The Oneonta Police Department’s Field Training Program is intended to ease a police officer's transition from the academic setting to the performance of general law enforcement patrol duties of the department. In the case of a lateral officer, it will likewise facilitate the newly hired officer’s transition into the philosophy, policies and procedures of the Oneonta Police Department. Although an officer graduating from the police academy has received a thorough introduction to basic law enforcement classes, that officer cannot be expected to immediately function as an experienced officer.

Newly assigned officers, whether entry level or lateral officers from another agency, must receive additional training in the field, where they can learn from officers who have already gained a great deal of practical patrol experience with the Oneonta Police Department. The Field Training Program introduces a newly assigned officer to the personnel, procedure, policies, and purposes of the department as well as providing the initial training specific to the day-to-day duties of its officers.

In order to make the new officers' field training as effective as possible, they are assigned to a Field Training Officer (FTO). The FTO is an experienced officer, specially selected and trained to conduct this type of training. The FTO will thoroughly review the field training materials with a newly assigned officer and demonstrate proper patrol procedures. Probationary officers will be required to perform various law enforcement duties under the guidance and supervision of their assigned FTO and the Field Training Supervisor. The new officer will be evaluated daily by the FTO and monitored by the FTO Supervisor through weekly and segment reports.

This one-on-one style of training, in real law enforcement situations sets it apart from any prior academic endeavor. Field training has a significant impact on the individual officer in terms of imprinting attitudes, style, values, and ethics in carrying out the duties of police work that will remain throughout their career. It is the most effective influence on the future direction of our department. The field training program effectively introduces officers to the department; not only to develop the necessary technical skills but also to reflect the ethical policing philosophy of the Oneonta Police Department toward the community we serve.

The field training staff has the monumental responsibility of building the future of the department through the people they train. To assure success in this task, the field training program follows a training philosophy that ensures every new officer is given the maximum opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job. The program creates a positive environment in which learning is maximized and in which students are able to perform to the best of their ability. The program is fair, firm, friendly, and, above all, professional. The professional and ethical standards of the officers we turn out must be beyond reproach. Evaluation is sincere and given in a straight forward manner, documenting the positive as well as the negative aspects of performance. At no time are probationary officers demeaned or ridiculed. New officers are treated with respect, dignity and compassion. Typically the training program lasts 3-4 months.


Field Training Officers are some of our department's best officers. They are regular officers who work in the Uniform Division and who have two or more years experience. They have been selected from eligible officers who have expressed an interest in training recruits, who have demonstrated a general level of performance above the norm, and who possess superior skills and abilities in written and verbal communications. Those officers selected to be Field Training Officers attend 40-hours of classroom instruction in strategies and skills of field training using the San Jose model.



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