Field Training Programs: History and Tips

When the game, the show, or lives are on the line what does it take to consistently perform at your best?  This is a question that continues to come into focus for public safety agencies around the country. It’s natural to imagine what we “want” to do in that critical moment, but how do you make the jump from dream to reality?  Hall of Fame basketball player Michael Jordan used to spend hours practicing his 3 pointers each one like the game was on the line. (ESPN) Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen gives credit to his mentor, fellow musician Pete Seeger for much of his success. Michael Jordan and Bruce Springsteen didn’t get to where they were in their careers by learning from a book or doing it alone. Springsteen had to learn from others and Jordan had to shoot like his opponent was pressuring him. Public safety professionals put their lives on the line everyday to protect us. They can’t just be asked to take on that responsibility without proper training and mentoring. Star athletes, great entertainers, and public safety officers know that good coaching and plenty of practice are the keys to success.  However, to make training as realistic as possible there has to be a plan. In public safety, you have to bring new hires on board and ensure they have the right mentors to get them up to speed and avoid common hurdles.  For law enforcement, the plan started nearly 60 years ago with the creation of a Field Training Program. Read more

Training Program Manuals

FTO Manuals

CTO, FTO, Training Manuals all piled up with no place to go.

It’s always nice when you can compare your FTO, CTO or other training program with that of different agencies.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but you want to make sure the approach to training is a modern and applicable one.  Below you will find a list of different training manuals and what category they fall under.  We hope this will help you make adjustments to your program or serve as a resource to create one!

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hammer & nail

3 Things Field Training Software Can’t Do

In a previous post, we listed 5 ways FTO software can improve your field training program.  Although there are benefits and improvements a quality software can provide for your program, there are certain aspects of a Field Training that software cannot control.  Below are a few instances of what field training software can’t change about your Field Training Program.

1. Good People

No software can replace the Field Training Officer that knows three different ways to teach a concept a trainee is struggling with.  The great mentorship and positive role model Field Training Officers can be during and after the program, is far beyond the reach of what an FTO software can control.  

What FTO software can do is notify you of the grading trends of Field Training Officers to help understand whether they are hard or easy graders compared to their peers.  Also, software can present data to inform you of the amount of training time and hours of hard work FTOs have put in, but it will never be able to replace the Field Training Officer that goes the extra mile.   

2. Problem Solving

Deciding how to approach that dispatch call that went from normal to chaotic, or any situation where outside the box thinking is required, is not something a field training software can accomplish.  Complex problem solving – whether it be on a scene or in deciding how to handle a trainee – is something FTO Software cannot replace.  

FTO Software can simplify the Field Training Officer’s or Coordinator’s work in documenting the incident quickly and accurately.  Software can even tell you how many times the trainee or FTO did a specific call or used a specific skill.   Simple rules of what to do when “X” happens can also be created to make the process easier.  However, the process of figuring out what to do and what is best for a unique or complex situation is well beyond the scope of an FTO Software.

3.  Agency-Wide Support

It takes support from the entire department to adequately fill the gap from classroom to real world education.  Setting the right culture and tone throughout the organization has a direct impact on a new probationary officer’s morale, and creating the environment to be successful is a team effort.   An FTO Program can only be truly successful when both the leadership and the field training staff are giving it proper attention.

FTO Software can report on your field training program and provide detailed graphs and visuals explaining the strengths and weaknesses of a specific trainee and the entire program.  FTO Software may help you standardize your program and increase consistency in your training.  But no software can replace leadership and a culture that supports the efforts of the field training program.   


Although an FTO software program can do a lot to move an agency into the 21st century and help standardize their field training program, it can’t do everything.  A software cannot create quality people that can show empathy, perform the complex problem solving required for public safety, or create a department culture where new trainees can thrive, but it can help support these areas by making everyone’s job a little easier.  If you’d like to learn more about Agency360 Field Training Software and how it can automate your documentation and create detailed reports of your training progress, click the link below to get a free demo.  

Learn More about Agency360 Field Training Software

Future of Field Training

The Future of Field Training Software for Public Safety

Tomorrow, Microsoft’s newest operating system Windows 10 will be released, but it didn’t happen overnight.   Enterprise level software requires planning and work years in advance.  This particular iteration of the Windows operating system started development back in 2011.  

With that in mind, we have started to look at what the next few years might hold for software in our industry. Modern software development is rightfully focused on the user experience delivering the outcomes of ease of use, consistency and quality, and real-time information in new ways.     Read more

5 Ways FTO Software can improve your Field Training Program

The days of filling out your case reports on paper and handing in your tickets at the end of the shift are long gone or soon will be.  The 21st century is here, and the digital revolution is hitting public safety at full force.  As your agency and others continue to go paperless with much of their operations, often times the field training program is left out.  Pen and paper (or Word templates that get printed out to retain their signatures) means some agencies are still far away from those paperless dreams.  Read more

CTO Program

New Podcast about Communications Training Officers (CTO training) Now Live

Recently a dispatch focused podcast (and one of our favorites) Within The Trenches did an episode specifically about communications training officers (CTOs) and bringing on new dispatchers in your communications training program.  You can hear the entire podcast here or download it from iTunes.  

Big congrats to Greenville Police Department’s Communications Division for their thought leadership in sharing their CTO program and Within the Trenches for putting together a wonderful educational tool.  If you want to hear some great tips about how to be a better CTO and Theresa’s experience as in their CTO training program check out the links above.