Field Training Officer (FTO) Program

Field Training and Evaluation Program — Purpose and Description

Image of Field Training officersThe purpose of the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTO) is to train new officers so that each is prepared to function as a solo beat officer at the conclusion of their training cycle.

The training cycle consists of 17-20 weeks of intensive on-the-job training and daily performance evaluations. Training is conducted and staffed by field training officers and sergeants on a 24-hour basis.

Field training officers have the dual responsibility of providing police service in their assigned beats, as well as conducting training and evaluations for new officers. Field training sergeants are responsible for the supervision of all personnel assigned to their teams and for coordinating and supervising the on-the-job training of recruit officers.

Image of Field Traing Program in actionOfficers are required to meet specific performance standards in 30 performance categories before being certified for solo patrol duty. After completion of the FTO program, each officer is assigned to a patrol team. During this time, the officer is evaluated on a biweekly basis by their patrol sergeant. As the officers near the completion of their probationary period, the FTO program administers a formal oral board examination to review the officer's performance as a solo beat officer. Officers who have performed at an acceptable level and pass their 10 Month Oral Interview are recommended for retention as permanent employees.

The FTO Program is also responsible for coordinating and conducting the POST mandated 40 hr. Field Training Officer Seminar for all new field training officers and sergeants. In addition, outside agencies from California and other states routinely attend each course to become certified in the San Jose model of the Field Training Program.

Program Objectives

  • Image of Field Training mentorship and training. To train and evaluate all recruit officers in preparation for solo patrol duty.
  • To achieve a 90% success rate for all recruit officers trained.
  • To train newly appointed field training officers and sergeants in preparation for their new duties.
  • To provide information and training to outside agencies in the development and implementation of the San Jose Model of the Field Training and Evaluation Program.


Prior to the early 1970s, the San Jose Police Department utilized little formalized training before assigning a new police officer to solo patrol duty. In the late 1960s, policy was established which required all officers to attend a California’s P.O.S.T. (Police Officer Standardized Training) certified academy prior to street duty. Unfortunately, no program existed to assist the recruit officer in bridging the gap between classroom theory and street application.

In the summer of 1971, after a year of review and planning, a Recruit Training Management Program, developed by Lt. Robert Allen, was adopted. The program was loosely based on a military training model. Lt Allen, who was then promoted to Captain, coordinated the formation of the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTO) with Chief Robert Murphy and Dr. Michael D. Roberts, the City's Director of Psychological Services. The Program required that a new officer be paired with a veteran officer who would provide training and mentorship in a structured fourteen week program. The FTO Program was innovative and truly provided the framework for a new officer to build and develop his skills in a structured environment under the watch of an FTO.

In June 1972, the first twelve Field Training Officers attended an FTO seminar conducted by the Oakland Police Department. By fall, the FTO Program was ready to be tested with its first thirteen recruit officers. The veteran officers had the responsibility of not only training the new officers, but ensuring objectivity to identify unacceptable recruit officers.

In 1973, Officer Doug Zwemke, who held a Masters Degree in psychology, worked with Dr. Roberts to identify specific behavior traits. Zwemke read over 3,500 Daily Observation Reports (DOR) of recruit officers and identified and categorized thirty one traits that were deemed necessary for a police officers success. This lead to the revision of the DOR rating criteria and the development of the standardized guidelines, the standard officers would use in their evaluation.

In that same year, the San Jose FTO Program received national recognition from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for its contribution to police science and technology. A year later the California Legislature, in an effort to set standards for police training, adopted the San Jose Model as a state standard. The FTO Program has been emulated across the country by many law enforcement agencies. Today, the eighteen-week FTO Program is staffed by the Unit Commander, Administrative sergeant, Administrative officer, 15 FTO sergeants, and up to 100 FTO officers.

Unit Commander: Lt. Jason Herr
Office Phone: (408) 537-9995
Email Form: Field Training Officer Program


Photo of first 12 FTO officers taken in 1972

Photo of the first 12 FTO officers, taken in 1972

Standing: Ron McFall, Mike Nichols, Jim McGraw, Bob Gummow, Joe Nunes, (outside agency), Jack Morris, Robert Allen, Richard Yuhas
Kneeling: (outside agency), Lew Smith, Mike Miceli, Glen Kaminsky

The City of San José is committed to open and honest government and strives to consistently meet the community's expectations by
providing excellent service, in a positive and timely manner, and in the full view of the public. Read more about the City Code of Ethics.