I've been an FTO (Field Training Officer) for a couple months now and I think I'm learning as much as the rookies I'm training. I thought I'd share a few things I've learned and experienced so far.
First thing I've learned is that training new officers is way different than just doing the job. I had decided to take more of "coaching" role as a trainer, because that was the method that I learned better from when I was a trainee. Taking this type of role, I believe, has allowed the trainees to be more relaxed, and not so afraid to make mistakes. This has also allowed me to form a better relationship of trust with the trainees while they are learning. It has also allowed me to be more candid in my assessment and critique of their performance.
The second thing I've learned is that no trainee is the same. Even remotely the same. I have had four different trainees over the past month or so, because I am a secondary FTO, and each one was completely different in their learning style, and knowledge from academy. They are also completely different in their confidence level, and what they perceive as their ability. From recognizing things, to even talking on the radio. I've been careful to try and reenforce what they are strong in, while trying to trying to build their confidence in what they are weak in.
One of the hardest things for me has been learning to take a back seat, and letting them handle calls in their way, and learning how to become their own officer. I recently found myself rewriting a rookie's report instead of telling him what to change, and letting him do it. It's like trying to teach my son. It's hard to watch your kid fail at something, and I have learned that it is hard to let the rookie fail on their own as well. That is something I am constantly working on.
So far I have gotten along with each rookie I've trained, and look forward to watching them progress on their training and become police officers. This has breathed a new life into my career, and so far I really enjoy this role as a Field Training Officer.
I'm sure some funny stories are soon to come, and believe me, I WILL be sharing them.
Until next time, take care of each other and be safe,