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Field Training For New Officers

Field Training and mentoringThe Field Training Officer (FTO) program is the “street” training for officers just graduating from the academy.  This is a period where newly graduated Police Recruit Officers will take what they learned in the academy and apply it to the street.  For Lateral Police Officers this is a period of preparation, training transition and integration into the San Jose Police Department.  New officers in the FTO program will be assigned to experienced, San Jose Field Training Officers for a seventeen week training and evaluation period.  Our FTO program structure is made up of:

  • Two week “limbo” phase, where new officers observe their assigned primary San Jose FTO's perform their assigned patrol duties
  • Additional four week period with their primary FTO, where new officers begin working towards being a solo patrol officer (FTO's will train and evaluate their performance in the field)
  • New officers will rotate to another shift and will be assigned to a second FTO for a four week period.  New officers will continue working as a patrol officer while their FTO continues to train and evaluate their performance in the field
  • New officers will rotate to another shift and will be assigned to a third FTO for a four week period.  New officers will continue working as a patrol officer while their FTO continues to train and evaluate their performance in the field
  • New officers will rotate back to their original shift and assigned back to their primary FTO.  In this phase, the FTO is now in plain clothes to only observe the officer's performance in the field as if the officer was by himself
  • New officers who have been evaluated and have received satisfactory ratings will work as a solo patrol officer for one week in an FTO District prior to being assigned to a Phase III Patrol Team.  During Phase III they will receive bi-weekly then monthly evaluations as a solo patrol officer.

During the Field Training Program new officers will take weekly quizzes, a mid-term exam and a final exam.  At ten months, all new officers attend an Oral Board Assessment comprised of their supervisors and commanders.  The successful completion of the Oral Board Assessment determines if the officer will be retained as a permanent employee.

The SJPD FTO Program has been emulated across the country and is the FTO model of choice for the majority of law enforcement agencies. The FTO Program is staffed by the unit commander, administrative sergeant, administrative officer, FTO sergeants, and FTO officers.


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