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  1. #1
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    Expectations of FTO

    Well...my first day at my department next week. I'm kind of scared...excited...happy...all that good stuff.

    What can I expect on my first week? What should I expect going through FTO? What are FTOs looking for when they're around me?
    "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."

  2. #2
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    Work hard. Don't be afraid to tackle anything. Take every call you can and make every car stop you see. Make mistakes now. Mistakes are how you learn. Just don't make the same one twice.

    Accept criticism. You have no idea what you are doing so you are going to do it wrong. Don't take it personal when they tell you you did it wrong. That is their job. Yours is to learn all you can and make as many "mistakes" as you can while someone is there to bail you out.

    As far as FTOs, they are humans. Imagine that. Their personalities will all be different. Just adapt to what you get. Adapting is all part of the job.

    Have FUN. You have just started the funnest career on the face of the earth and they are actually going to pay you to do this stuff!

    [This message has been edited by DesertRat (edited 08-15-2000).]

  3. #3
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    Good advice.

    I'd add to understand that the academy taught you how to do something a certain way for their own reasons. Remeber that simply because that is how they taught it in the academy, that is not the only way, nor it is always the right way. I'm not going to tell you to forget everything you learned there, but a sure way to get on your FTO's nerves is to say "But at the academy, they taught us.........." If you have a valid concern, present it more as a question, not a contridiction. "Could you tell me the difference between how we're doing this and the way the academy showed us" Sometimes, the FTO is wrong.

    Another thing (and they'll drum this into you) is to pay attention to where you are. Common FTO drill is to ask you, out of the blue, "Where are we now?" This is important. If you had to call in the cavalry right now, where would you tell them to come? In other words, don't just ride around in the car like you're with your buddies. This is work.

    Few things impress an FTO quicker than your learning the radio. Learn the codes and listen to the darn thing. Know what the guy in the next zone just got sent to, so you'll know if you need to start easing that way or not.

    ------------------
    Niteshift-
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  4. #4
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    Congrats, Blue!

    You've already had a lot of good advice, and I second it all. The whole beauty of this job is that no two calls are completely identical, so go to as much as you can and get a good overview.

    If you have any weak points, work on them more. For instance, if you already have trffic stops down pat, but need work on, say, building clearing, spend some time with your FTO and a couple of other guys on the shift clearing a building. Don't concentrate on the things you're already good at, because you don't need the training in that.

    Good luch to ya, and keep us posted!

    ------------------
    FLLawdog
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing...it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone for your advice.

    As far as location goes, I have a hard time knowing where I'm at. I even try to just drive on my own and quizzing myself as to my exact location. It's extremely difficult...is there some kind of advice you can give me to easily learn where I'm at? My problem is that I can recognize landmarks...but I can't remember the street names worth beans.
    "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."

  6. #6
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    Some neighborhoods, I memorized the streets in order, using an acronym to remeber them. Not only will you need to know that he's running south down oak, but that he just cut through a yard, heading east towards 12th. You have to know what the next street is and which direction is which. "He ran left" isn't going to cut it anymore. You'll need to know that you're on the south side of the building because the left side will be different depending on which side of the building the other guy is on. (Tip here: Get one of those tiny compasses that slide onto your watch band until those directions become automatic).
    Also, you'll need to know the surrounding streets so when you have to detour traffic around a crash, assist another officer in an emergency or help box in a fleeing suspect in a pursuit, you have to know where to go.
    Best way to learn is by repetition. You can read about that fancy, high speed, low drag holster you got, but doing 300-500 draws will make that draw smooth and automatic. Same with streets. Start doing it now. Start keeping track of streets no matter where you go. People will always ask you for directions because you're a cop. You know all the secret routes.

    ------------------
    Niteshift-
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  7. #7
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    I second all of it!! The only advice I can add is...learn something. Even the WORSE FTO can teach you something valuable-how NOT to behave. Learn first that you can't fix everything, that you don't know everything, and sometimes things just go bad. For the right type of person, this is the best job you can ever have. Tahnk you for taking the challenge and good luck to you!
    "yeah, but without tyhe grease, all you can taste is the hog anus..."

  8. #8
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    You've gotten some great advice here, and I really can't add to it.

    Try not to be hard on yourself when you screw up and maintain a good sense of humor.

    And don't forget to tell us when you earn your nickname!!!!

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    -Sparky
    Fiat justina.
    -Sparky

  9. #9
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    Sparky: You got it!! I actually had that name "pre-chosen" for me back when I played a lot of paintball. I just added "Blue" to it because I always wanted to be a cop. Besides, blue is a cool color

    "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Sparky:
    And don't forget to tell us when you earn your nickname!!!!

    Hehehe....Blue, what he means is the nickname that the old heads will bestow upon you once you get out there and start runnin' & gunnin' and doing silly rookie stuff...


    And don't worry, the first time you get the living snot kicked outta you by some trick in a backyard at 3 am, you'll know from that day on EXACTLY where you are at all times...trust me




    [This message has been edited by Chopshopcop (edited 08-15-2000).]

  11. #11
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    Blue,

    The way I learned the streets, in my city, was to get one of the 'welcome' community packets and highlight the streets, then memorize. While in training the most important duties you need to have is KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AT ALL TIMES. This has already been mentioned on the previous postings.

    The reason is...how are you gonna feel on the call you could have been an asset if you had known a brother was only a couple of streets over when he got hurt. Don't have that call. Memorize where you are.

    I guarantee this will be hard and tedious but you must muster this assignment. Before I will release a 'Rookie' for duty he is tested on this, both in a classroom and on the street. This and the codes are the test. Everything else will come with time and experience. Like the others have said, relax and have fun while you learn.

    Welcome to the THIN BLUE LINE Brother. Don't that uniform look good on you??? My wife always tells me when I put my uniform and duty belt on that I "swagger". I can't help it. I'm the biggest muthf***er on the street..., until I meet someone bigger.

    Don't back down if someone wants to challenge that claim. But be patient/cautious and sure of yourself. Don't worry about the weak ankles and the toes that want to turn the opposit direction and are saying to each other, "Feet's, don't fail me now!" Because other Brothers are on the way to back up your claim...

    You'll have every Officer and Deputy in radio range on the way to assist. Hell,you will have them coming in on Delta Airlines if they get the chance.

    Last but certainly not least, milk that FTO's brain.

    He has a world of stories of situations and exits/conclusions that will help you until you have your own versions and experiences to pass on. Again, good luck!

    Put "Officers.com" on your FAVORITES list and let us know what's going on.

    We'll give you all of the inside information, experiences, advice, and help that you can stand. Their are several FTO's, Supervisors, ***'t Chief's and Chief's on board so feel free to milk our brains too...



    David-
    I'm lost... I've gone to look for me. If I should return before I get back, would you please ask me to wait? Thanks

    [This message has been edited by David (edited 08-17-2000).]
    Take your hands off the trunk of the car and I'll make your Birth Certificate just another worthless document!!

  12. #12
    Don
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    Hey Blue,

    Glad you're this far along. You'll do fine. Remember on the job, it's just like real estate....location, location, location.

    Right now it is not only your job, you should make it your hobby, your vocation, your reason for existence, until you know your area.

    Study maps when you are sitting on the john, giving birth to a sergeant . On your time off, get out on your beat and spend time there. Know the streets, the alleys, the apartment houses, the businesses. Go into the businesses in your civies (if safety will allow it), and spend time looking around. Get to know the merchants in your area when you are in uniform. Do walk throughs in the apartment buildings. Learn where the exits are, and where they lead to.

    I see you are in the bay area, do you have a buddy that is a cab driver? If so, see if you can ride with him for a few shifts.

    It is an extremely disheartening feeling when you are in the grease and screaming for help, to hear the responding units asking dispatch for directions on how to get to your location. Don
    6P1 (retired)

  13. #13
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    NEVER NEVER NEVER give up the opportunity to take a call while in FTO phase. If you hear something go out and you're unsure about it, tell your FTO that you want it for training. Chances are, he'll jump it, but he may wait for you to show initiative. Get ready to go to every death call and especially a suicide! FTO's are sick b******s that way!

    Don't be afraid of the radio. It's your best friend. It won't bite, it won't talk back, and it won't hit you. The person on the other end of it...that's another issue...

    Good luck, Blue, and enjoy. Come in here and tell us your experiences. I love seeing rookie enthusiasm.

  14. #14
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    Nothing like wearing a dark blue uniform...hehe. Dark colors make me look bigger (which is kinda odd), and not to mention the duty belt and vest. I am, however, a small little dude...enough to get pimp-slapped all over the place so my only asset is good verbal communication. I'm a quiet kind of guy...but I'm sure that will change.

    I wish I had a scanner so that I can just listen to my department's frequency so that I get used to listening to a radio call on my off time. Maybe there is a site online where I can listen to some cities out there? I heard of something like that but I don't know what it's called.

    Tomorrow is graduation. I'm scared, excited, happy, sad, and everything else in between. Wish me luck guys!!

    "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."

  15. #15
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    Good advice from the gang. The only thing I will add is this.
    I too am a smaller guy, but it is the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight. That goes for bad guys too. The toughest fight I have ever had was with a 5'9" 125lb meth user. Aye carumba it was a tadoo...
    You are right about verbal skills, they will win more fights than fighting will.

    Best of luck and be safe,
    Mikey

    ------------------
    When I was child I believed everything was black and white... now everything is just shades of gray.
    Can't we all just get along....
    Rodney King, philosopher and career felon.

  16. #16
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    Yep..that pie hole will keep you out of alot of trouble. I'm on the shy side too, and it definately is the amount of fight in the dog. Not that I've never been caught with my heels down, but ...when it's on.....it's ON!!

    You might be suprised actually, alot of the scrotes you bust that have been "in the system" before won't fight a little cop. They think we fight dirty This usually means that they have picked a fight with a small cop in the past and gotten thier clock cleaned. Someone who went before you has done you a favor. .....You're welcome. I'm sure that you will have the opportunity to return the favor one day.

    If you REALLY want to impress your FTO...whenever a guy breaks bad on you and you play rolly-polly gettin the cuffs on him...when you're done...immediately stand up and throw your arms in the air rodeo style and call "TIME!"

    This will let him know that you are a true professional!!

    Don't forget....when the old heads laugh at you.....just laugh right along with them. Not that they are laughing with you, but if you can't laugh at yourself too, then your gonna crack up.


    ------------------
    -Sparky
    Fiat justina.
    -Sparky

  17. #17
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    Excellent advice here. Let me reiterate the 2 most important ones that have been cited. Sorry for the redundancy, but this is VERY important. It is what I always told new trainees when I was an FTO. It still holds true, which is evident by the previous statements.

    1. Learn your patrol area
    2. Learn your radio codes

    You may be Dick Tracy, Joe Friday, Dirty Harry, and Sherlock Holmes all rolled into one, but if you don't know where the hell you are and you can't communicate, you aren't worth rat spit to anyone.

    These are the two most important things in the world for you right now. Maps are a good idea. Get in your personal car, get a map of the area, and drive around some. Get a copy of the ten codes and hang out in dispatch if they'll let you.

    Can't emphasize this enough. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

    BTW, congratulations and good luck. Your life is about to change forever.

    G.A.

    ------------------
    No cops, know anarchy.
    No cops, know anarchy.

    "He aint finna come all up in my house and act a fool and be gettin away with it cause I will go smooth off." -Movista

  18. #18
    JKT
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    The above advice is excellent.
    The only thing I might add is (after FTO)attend as much inservice training as your schedule (and fmily, etc) will allow. Not only will this bring you new and updated insites as to what is coming down the pike, it is an excellent way to meet officers from other agencies. You never know when you might need info/advice/assistance from them or vice versa,

    Congratulations, and keep your head down.

    ------------------
    Good luck and be safe

    Jack
    Optimistic pessimist: Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

    Jack

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  19. #19
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    Blue,

    If your agency has a homefleet program, try REALLY, REALLY hard not to wreck your FTO's cruiser. Especially if it's a new one. With less than 4000 miles on the clock. And it's your second night in the car with him/ her.

    If you do wreck your FTO's cruiser, when you get off of FTO phase and go out on your own, try not to have two more wrecks before you get off of probation.

    If you do have two more wrecks before getting off of probation, try not to have two more during your first year and a half on the street.

    You should follow this advice, because if you do have 5 wrecks in a year, everyone in the department will laugh at you and will call you "Crash" even after you are accident free for longer than you were before you started wrecking cars. And even after other officers do more incredibly stupid things with cars than you ever thought of doing.

    If you don't follow this advice, you should at least learn to make minor repairs to your car yourself. By the way, the Ford White spray paint they sell at Wal-Mart is not exactly the same color as the white on a new Crown Vic. So only use it in places hidden by shadows, like under the bumper.

    [This message has been edited by Dukeboy01 (edited 08-20-2000).]
    It is good to hate the French. -Al Bundy

  20. #20
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    LMAO at Crash, er, I mean Dukeboy!!

    ------------------
    No cops, know anarchy.
    No cops, know anarchy.

    "He aint finna come all up in my house and act a fool and be gettin away with it cause I will go smooth off." -Movista

  21. #21
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    Dukeboy --> Around here it only takes one to be called "Crash." It is only a temporary name, however, since the next person takes over the name.

    1. To fix minor scrapes ... try polishing compound. This works on those pesky red marks (sometimes) received when making u-turns too quickly near a firelane.

    2. If you DO have an accident, and you ask the department Driving Instructor what to do ... take the advice.

    3.Whatever you do .. treat the car as if it were your own. Our officers don't. With a fleet of 13 marked cars ( I think) all of them have damage, and 2 of them are parked at the bottom of the hill, seriously damaged (not driveable.) Strangely enough, the officers' personal cars have no damage.

    4. Don't whine and complain about how you don't like your FTO. It always gets back to them. If you're older than your FTO, don't tell people you should't have to work with you FTO because you don't like being criticized by someone younger than yourself.

    5. Don't complain (in fact, don't ask) about being compensated for studying the area, or the codes, or the maps, or.... on your off time. This isn't high school. If you truely want to learn, it takes a lot more than 8 or 10 hours a day 4 or 5 days a week.

    above all, realize the FTO is not there to be your friend. They are there to criticize, and to evaluate. Do your best. Listen to what is taught. There's a reason for most of it. *lol*

    I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather ... not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

  22. #22
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    After one of my more horrendous crashes, which tore the crap out of my car but allowed me to walk away, one of the members of our training staff took me aside and said "With as many accidents as you've had, if you find yourself in a situation where you could have a big wreck that's not your fault, but might cause you to be injured, or have a smaller wreck that would be your fault, but keeps you from being hurt (i.e. run off the road into a fence in order to avoid a tractor trailer in the wrong lane), I think you should have the bigger wreck. If you have another at fault wreck, you're gonna get jammed up."

    He was dead serious.

    File this under creative morale destruction.

    It is good to hate the French. -Al Bundy

  23. #23
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    That touch-up paint doesn't work either..... it's never the same shade. Always looks like you used white-out on the hood.

    ------------------
    Niteshift-
    Perseverate In Pugna

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