Field Training Program
When a person is hired to be a police officer, he or she is sent to the Basic Training Program at either the Connecticut Police Academy or at a Police Officer Standards and Training Council-approved Academy. This training, which is by far the most complex training undertaken by a police officer, is aimed at providing the newly hired individual with a basic competency to perform the job of police officer. The basic training program at the Connecticut Police Academy is approximately 22 weeks long encompassing approximately 871 hours of training in 17 different academic areas as well as a series of different practical skill areas. However, the Basic Training Program leaves a gap between the classroom and the “real world” of police work.
For this and other reasons, the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTO) plays an important part in the effective training of new officers. Through exposure to actual street experience and the accompanying field problems, patrol situations, investigations, and crime incidents, the new officer learns to apply classroom principles to real world situations. The purpose of the program is to train new officers so that each is prepared to function as a solo officer at the conclusion of the training cycle. The training cycle consists of a minimum of 400 hours of intensive on-the-job training and daily performance evaluations. Newly hired, certified officers or active police officers within the 12 months prior to their employment with the New Milford Police Department may participate in a modified Field Training Program. The modified program and the duration of such modified program will be proposed by the Field Training Program Coordinator, and reviewed by the Chief of Police for approval. The Chief of Police may approve or deny the request for such modification.
Training is conducted and staffed by field training officers and sergeants on a 24-hour basis. Field training officers have the dual responsibility of providing police service to the Town of New Milford, as well as conducting training and evaluations for new officers. The Field Training Officer leads and directs new officers toward the attainment of the responsibilities and duties associated with the position of police officer. The Field Training Officer explains and demonstrates proper patrol and investigative procedures. He/she explains and complies with departmental goals and objectives while maintaining and fostering a positive relationship with the new officer.
The Field Training Officer establishes a business-like, yet friendly, relationship with the new officer. The Field Training Officer objectively observes and evaluates the new officer’s behavior in accordance with prescribed departmental procedures. He/she will set a high, yet realistic, standards for the new officer through job performance, which adheres to the highest of ethical standards. The Field Training Officer provides on going instruction in the traditional sense, utilizing innovative and practical techniques. On a regular basis, the Field Training Officer will prepare verbal and/or written reports on the relative progress of the new officer and present the report to the training team.
Field Services Sergeants are responsible for the supervision of all personnel assigned to their teams and the FTO Coordinator coordinates and supervises the on-the-job training of new officers. New officers are required to meet specific performance standards in 30 performance categories before being certified for solo patrol duty and field training officers have the important task to ensure the success of every new officer in reaching that goal.
Sources : SJPD http://www.sjpd.org/bfo/fieldtraining/, DOJ https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/105574.pdf, CT POST-C https://portal.ct.gov/POST/BasicTraining-Division/Entry-Certification–Renewal-Requirements, SWPD https://www.southwindsor.org/field-training-officer-program