Once a person is hired as a sworn police officer their training in the field begins with a Field Training Officer who is certified by the North Carolina Department of Justice Law Enforcement Training and Standards. The Field Training Officer (FTO) is the first supervisor a new officer has in the department. An FTO has considerable responsibility while training a new officer. The FTO has to demonstrate and instruct the officer in how to apply knowledge from the police academy to real life events and trauma. This is done while delivering a high level of professional service to the public and while keeping both themselves and the trainee safe.
The FTO is also responsible for teaching the trainee how to write reports in a records management system (the department is on CMPD’s KBCOPS police records system) in order to insure that the new officer correctly transfers all the gathered information from observations, interviews and statements to the state prosecutors. The new officer also learns how to operate a police radio and how to communicate with CMPD dispatch in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system through the patrol vehicle’s laptop computer. Another tool the trainee learns to operate is the radar unit which requires certification by state instructors.
The important job of the FTO is filled by those officers with experience and the ability to teach. The job is stressful but rewarding when an officer's trainee successfully completes the program and becomes a work partner!