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Brian Willis

Brian Willis

Brian Willis is a retired officer, trainer and author who now serves as deputy executive director for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

Accepting Remedial Training

Lots of people would love a 'do over' in life.

November 22, 2010  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

During the Field Training program, you'll have a not-so-good day or two. Maybe you're karma isn't working, or it's just a bad day. To complicate matters, your Field Training Officer (FTO) hands you your daily observation report (DOR) and, Egads!

Because you don't have all stellar numbers, you'll have to put in some remedial training time. Stop the train; it's not the end of the world. Let's talk about this.

When they hit an errant shot, informal golfers take a "mulligan," otherwise known as a "do over." It's outside of the rules, but let's remember that this is only a game. How about a do over in life? I could give you a laundry list of things I wish I could do over but that's not life.

Remedial training is something nearly every field training recruit (FTR) must endure. There will be an element in a task that you didn't perform to a satisfactory level, and your FTO will insist you practice this skill before you move forward. It won't be a blemish on your perfect record, and you won't get fired. Calm down and accept the learning moments to come.

This is good for you. If you waltzed through the training program without challenges, you wouldn't push yourself to improve. There's not one recruit who knows all the nuances of their agency straight out of the academy, and nobody is going to get it perfect every time. The problem here is that you're putting needless pressure on yourself.

You must remember that you're in a progressive science here. You go through the process — each element is built on a prior skill. If you don't have the basics down pat, forget the fancy stuff.

I was once told by a high school teacher to treat every day as a new learning experience. If you had to perform remedial training yesterday, don't come in today with a chip on your shoulder. It's over; apply what you've learned today and drive on.

Your FTO is not punishing you; he or she understands what it's going to take for you to make it. Accept the learning moments; be thankful you got a do over. Many of the skills you're learning will be crucial throughout your entire career. You may not appreciate it today, but several years from now it can be beneficial.

Remember, you taught you this and made you work a little harder. Watch a golf match on television one afternoon. When you see a pro golfer woof a putt, wonder if he'd like to have a do over?

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