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Be a Mentor, Not a Monster

Be a Mentor, Not a Monster

Great mentors seem to live for the teaching moments of life. It is easy to scream at someone who makes a mistake. It takes patience to seize a mistake and turn it into a learning experience. The leader who takes you aside for a teaching moment is a real leader.

August 21, 2013

How To Find a Career Counselor

How To Find a Career Counselor

I learned a valuable story from an old U.S. Army first sergeant years ago. Never plan for your next assignment/promotion when it is posted. You should have been working on this goal.

February 8, 2013

Counseling Skills for FTOs

Counseling Skills for FTOs

First and foremost, counseling is an art that you don't master the first time or by suffering through a boring psychological lecture. You learn by doing. You'll make mistakes, and you'll have to work hard every time you provide counsel.

September 19, 2012

How to Ruin Your Daily Evaluation

How to Ruin Your Daily Evaluation

Through my years of dealing with rookies, I've read far too many cavalier statements by either brash or totally unwitting rookies. Here are the most common ones that you'll want to avoid.

August 21, 2012

Keeping FTOs Sharp Between Hiring Cycles

Keeping FTOs Sharp Between Hiring Cycles

Teaching can be a perishable skill, so you've got to practice. There are several outlets for an FTO to practice his or her skill set. We want to keep the mind sharp by providing a workout for the instructional part of the brain.

July 16, 2012

Murphy's Law for Police Rookies

Murphy's law is the adage that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Count on these three Murphy-isms to crop up during your first year as an officer.

June 20, 2012

I Can't Stand My FTO!

The role of the Field Training Officer (FTO) is more or less defined as that of a one-on-one supervisor and trainer. They're the direct connection between graduates of the academy and self-actuated functioning police officers. The FTO has a defined mission to be the trainer, evaluator, supervisor, confessor, and many other roles.

June 6, 2012

The Good Old Days

Let's not relive the past. Listen to the recruits' questions and help them. I can recall several questions that were fired at me from the old dinosaurs of my youth. Let's go over a few.

May 16, 2012

Recruit Life As a Single Parent

This blog often focuses on tactics, off-duty survival, surviving the FTO program, or making it though the academy. However, what can often get overlooked is making it through those first few years as a parent. A single-parent recruit has been given the most difficult assignment of all.

December 7, 2011

FTOs: Guardians at the Gates

FTOs: Guardians at the Gates

The Field Training Officer (FTO) stands as the guardian at the gates leading to Copland. The FTO is the link from the academy to the realities and harshness of real-life applications. They oversee how you apply all of the principles you've been taught and determine whether you're worthy of carrying on the burden of these to the next generation.

October 17, 2011

Games To Enhance Your Performance

Games To Enhance Your Performance

A recruit may wonder if he or she will ever get some down time. My job is to drive you to develop a fine knowledgeable officer, rather than someone wanting an easy pass. Training is hard work, even if it's a game.

June 27, 2011

FTOs Must Embrace a Change Agent Role

I've always believed that the FTO should be the first one registered for training. If they are to pass on the knowledge, they have to be the sharpest. They need to be the ones leading way to embrace and implement change for the good.

June 13, 2011

Know Your Recruit

If you find yourself in the role of Field Training Officer (FTO) or occasional trainer, please make an effort to understand the background of your recruits. For the one-on-one trainer, try to grasp the knowledge, skills, and abilities of your trainee. If both of you do this, you'll save yourself wasted time, aggravation, ruffled student, egos and probably maximize valuable training time.

April 26, 2011

FTO Generational Gap

FTO Generational Gap

Don't think you'll be able to set back your clock and readjust your "cool level" to theirs. If you've given an analogy and had to explain it, you've committed a faux pas. Face it. There are generational icons that we still use that many don't understand.

February 7, 2011

Doing It In the Dark

Doing It In the Dark

Academies love to train you under perfect well-lit conditions; the FTO loves to train you under the adverse conditions. Take your skills to new and higher levels. Go practice in the dark.

November 30, 2010