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  1. #1
    Madmax18 is offline Cadet
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    FTO problems and a ton of stress

    Ok here is a run down on what my story is i just graduated the acadmey i was assigned a FTO for 35 days. Upon meeting my coach i found out he is close to retirement. First thing he tells me is they must be pretty desperate for FTO's if they made him one So i try to go with it, in one week of work we have only made one traffic stop. When i get an incident he sits there and tells me what to charge and type on my report....yesterday i recieved all of my reports back to do over because the investigations were not thorough enough. I do not know what to do, i feel like im between a rock and a hard place, everyone i graduated with is making plenty of stops and learning the ropes of the job and i am learning where the good sleeping spots are and how to pawn incidents off, im also learning how not carry out full investigations. I recieved a comment yesterday at the end of the shift from another officer that pretty much asked why i wasnt checking my citations over before shift change, when i told him i had no citations for 8 hours he gave me a dirty look and said boy they showed you good in the academy. Im a hard worker by nature and when someone thinks that im a slacker it eats at me and im afraid because of the attitude of my coach the rest of my dept thinks i wont work.

    Sorry for the rant but i have no one else to talk to, My friends dont understand, neither do my family.

  2. #2
    Astor is offline Officer
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    That happens. Some FTOs are drafted because of their time on the job, or because there are no volunteers. That's when you know things are desperate (like he said).

    I've only been out of FTO for a little over 3 months. Some of my fellow new officers had an FTO just like the one you describe. He's been on the job since '76, and is awaiting that 30 year retirement. They called him "Uncle Bob" (name change to protect the lazy). I was lucky enough to not get him.

    Is your FTO approachable? Would you feel comfortable expressing your concerns to him?Say you are worried you are falling behind. See how he reacts. I'm sure he can teach you a lot of about the job...it'll just take some prodding and poking to get it out of him.

    Is this going to be the only FTO you have? Most depts, you rotate FTOs every 4 weeks or so.

    Also, I can't imagine why other officers and the rank are judging YOU based on the FTO you ride with, when you had no say-so as to who you were assigned to. It's definately unfair to you.

    Worst comes to worst, tell your sergeant/rank. Use the line "He's a great guy, but I don't feel like I'm learning enough." or "I want more of a challenge."

    Something I did during FTO (*when my FTO wasn't in earshot*); I'd call up a friendly veteran officer and ask him for guidance. Most FTOs want you to do it their way, but yours sounds like he doesn't care how you do it...he just wants the path of least resistance.

    Review your academy materials when it comes to writing tickets and what not. Get copies of good reports and tickets from other (good) officers. It seems overwhelming at first...because it is!

    As for "where the good sleeping spots are...":

    No, you shouldn't sleep on the job. But you shouldn't overextend yourself either. I'm getting that everyday by officers and even some of the rank...because I'm here sometimes an hour or two after my shift ends. Part of it is time management, part trying to be everywhere at once. The work will always be there though...cherish the down time.

    "How to pawn incidents off..."

    Yeah, it's real bad to pawn an incident off on another officer. BUT, it is a good skill to learn to talk your way out of writing reports. You just have to differentiate between incidents that need to be documented vs. BS complaints that arise that would be a waste of time to document.

    He's had prolly a couple a decades on the job, so there must be a least a few things you can learn while your with him.

    Good luck
    Wisdom comes alone through suffering.


  3. #3
    pegaman's Avatar
    pegaman is offline Officer
    Join Date
    May 2003
    don't mess up a good thing
    I suffered through a horrible six week FTO experience with my first job. The officer I was assigned to was morbidly obese and had a terrible attitude about police work. He would park the patrol car in a dark spot and would catch ZZZZZs. It sucked.

    If your FTO's performance is affecting your employment, let someone know. Don't take it sitting down, screw anyone who tells you not to rock the boat of a veteran officer. Sounds like he doesn't even need to be on the road. Otherwise, suffer through it, do what you can, but make it clear to everyone else that is not how you work.

    I'll tell how screwed up the guy was. After I got out of FTO, I stopped a car on midnight shift. After I finished up, he called me to one his favorite napping spots. He told me to stop making traffic stops because it was waking him up. I pretty much told him to shoove it up his fat A$$ and all the while we were having this heated discussion, he was pissing on the side of my patrol car. Nice. Check this out - fat boy finally decided to get out of police work and to try a side job as a hot dog vender downtown. Perfect.
    Last edited by pegaman; 12-07-2004 at 10:49.

  4. #4
    lestat is offline Sergeant
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    you'll be fine. just get through FTO. the bosses and other cops in your station aren't stupid, i'm sure the old guy has a rep as being lazy; so they know what you're up against.
    as was said earlier, ask a vet you trust; or if your dept. is one where the newbies don't talk to the vets, talk to someone closer to you on the totem pole for advice. and remember, this stuff aint rocket science, cops have to do it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! seriously, good common sense and a strong desire to learn will get you very far.
    lastly, either one of two things will happen: you will be released fom FTO or extended. hopefully if you're extended you will get a different coach. if you are released, look to your squad mates for guidance. you made it this far, you'll be fine. working for a police department is like being on a track team, you are constantly jumping hurdles the department puts in front of you.

    good luck.

  5. #5
    NBW791's Avatar
    NBW791 is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Kansas City, MO
    It's been pretty well addressed thus far, but my only question is this:

    You said you haven't been able to make stops, etc. Does he specifically TELL you not to make stops or are you just shy to ask him if it's okay? When I was in the FTO program I just made the stops. The FTO was just there to evaluate and/or help me, but if I saw the violation, I made the stop. That's how I train my recruits too -- if they see a violation and want to stop the car, just do it. You don't need permission from me. Now, if there is any doubt as to whether something is a violation, by all means, ask to make sure first before you make a bad stop.


  6. #6
    Madmax18 is offline Cadet
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Thanks for the advice everyone, Our dept is one where you dont really get to associate with the vets until you our off probation. As for NBW's question me and my FTO work the highway so unless we set up radar we will really not get to make stops, the other day i told him there goes a car without a reg plate and he pretty much told me ohhh im sure they will have some excuse for not having it and he didnt even turn around to stop the car. I was told when i started FTO that do things the way your FTO wants them done and dont go to others for advice. I have another FTO in Mid January and then when im done with him i am on probation for 8 months. Im glad to hear someother people went through what i am... thanks



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