The Elmira Police Department participates in the NYS Field Training and Evaluation program where a Field Training Officer (FTO) will train and assist a new officer for a period of twelve weeks, directly after their academy training. Along with a lengthy academy, almost every new Elmira Police Officer engages in approximately 480 hours of on-the-job training under the direct supervision of an FTO. The Elmira Police Department currently has 32 active Officers who are trained and serve as FTO’s. for the department.
KEY ELEMENTS OF A FIELD TRAINING OFFICER PROGRAM
- The essential components of aim effective Field Training Officer Program can be briefly outlined as follows:
- Full commitment by the department administration to the success of the program.
- Valid evaluation procedures, with strict adherence to established guidelines, to be administered concurrently with training provided.
- Assignment of trained, certified, and effective training officers, to provide the recruit officer with practical application training for the duration of the program.
- A checklist of topics, which directly correspond with each training phase, to be explained and reviewed or demonstrated during the program.
- Train new recruits about the importance of meeting with the public on a more regular basis. Newly hired officers will be trained to communicate more frequently with the citizens of the City of Elmira in an attempt to present the department in a more positive light when interacting with people.
The goal of the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP) is to improve the overall effectiveness of law enforcement service delivery by:
- Improving the overall applicant screening process – Field training and evaluation shall be a function of the Department’s overall applicant screening process designed to facilitate on-the-job observations and performance assessment.
- Establishing a probationary police officer appraisal system – The program is designed to provide a valid, job-related, post-Basic Training Academy evaluation of probationary law enforcement officer performance. The process uses a standardized and systematic approach to documenting probationary officer performance.
- Establishing a program review procedure – The program provides an appraisal system to measure the effectiveness of the Department’s selection and training processes by facilitating feedback to the appropriate sections/units regarding probationary law enforcement officer strengths and weaknesses.
- Improving the probationary law enforcement officer training process – The program provides post-Basic Academy Training and on-the-job training to probationary law enforcement officers. Field Training Officers serve as role models for probationary officers in the development of their skills, knowledge, and abilities.
- Establishing an improved in-service retraining program – The program provides a system of retraining and orientation to sworn officers and supervisors returning to Patrol from extended absences or assignments.
- Establishing career opportunities within the Department – The FTEP is another career path for post-probationary police officers within the Police Department. It provides incentive for the demonstration of proficiency in the skills/knowledge/abilities needed to perform patrol functions. While performing the duties of the FTO, the officer gains experience and knowledge that increases leadership, training/evaluation skills and may enhance career opportunities.