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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    1

    Command Presence

    I am a FTO and currently have an assigned probationary officer that needs a lot of improvement with command presence. They have a great attitude, but really lack any form of assertiveness. I have never had to really push this attribute with an OIT, usually it is the other way around. Does anyone have ideas, tips, or resources?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Where I hang my hat.
    Posts
    1,696
    I think with the direction our society is going, this will be an increasing issue. While working my other job, we taught scene control for first responders. It was part of the American Red Cross curriculum but frankly if they are timid passed academy, not learning the trait through FTO or by the example of other officers, this may not help...not that I advocate the books but On Combat or On Killing...by Grossman..He talks about the warrior mindset which could logically translate to presence, but who knows. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Looking through your bank records & garbage..
    Posts
    1,301
    How far along in Field Training is the recruit? I don't think it's that unusual to see hesitation to take charge (relying on the FTO or senior officer to "set the tone" on calls/contacts) in the early phases.

    Queue the "old guy" theme music: I've noticed a growing and general reluctance to go "hands on" with each successive crop of new hires. Because I'm a knuckle-dragging CJ-and-History kind of guy and not a sociologist/psychologist, I don't know if it's born of simply processing differently-- slow to make the "reasonable suspicion... he's not free to leave, and hey, time for a Terry Frisk" evaluation-- or because, like S2S alludes, there's a general lack of rewards for kids who DO show assertiveness/initiative in school, activities, or sports these days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    7,369
    I don't know of any lesson plans or training that really address it, but in many cases it is a matter of new officers learning to act sharp and project confidence even if they don't feel confident. This is harder to learn for people who don't have type A personalities because it often goes against their nature, but if they can learn it then they tend to make good officers. This is kind of a learn by doing (or survival of the fittest) kind of lesson, but talking to them about needing to control a scene and make decisions quickly may help focus them in the right direction during FTO.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    West of Ireland
    Posts
    645
    Without getting too much into a debate about today's society, we do have to be frank in that the "nobody loses" mentality in sports and games has its consequences. In addition, for the past thirty years, there has been a "war on boys" in many schools, especially elementary/primary. Our society, no pun intended, seems obsessed with beating boys' aggressiveness and assertiveness out of them at an early age.
    ESFLEA
    Life is what happens while you're planning other things.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Flyover country.
    Posts
    807
    Red,
    One of the tools I used when I was an FTO (back in the stone age), was to go out of my way to show the trainee good examples.

    Each shift/zone/district has a star at a certain skill. You know a guy who is destined to be a detective because of his interviewing skills. You probably have a DUI guy, a guy who catches more burglars than anyone, or a tactical guru.

    As an FTO, if I was concentrating on a certain point, say auto crash report writing, I would bring their attention to an officer who excelled at it. I would ask the example officer for copies of his old reports and show them to the trainee. I would sometimes have the example officer sit down over a cup of coffee and explain his best tips and clues for success in this skill to the trainee. Now the example officer may be mediocre in certain areas, but they are the go-to guy in the skill/trait that you are concentrating on.

    For command presence, pick an officer (or supervisor) who illustates the traits you are trying to train. You can start by pointing out the officer to your trainee and explain about an incident where the officer's command presence was a factor. If you ask the officer to talk to your trainee about command presence, he may have to think about it. Maybe it is something natural to him that he didn't have to work at, but even if he can't explain what he's doing right, he certainly can explain what the trainee is doing wrong. At the least, if nobody wants to talk to your rookie about it, they can serve as an example. If you are short on good examples on your pd, use someone from a nearby agency.

    You are not asking the trainee to copy someone else, or to develop a department of clones. What you are asking them to do, is use a good example, take the good tips that they observe, and use them themselves. Also, don't hesitate to point out possible negatives with your example as well. Be up front about what works and what doesn't.

    Now, some may criticize that the FTO should be all the example that the trainee needs. Well, sure, you have reached a level of competence to be appointed to train rookies. So let's assume that you are more squared away than a standard patrol officer. But often times the trainee is distracted by your role as evaluator. Also, you are trying to raise each of their skills/required traits to the level of competence. Why not use the best example that you can?

    Command presence can be devoloped. Your job is to show him the right way, not just to follow the example of the cop who yells the loudest on calls. He is going to pick role models. Part of your job is to show him the right ones.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by ATFpoa; 06-13-2014 at 13:09.
    A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with criminals. - unknown

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Colorado,USA
    Posts
    804
    Not sure this is something that can be taught. I was a former FTO and have been a patrol and investigations supervisor for the last 8 years. In my experience timid indecisive officers are always going to be that way unless they find it in themselves to change, which few ever do. With that being said all departments have officers and supervisors with that mentality, so you might be able to bring the person up to at least a functioning level. I think you received some good suggestions about coaching and showing your trainee people to model his behavior after. The other suggestion I would make is force him to make decisions on calls. Ultimately that is what an officer is being paid to do, so forcing decision making and then giving feedback after the call should help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Flyover country.
    Posts
    807
    I agree with Bigz as well, making the rookie take the lead on calls will force them to come out of their shell...or not. As Bigz said, some recruits are going to be beyond help. You do the best you can with what you've got. If they can't meet the standard, your job then is to document it for your department.

    I've met a few who after a very involved selection process, a difficult academy, and a series of great FTO's, who still couldn't develop the command presence to make the grade. Which lead me to ask: how did they fool all the people along the line in the hiring process? But fool them they did. One in particular thought he was on a paid ride along or watching an episode of Cops. A one word desctiption of this trainee? Spectator. There are some that are just not cut out for this career.
    A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with criminals. - unknown

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Western Hemisphere
    Posts
    541
    Boot camp. Either of the five military branches will do...
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent


 

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