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  • FTO questions

    To any officers who are field training officers:

    After 4 years of service in my department, I was recently made a field training officer. My very first trainee comes to me in about 2 weeks. I was surprised to learn that my trainee is going to be a retired Master Sergeant from the Army and is 22 years older than me. My question is this: Have any of you even encountered a similar circumstance? I perform my job well and am confident in my abilities, and I know that I would be doing a disservice to this trainee if I were to be any less strict with him than I would be to a younger trainee. Having said that, I am concerned about relating to a guy who is so much older than me and it might be awkward for him to take orders from someone who is young enough to be his son. Any advice/ideas???

  • #2
    As a Master Sgt with 22 years of experience he has probably trained hundreds of young soldiers and I'm sure he would expect you to treat him as the trainee he is. If he doesn't, do what you have to do and document it.
    "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kickass -- and I'm all out of bubblegum."

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    • #3
      Its not as uncommon as you think. Most trainees with alot of experience (including military) know whats expected of them. The ones I have trained in the past have been the best I could ask for. I once had a guy that was a Lt detective at his previous dept. He taught me some interview skills and I taught him our policy and proceedure. I have also seen other FTO's with nightmare trainees that were experienced, but it is not the norm (atleast where I have worked).
      Work harder! Millions on welfare depend on you...

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      • #4
        Just remember that regardless what his age and military experience is your Law Enforcement experience is substantially greater than his. This is why you are training him and not the other way around.

        Besides, it's not like you have to talk down to someone to train them. In fact that's a bad idea (as I'm sure you know). If you treat him professionally you'll be fine. Just don't hold back if he screws up. You'll be doing everyone a diservice.
        Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

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        • #5
          Happens all the time. Train him as you would any other Recruit Officer. What will happen is, as he progresses in your Dept, his military experience, plus your efforts as an FTO, will enhance his career. In short, he'll be a better Officer.

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          • #6
            Being from the Military, I'm guessing the guy has a pretty good idea of what is expected of him and is probably prepared to be corrected and instructed by you, the expereinced cop.

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            • #7
              Career military are generally some of the easiest ones to train. They understand the paramilitary nature of the job. They take direction well and usually ask appropriate questions. They generally have a higher maturity level. One of the guys I trained last year was a retired 1st sgt. Great guy learned quickly and turned out to be a great officer and a good friend. Granted he was only a few years older than I and I'm also prior military. I just went into LE as soon as I got out of my first enlistment. Don't sweat it.
              The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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              • #8
                I have had that exact same scenario......it shouldnt be a problem and for the most part you should not treat them any different. If he was career military he should know the drill and go with the flow.....if he can't then he probably will not do well in this career choice. Wether good things or bad things.....document them and train them the best that you can.

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                • #9
                  The new recruits are one thing, next will be when you do re-entry training. Now that is where it can get wierd. Training someone who has been a police officer 10 years longer than you but has been off the street for a period of time. To get back into patrol, at least here, they have to ride with a FTO for a re-entry phase...

                  Talk about battle of wills...
                  "Oro En Paz, Fierro En Guerra"
                  "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
                  - Attributed to both George Orwell and Winston Churchill (unsourced)
                  Californian by birth, Cardinals fan by marriage!

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                  • #10
                    22 years older or fresh out of high-school you are the trainer and hopefully he is there to learn from you... He might be a seasoned veteren or he coule be a complete idiot... You too should be able to learn from his experiences (even if it is WHAT NOT TO DO).

                    Have fun and be safe!
                    ...Did you call the Boys in Blue or the Man in Tan?

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                    • #11
                      Based on being a corp trainer ( not LEO yet) so I will just chime i that i always instruct and teach together - and I treat them as an equal. Just do that and you will be all good....
                      All is 10-61 here you can show me 10-8!

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                      • #12
                        This person is counting on you to teach him how to be a peace officer. Part of that training is to slap his wee-wee if he gets out of line. If you couldn't do this job, it wouldn't have been given to you. Forget his age, forget his experience and just teach him how to do things that will hold up in court and keep him from getting killed.
                        sigpic
                        Don't make me gassy.
                        You wouldn't LIKE me when I'm gassy...
                        _________________________________

                        If you're offended by something that I've said...it was just your turn.

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                        • #13
                          I understand where you are coming from. I have had to be the shift supervisor on shifts with officers who have twice as many years on the job as me and had been recently stripped of their status as supervisor. Fortunately for me, these officers are professionals and realize that I had nothing to do with the decision and treated me as they would any other supervisor.

                          In your case, I cant blame you for being slightly intimidated. However, as another poster wrote, your are the boss. The FTO programs that I have attended all say that you are this person's direct SUPERVISOR. They answer to you and their very fate revolves around their successful completion of the program.

                          I would suggest a little chat with the newbie. Explain the program to him. The age difference will be obvious and he perhaps should be reminded of when he was brand new to the military. You may learn something from him but he will no doubt learn more from you. My experiences with training ex-military folks is that they are generally squared away but lack actual law enforcement skills. Their idea of clearing a building is throwing a grenade in through a window. I am not casting aspersions on all, but the grenade scenario actually happened at my academy with one of my classmates!

                          Be humble and change nothing that you do and you should be fine. Good Luck...

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                          • #14
                            Thanks, everyone. I went to the academy the other day and met my trainee. All of the academy staff told me that he was great and would cause no problems at all.

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                            • #15
                              How did it go, any lessons you can share? What experiences good/bad did you have trying to train someone so much older than you?
                              Love the job, but hate the paperwork!

                              My favorite Field Training Program | FTO Software . Customizable for Police, Corrections, Dispatch, and EMS, but not priced to break the training budget. Annual Performance Evaluations don't have to be that hard either.

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