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Starting at my new job tomorrow...

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Imag1300-1_max600_max50

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Posted almost 2 years ago

 

I wasn't really sure where else to put this...But here is my question:


 


Well a little backstory first, only because I think there are fellow LEO's that can relate...


 


I've been an Auxiliary at 2 departments, one I was there for 3 1/2 years, and the other I was at for a year.  I left the one I was at for 3 1/2 years in March to go to JPD to get out of being Auxiliary, to go part-time.  I was sworn in,  Mid-May.  When I was about to start training to get road qualified, their dispatcher/secretary gave a few days notice saying she was quitting.  So, the Chief called me in desperation and asked me to take over for a few weeks.  I was kind of hesitant because I'm not good with that kind of stuff,but said yes figuring it would give me brownie points.  The few weeks turned into a few months, lol.  They got someone hired end of August.


I was going to take a week long backpacking trip before I started training.  Well I did, but then had issues at home, ended up moving out, divorce was talked about, etc.  I went through a really bad few weeks. Blah blah blah.  I had to tell my Chief why I wasn't scheduling a date to start training, and he understood. (perks of having an awesome chief.)  But being on my own now, I had no income, so have been looking for other jobs, any jobs, to no avail.  I'm tired of putting it off when I'm having no luck finding anything else.


So anyway! Chief was trying to give me time to get settled in and to find another job but I give up on the putting training on hold.  So tomorrow I start, and I have been out of  the game for 10-11 months now.  I don't want to say I feel like I forgot how to do everything, but I kind of do.


I'm nervous to say the least, lol!


I've met most of the guys there from when I did the secretary/dispatching stuff for a few months, but the FTO I have always turned his nose up at me...And not to sound like a baby, but the thought of him acting like that while I'm trying to train and learn is making me even MORE nervous.  He was fine with me for a while, but one day he was just a real jerk towards me and it was that way for a few weeks. 


So the big question is for those who have experience being an FTO, or have been nervous like me.... Do you have any suggestions on how to handle it?  By "handle it" I mean how to not seem like an idiot, and how to handle training and dealing with him if he's going to act towards me like he had been.  Being Auxiliary and all I never had to go through road qualification though I have had PLENTY experience with everything police-y...So the FTO stuff is new to me. 


I apologize for the possible TMI and the novel sized post.  I'm a worryer, just like my momma was. Lol.

French_chopper_seat_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

I would think my fellow LEO's would agree with me on saying:  just relax, stay focused, and open your ears to LISTEN.  That's mainly what FTO's are attempting to evaluate - that you have listened and soaked up the information/wisdom they are imparting, then actually translating that knowledge into your decision-making process on the streets. When I've trained officers in the past (reserves here and foreign-state police overseas,) I tried to never be "overwhelming" with the pieces of street wisdom, because that it something that is usually developed on an individual basis by the officer through first-hand experience. (Though I've seen - and worked alongside - a few who did not have any inherent street sense to begin with..)  Your FTO will more probably impart little idiosyncrasies of the job (along with proven techniques and methods which have worked for him over the years,) but will mainly be looking to see if you are understanding your agency's established policies and procedures -- because you can have the best intentions in the world, but if you do not follow the department's PPM, you will continue to get that "tap,tap,tap" on the shoulder and increasingly disconcerting interjections by the FTO.


Best advice is to relax your physical self while maintaining your mental alertness to as much around you as possible. And don't ever get "lax" when dealing with subjects on the street (even those whom you have dealt with 100 times before); always watch their hands & have the hands in either direct or peripheral view -- because if someone's going to try and hurt you, it will most always be with their fists or something they're holding.


I always told the officers under my watch:  if I can impart just a few ideas/techniques/pieces of knowledge that they might retain during their careers that (regardless of the multitude of policies and laws that are stored in their brains) might one day be the difference between going home safely at the end of their shift or not, and they are then able to survive a critical incident by recalling that information...then I consider I've done my job right by those officers.


Good luck and stay safe out there..

French_chopper_seat_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

(Sorry, forgot to add the last paragraph..)


And as for this particular FTO you're worried about - there's ALWAYS going to be certain individuals in every agency that are not "People Persons," so to speak...so don't let his inability to relate in a positive way affect your ability to perform what you know is right. Follow the PPM, keep your eyes and ears open, and don't get yourself down by any negative feedback from the FTO; simply accept it and use it as a springboard for improvement, and (if he is the type who's open to it,) try and open the lines of communication so he might view himself more as a mentor, and less of a "drill instructor."  


 

Warm_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

I completely agree with mitrocop. Just remember that if you don't know or did forget ASK! I have never faulted an officer I had in FTO for asking questions, that shows a willingness to learn and also proves they don't have a "supercop" complex. Try and keep the personal stuff at home, I know it is much easier said than done, but you need to make sure you get home to your daughter at the end of the day. Be open to learning and don't hesitate when the time comes to react. Some FTO's are just not social butterflies, we all have different personalities and that is why we rotate rookies during the training process. Smile and nod, take what you need from that FTO and gather from others. The job will all come back to you faster than you think. Good luck.

Bronzestarribbon_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

BUMP to the previous. Presuming you will have more than one FTO, take the good from each one and throw out the bad and as you progress taking the good from each FTO or other officers you will develop your own style and be okay. Be ready to take some heavy criticism and accept it as a learning process.

Don't take anything personnal and keep your "common Sense" about you as you look at situations and accept everything as an evaluation. If things get tough, don't quit, get tougher and persever. It is all an evcaluation of how you will handle yourself in tough situations, stress may be induced at times to ensure you can handle it when you are flying solo...

Fall_2007_027__2__max50

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Bump to all...I agree with the prior responses.


When I was about a year into my probation (about 6 months out of the academy) I had a particulary rough FTO.  I remember coming into the watch commander's office to turn in my shift log and checkout for the night.  My Sergeant was there, saw that I seemed a bit down, and asked cheerfully (to lift my spirits) " Did you learn anything today?"


I replied, "I learn something new almost everyday, and from virtually everyone I work with; sometimes it's simply what kind of cop I don't want to be."


That simple reply and attitude got me through a couple of difficult partnerings.  We work mostly  two-officer cars, so I know I have been very fortunate not to have had more than a few in over 16 years on the job.


Good luck to you, I hope you find a way to deal with this that works for you.


And, if I can crack-wise for just a moment...your FTO is supposed to impart knowledge, teach you skills, and give you "tools for your tool bag."  Sometimes it's the FTO that's the tool.


 


 

Just_passin__thru_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

These responses have been outstanding.


Really, ... excellent-excellent advice.


My input: 1. Do not try to demonstrate how much you know unless solicited. If your FTO wants to know what you know, let him ask. When you start offering a lot of unsolicited information, it may come off as being a know-it-all and could tick off an FTO with an ego. Additionally, I give this advice to new hires lateraling from another agency: Do not make any reference to where you used to work unless asked. The old "We used to to do it this way at River City PD" is one way to get black balled by an FTO or an entire FTO program. People just don't want to hear it. In your case you are going 10-8 in an agency with which you've already worked. Still, be careful of trying to show yourself worthy by showing what you know. Be humble and listen.


2. You might consider this with your edgey FTO. Let him know form the moment of go-time that you are there to learn and be trained by him. Whatever he wants, you will do (as long as it isn't illegal, immoral or unethical). At the same time, ask him what he expects from you. It's a simple question and will let your FTO know it's his show.


Lastly, don't discount yourself. The stuff you've already been trained in is 'still in there'. It may be a little rusty, but it's there. Officer Safety will be everything, too. Where you might be a little under-schooled in the processes of your agency, street orientation and listening on the radio, there will be an expectation that you are very officer safety minded.


Like many up in here, I too have been an FTO and an FTO Sergeant. As an FTO, we had to do double duty. We have to look out for you and ourselves. And sitting in the passenger seat as an FTO is not be best seat in the house.


 


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Imag1300-1_max600_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

 Thank you everyone for the responses! They are all really great and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.  


Forgive me for venting, but I held it in all night, and maybe you guys can tell me what's up with this.


 First he asked if I knew anything about the radar's other than how to use them. I said no, and I never really had a chance to use it on my own so it's really only what I had seen officers doing.  He then proceeds to pound me for 2 hours with questions like "Combined speed is _____. Why is that? How does it get that? How does it get the patrol speed? NO no no mathmatically how does it do it? Combined speed minus this speed is what speed? And why is it that way? And there's waves and signals that bounce off such and such and do they extend or compress? What about with a car going away? Or coming towards you? Or still? What's this minus this? What's this minus this plus this? Why? Why? Why? " And all I could do was say " I honestly don't know."  He just kept getting upset and rolling his eyes, like "how do you NOT know?".  Longest two hours ever.  I don't know what that was about.


A woman came into the office to make a report. He told me to go talk to her and handed me statement forms.  So I let her in the door, said come on in...I turned, and before either of us made it through the door he started talking to her.  So, I stood there and listened then gave her her form and explained it to her, etc.  When she left, he ripped into me for not talking.  I looked at him all confused, because in my head I was thinking, "We weren't in the door , I didn't have the chance."  So instead I just said I will next time.  But then he went on and on and said good job you made her feel like an idiot, etc etc....and he went on like this in front of other officers so I felt even more like a chump.  


Then he said I was quiet. So when I talked he wouldn't respond much. So I was quiet again. Then he would ask if I was nervous. If I was intimidated. So on and so forth.  By the end of the night, I wanted to run outside and scream, because I was so stressed out...


Was he doing this on purpose or what?  It just got to the point my brain went blank and I stared straight ahead cause he made me feel like an idiot and I didn't want to be "insulted" anymore.


 

French_chopper_seat_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

As suggested before, he may just not be that much of a "People Person." Or, he might just be assessing (in his own way) how you deal with stressful input. (Just like I always try to impart to my wife,) the old saying is, "It's NOT the stress that really gets to you, it's how you REACT to the stress.."  An FTO wants to see how quickly you can receive, analyze, then respond to information coming your way --- whether it's a verbal outpouring from the hysterical (or angry, or over-zealous, etc) victim; or the non-verbal cues of a suspicious subject on the street corner who's subconsciously patting his pants cargo pocket upon seeing your cruiser approaching; or picking up on the sensory input from the breath (or pupil fixation) of an impaired driver; or, even alerting yourself to the smell of burnt weed through an open window...to identify just a few examples you will likely come across during your training and the first few "rookie" years of your career. It's also a measure of how you can properly escalate, and de-escalate, during critical incidents for which your FTO will be keeping his eye out.


Like the others on the reply posts have mentioned, don't impart to an FTO that you've got a "Been There, Done That" mentality. Just try to be like SpongeBob - and soak up as much as you can; the FTO will have a molding effect on some of your personal techniques on the job, for sure, but you will mature and fully develop them once you're out on your own and dealing with the situations alone.


As always - safety first!  ..and good luck!! 

Th_policeavatar_2__max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Heheh, its what I do. Tough love field training. We can either be the best friend type or the jackass type. I'm in the latter category. He wants to see what your made of. Are you the whiney complaining type, the kiss his backside type or are you going to listen, ask questions, learn and stand up for yourself and your partner. Oh, also, he probably just doesn't like you. But who cares. If your feelings get hurt because someone doesn't and you whimper off into the sunset he wins, proves you didn't have the right stuff.  Prove him wrong. Make sure your evaluation sheets are perfect.  Oh, and buy him a coffee once in a while


""Life is a storm.. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes"
Alexander Dumas-The Count of Monte Christo

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Well,the rule of thumb is that a senior officer,command officer or F.T.O. should never dress you down in front of anybody else.Having said that,my coach(F.T.O.) was the nightmare from Elm street.He was constantly after me about what I said,what I did,how I drove,everything.He was a former Marine D.I. Said I would never be a cop and called me "Lemon".About once a week he would compliment me on something.Just enough to make me think I may be worth something.Took me awhile to realize he was not only my coach,but responsible for my life and that's an awesome responsibility.Withen a year I was an F.T.O. myself and as my friend SGT405 indicated,was just like him.   Much good fortune to you.----Dave

Fall_2007_027__2__max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

So... how'd the rest of your first week go?  Did any of this help put your FTO's style in perspective?


I bet if you add the years of LE experience the few folks that have posted here on your thread have...it'd be close over 100 years in LE.  Each of us was a "boot" at some point, and got through it.


Like MitroCop said, your FTO sometines has to manufacter stress to test you, to evaluate you, to push you, and to innoculate you.  He/She wants you to discover if you can think, decide, and respond under stress.

Redhatpicmay25-2_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

 I heartily agree with all the sound advice you have been given. They will test you all the more beause as a rookie you are an unknown quantity and female to boot, and they want to see what you are made of. I retired after 31 years on the job, and still was being tested until the day I reitred (and I retired as a chief of police). It is just the nature of the beast.

Vpsomourningband_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

SGT405 says ...



Heheh, its what I do. Tough love field training. We can either be the best friend type or the jackass type. I'm in the latter category. He wants to see what your made of. Are you the whiney complaining type, the kiss his backside type or are you going to listen, ask questions, learn and stand up for yourself and your partner. Oh, also, he probably just doesn't like you. But who cares. If your feelings get hurt because someone doesn't and you whimper off into the sunset he wins, proves you didn't have the right stuff.  Prove him wrong. Make sure your evaluation sheets are perfect.  Oh, and buy him a coffee once in a while



  I'm so proud!  LOL


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