What is Field Training

Field Training in essence, is a test. It is a test of whether or not the Probationary Police Officer can actually perform the job he has been hired to do. The Field Training Program test is valid because of its content. Simply put, the content of the program is the job and the job is the test the PPO must pass. The PPO is not being asked to perform the job of a firefighter, EMT technician etc, he is being asked to perform the job of a Police Officer in actual field conditions. If he is unable to perform the job, he fails the test and is dismissed. In order to have a Field Training Program one must determine what the job of a Police Officer entails. Once it is determined what the agency wants the PPO to be able to do, it must decide how it will teach, train and guide the PPO and how it will evaluate the progress of the PPO. Selected Field Training Officers need to be well versed in the Field Training Program and be educated in how to train, teach, guide and how to evaluate the PPO’S understanding of the material and the skills performed by the PPO. A common misconception is that being a Field Training Officer is easy. It takes a lot of effort, patience and concern from the FTO.

Knowing what knowledge and skills the PPO needs to perform and teaching him/her how to accomplish the task is what field training is all about. Providing the Probationary Police Officer with the knowledge and tools, and providing the Field Training Officer (FTO) with the skill to teach, train, guide and evaluate are the foundations for an efficient, successful and professional police department. FTO’S who display a positive attitude toward the department’s goals and objectives help instill support in the PPO for the department’s management and policy structure. The FTO’S will also benefit by learning and practicing supervisory skills. It is not uncommon for the sergeants and other line supervisors on a department to have been FTO’S earlier in their careers. A well documented, standardized Field Training Program will protect the Pharr Police Department against negligent retention or admission. The program allows to have the documentation readily available to demonstrate why the PPO has not measured up to standards set by the Pharr Police Department Field Training Program. The department will be able to show the effort that has been made to develop the PPO into a good officer.

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