Two of CAPTO’s main objectives:


1.)   Continually upgrade police training in California by the exchange of materials, ideas, knowledge, techniques and other resources.


2.)  Foster cooperation between agencies and associations committed to the professionalization of law enforcement.

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Training Class Profile

The Top 5 Complaints About Field Training Officer Courses

We asked FTOs what they wish would have been included in their initial FTO certification courses. Then we did something about it and designed a brand new FTO course from the ground up.

FTO Certification Course

In California, Field Training Officers (FTO) must attend a 40-hour basic certification course. We polled dozens of working FTOs from California law enforcement agencies big and small about their initial certification course. We were surprised by just how consistent their feedback was. Most suggested the very same things needed to be changed in order to truly prepare FTOs. If FTOs see a need for better training, then we need to listen. The hiring and training of new officers is just too important.

What Did FTOs Say Needs to be Changed?

The answers from the real working FTOs we polled boiled down to these 5 factors:

1) Give Specific Examples and Eliminate Ambiguity – The FTOs we polled wanted more concrete instruction on how to apply the Standardized Evaluation Guidelines (i.e. what number to rate a trainee’s performance in a given area). Without it, some felt confused and were unsure if they were doing it right. The ambiguity caused discrepancy among how different FTOs at the same agency rated trainees; not a good thing when it comes time for an agency to defend its decision to fire a trainee. They also wanted examples of good and bad Daily Observation Reports to learn from.

2) Make it Realistic – They wish the course included teaching and evaluating a live role player in realistic scenarios. Too often, the FTOs said, outdated videos and handouts were used instead. The FTOs wanted to get repetitions teaching and evaluating a role player and then documenting the performance, just like they would with a real trainee.  

3) Give Specific Teaching Strategies – They wanted expert instructors to show them how to reach a variety of different trainees. One of the core functions of an FTO is to teach and they wanted to spend more time practicing that in class.

4) Do Away with the Old “Death by Power Point” Type Presentation – A lot of FTOs said their 40-hour training course contained a lot of dry Power Point presentations. They instead wanted to be engaged by dynamic instructors who use more sophisticated adult teaching techniques.

5) Specific Info About Liability and Writing Evaluations – The FTOs wished for more specific instruction on how to avoid liability for themselves and their agency when writing evaluations. They also wanted to know specifically what they should not write for legal reasons.

“The standard cost to recruit, hire, equip, and fully train a police officer from the time they submit their initial application to the time they can function independently may exceed $100,000 and take up to eighteen months.”

-Deputy Chief Brett Meade from the National Police Foundation article “Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Law Enforcement Officers”

Why This is Important

You invest a lot of time and money into hiring a recruit, and your FTOs are responsible for getting those recruits through the Field Training Program. Their ability to teach, evaluate and document can make all the difference, especially when it comes to re-mediating a struggling recruit. Your FTOs need the proper training to prepare your new officers to be the future of your department. 

We Listened and Created a New FTO Course

We listened to what was missing from some other courses and designed a POST-certified FTO course from the ground up. Not only does the course fulfill the new FTO’s certification requirement but it also includes the very topics that working FTOs said were missing.

What’s different about our FTO Course? Everything. This is a modern course being presented by expert level instructors. Each day, we give our students hands-on opportunities for our students to teach, evaluate and document. By the time they leave the course they have a lot of experience.

Imagine your new FTOs confident and ready for recruits, having received the most up to date and comprehensive training available. Picture your new FTO well-versed in liability laws and how to properly document the trainee’s performance in all the right ways.

We guarantee your FTOs leave the course confident they’re doing it right. Click here and see why our pilot course received 100% positive reviews.

Your agency invests a lot of time and money getting recruits into the Field Training Program. Now it’s time to invest in your FTOs. Seasoned FTOs have said what the next generation of trainers need in their training. Make sure you are sending your new FTOs to a course that can deliver that.

Register your FTOs in our Field Training Officer course today.

Thank you,

Scott Savage
Founder, Savage Training Group

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