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Feels like i'm struggling through FTO

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Hal9mm, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. Hal9mm


    Jun 9, 2002
    I feel like I know what to do but I continue to make stupid mistakes in the field. This is my second week in FTO and I still am leaving things out of my reports and forgetting the basics.

    It has been kinda frustrating. Maybe its just the stress?

    SPDSNYPR Zippy's Friend.

    Jun 12, 2006
    OK, USA
    OK - listen. You will do stupid stuff in FTO. It is expected. Learn from your mistakes, don't beat yourself up about it, and move on. That's how you learn. If you dote on past mistakes, you will stress yourself out to the point of mot being able to perform, and will lock up.

    Every time you go to a call, you have to do the same basic things and get the same basic information. It's all repetition. You will get it. Don't worry too much. You will make mistakes. You will screw up. You will continue to do so 10 years after you are out of FTO - just less often. Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to be.

    Lean forward and drive on.
    OhioPD likes this.

  3. bill-hhh


    May 2, 2006
    Oceanside, CA
    Mistakes happen, thats what the training is for. Learn, Improve and always watch their hands.
  4. +1,000,000
    mrasgt likes this.
  5. el dudarino

    el dudarino

    Apr 5, 2006
    Janesville, WI
    If it is just reports and stuff, dont worry. I have two years in and im still ironing out my reports.

    Now, are you forgetting to put stuff in reports, or are you forgetting to gather all the info you need and not having it when you do the report?

    As you go, more experienced investigaters will read you reports and say, "Why didnt you ask A?" Or "Why diddnt you do B?" You will think wow, that makes sense, why didnt I think of that. You will get better at this with time. What helped me was getting to know the elements of the crime better. Also, try to think how a defense attorny would defend the case and try do gather the info that would disprove these attempts.

    In the end a good report will include who, what , where, why, when, and how. It will also highlight the elements of the offense and why the evidence points to this sequence of events, as oposed to whatever bs the lawyers can come up with.
  6. You're two weeks long is your program? Ours is 16 weeks. Don't stress yourself out. I know it's easier said than done. Just remember FTO is supposed to test you. I can say, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but FTO was one of the most stressful times in my life.

    Keep working at it and learn from your mistakes.
  7. Cochese

    Cochese Most mackinest CLM

    Jun 30, 2004
    Unmarked Rustbox

    Good luck. :cool:
    TBO likes this.
  8. MoCop


    Jan 2, 2005
    Your'e only 2 weeks in. Don't beat yourself up over it. After a while, things will come more naturally.

    Keep your head up and keep trudging through. you'll get the hang of it.

    Watch your back and come home safe.

  9. jadams951

    jadams951 Resident JBT

    Apr 4, 2001
    Houston, TX, USA
    Only your 2nd week in??? HAHAH....relax dude. You are expected to make mistakes and it's their job to find your screw ups and correct them

    I spent a little over ten years in a large department working one of the ****tiest parts of Houston. I just started at a municipal agency much smaller and slower paced than what I am used to. I am a month into their FTO program and every damn day they are pointing out screw ups I make. It's expected because you don't know what they expect and how to do their way of doing things.

    Don't beat yourself up over it.
  10. lwt210


    Nov 28, 2001
    Two weeks and you are stressing out about mistakes?

    You will be making report mistakes two decades from now. Relax.

    Just being aware that you are screwing up is a plus in my book. You are expected to be hosing it up two weeks into the game.

    When I trained folks, we didn't even let them do ANYTHING the first week. Kind of a keep mouth shut/eyes open kind of work week. The second week was reports and then the navigation of the city came as did radio traffic.

    Most of my good trainees didn't get any of it right the first couple of weeks. Shoot, I was on third shift then and they were just getting used to being up all night on the second week.

    Look, don't sweat the small stuff. Be as error free as you can on the officer safety stuff. Do thorough pat downs, cuff folks like you should, keep an eye on your six, that kind of thing.

    The paperwork stuff will come later. Dont' get me wrong, check and re-check your reports but don't let the occasional slip up get you in a tizzy.

    The worst trainees are the ones that know it all from the get go. The second worst are the ones that let their nerves get in the way of learning. Strive to be neither.
  11. Orlando Eric

    Orlando Eric

    Aug 6, 2000
    I assume there is some sort of grading scale they use. How are your actual scores.

    When in FTO you should be with the better officers in the department. Each one has his personal best areas. Reports are somewhat uniform but I can tell who wrote the report by reading it, everyone is a little different.

    In the begining I wrote in the last page of my field note book the standard crap I needed to know. For instance writing down what color shoes the victim had on when I was getting every slurred word out of their mouth while being loaded into the meat wagon did not seem important to me. It doesn't seem important to me now, but they want it and perhaps someday it will matter, so I do it.

    Trust me someday 10 years from now you are going to snap out the report of the "great garden hose theft" and the some fill in kiddie cop sgt is going to call you at home and ask you if the house faced east. Most likely you will not know and boldy ak him if he would like you to drive out and look for 3.0 hours of OT?
  12. MarksGlock22

    MarksGlock22 The Punisher

    Mar 4, 2002
    Atleast you have an FTO program. I got hired prior to the academy, and was put in a cruiser alone, chief gave me a set of keys and said dont wreck. about 3 weeks in, I was working our entire city alone, as we only had 2 officers per shift and my O.I.C. was out sick.

    Best of luck!
  13. Kahr_Glockman


    Feb 26, 2005
    hey I wrecked the patrol car on the day of my check ride. Dont sweat the small stuff. You will get better at the reports. In fact you will write so many that you will want to choke the little peckerwood that hit Old Man Hills mail box causing you to take a criminal mischief report 30 mins from end of shift.

    Hey just as a little tip. Reports change from agency to agency. Print of blank copy of your incident/offense report and fill it out when you are taking information. If there is a blank it's there for a reason. Get the information and dont leave until all the little blanks are complete. Go back to the office/car and retype the report and write the narrative. Good luck.
  14. 1time

    1time Lifetime Member

    Jun 13, 2005
    Baltimore, Md
    Am I the only one annoyed when people refer to it as FTO. FTO stands for Field Training Officer. You are having a problem during Field Training. To me it is like the Glocks that have clips...

    Okay, rant over.
    Like everyone said, this is the time for mistakes, just try not to make the same ones twice. I would write the needed info on a page in your note book and refer to that while on a call to double check you didn't forget anything. It helped me to get the info the same way on every call. When you get used to a certain order it helps you to make sure you have everything.

    Letting the stress of someone looking over my shoulder get to me when I was on field training was my biggest problem; I did much better when I got on my own. Now 11 years later being a FTO, I notice the same stress in the trainees. Try to relax and forget about the guy looking over your shoulder. I know it is easier to say then to do but you will be fine.
  15. cash


    Dec 6, 2006
    front range
    2 weeks in... don't sweat it too much. Show up on time (which means early), keep your mouth shut, don't forget your gun (it wasn't me, and don't ask), and remember that at this point in your training, not much is expected of you. 12 weeks from now, different story.

    Are you making the same mistakes repeatedly, or different mistakes each time? If it's the former, that is something to worry about; if it's the latter, no worries, mate. If you are screwing up the same things, then you need to figure out why, and solve that problem now. If you don't, life is quickly going to get difficult.

    Advice? I dunno ... I guess, Don't make it more difficult than it needs to be.
  16. Jester249

    Jester249 W.W.P.D.?

    Jun 15, 2001
    South East USA
    So let me get this straight: being a cop isn't that easy at all? Why how can this be? All you have to do is go to GNG to find out just how easy our job is!!:tongueout:

    Though I don't consider myself old, I did start back when we were all carrying revolvers. I have learned a lot since then. The biggest lesson I have learned is the more I learn, then more I realize how little I really know! So don't let things get you down. Don't be afraid to ask your training officer questions!

    Oh and try to have FUN!
    TBO likes this.
  17. pac201


    Nov 12, 2007
    +1 to all the above...

    a wise man once told me that a dull pencil is better than a sharp mind every time, remember that, write it down and you can refer to it.

    One other thing, the better report you write, the less questions you will be asked.
  18. psychophipps

    psychophipps Gaming Geek

    Nov 18, 2006
    Texas, in the RGV
    Put a quick cheat sheet in the top flap of your notebook or other writing apparatus. You flip it open to start writing and you can see the basics right there as you fill out a report or citation without having to look around or ask the same questions like a putz in front of your FTO.

    When in doubt, cheat.

    I had a similar issue with customs-needed flights when I worked for a FBO/charter service. On the clipboard I just taped a simple list of stuff I needed to include and my entries soon got compliments from the boss.
  19. opelwasp

    opelwasp ZOG/MORON LUBE

    Nov 22, 2005
    Northern California
    I'm in week 15 of my 16 week FTO and I still make mistakes. What really helped with my report writing was to get a digital recorder. I have the Olympus VN-2100PC, it is awesome. I use it all the time when I need to take paper. I also wright notes just in case it takes a dump on me. My last DV report went through my FTO and the SGT with only one capitalization error. It is a wonderful tool. Just remember to turn off the beeper that indicates when you turn it on or off. BTW never I mean never download the audio onto any computer, it can be subpoenaed. I only use it for report writing purposes, never for evidence.

    About mistakes in the field, just don't keep making the same ones over and over again. The big no no's are officer safety mistakes.
  20. Mic

    Mic Millennium Member

    Aug 17, 1999
    We have all done "stupid things" later in your carrer you will call the same things "experience".

    Keep the basics 100%
    #1 You and your parntners all go home at the end of shift no matter what.

    The other stuff is really not as imprortant as #1.