I can tell you as fact that this generation of police officer is not the greatest. They are more worried about time off and not going that extra mile then doing what needs to be done. I have seen them show up with a 4 year degree, but have no idea how to change a tire. They are so engrossed in text messaging with their new IPod that they have no clue I drove up next to them 10 minutes ago.

                              Bottom line to this is until someone has BTDT maybe they need to keep off the air.
                              Last edited by 1AssToRisk; 04-23-2009, 07:35 AM. Reason: SP
                              "Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter. You will meet them doing various things with resolve, but their interest rarely holds because after the other thing ordinary life is as flat as the taste of wine when the taste buds have been burned off your tongue." -Ernest Hemingway

                              Comment

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