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My Update - the full [and long] story

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by golls17, Nov 3, 2011.


  1. golls17

    golls17
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    Hey guys. A while back I posted that I didn't think I was cut out to be a cop. About 2 months ago, I turned in my badge and gun after only 4 months of duty. I have spent a lot of time pondering and praying about my future, and my reflections have led me to one conclusion: I still am meant to be a cop.

    After talking to other people in other local departments, I came to realize that the problem may not have been me, but possibly the FTO program at my agency. I was the 7th consecutive recruit to resign/be forced to resign. For the record, I resigned on my own terms. I did a lot of thinking about why I did not succeed with this department, and here is what I realized.

    There are many similar examples, but these are the few that stand out in my mind:

    I always thought FTOs are there because they want to share their knowledge with new recruits. At my agency, I was not viewed as the new boot who was ready to learn, but the FNG who was a burden to the department. I resembled extra paperwork, longer hours, and more work. The Field Training program is set up so you can make mistakes but still be successful. While I expected to make mistakes, I got the impression that my FTOs expected me to be perfect or they didn't trust me to do anything. Despite many arrests for OWI, I was not allowed to do my own SFSTs until my last week in Field Training. This was after I demonstrated numerous times during my first phase that I know what to say, how to demonstrate, and all the clues to watch for. If they weren't going to trust me when I have a "safety net" of an FTO to correct me, how were they going to trust me on my own? And especially for things I had demonstrated in the past. I have a theory on this: I understand that departments have to justify their work with numbers. While in Field Training, my stats are reflected through my FTO. I think our agency was so numbers driven that my FTO did not want to lose an arrest because they did not trust my abilities. I understand healthy competition for getting drunks, which there was, but it should not come at the cost of my opportunities to learn and demonstrate my knowledge.

    When I did finally get an OWI arrest doing my own fields (on my 2nd to last day), it was at the end of my shift. When I told my FTO I couldn't smell alcohol on the guy, she told me to move and took over the stop. She got him out of the car and had me to fields. Guy bombed the fields, I knew I was going to make the arrest, and he ended up blowing zeros. FTO asked me what I'm going to do. I said we need to call a Drug Recognition Expert and get the guy to the hospital to draw blood. My FTO said I was right, but she would be doing it without me because it was the end of my shift and they did not want to pay me the overtime. I had only been to the hospital once before for blood draws (my first night of Field Training), and I was only a few weeks away from having to do it on my own. I felt like they did not want to let me capitalize on a few-and-far-between opportunity to learn something I would need to know how to do. I was given a ride back to the station by my backup officer in the back of the squad because he did not want to move his duty bag out of the front seat.

    Another example was when I went to an armed bank robbery. I hop in the car, FTO in the passenger seat, and we start flying to the area. I'm about to broadcast I'm going south when my FTO grabs the radio (as I'm reaching for it), and starts to take over the radio and tells me where to drive. Almost immediately, other officers and supervisors start calling out her badge number instead of mine. It was like I didn't exist, even though I've demonstrated in the past I can multitask in stressful situations. We found the car in an apartment parking lot, and she took over. When our Sgt. showed up on the other side, I told my FTO to be careful of crossfire (the suspect vehicle was right between our squad and our Sgt.). She apparently took offense to that because she told me to watch behind us on and worry about what she was doing.

    On my first injury accident, I didn't realize I was going to be taking the report since I had taken 2 other reports earlier that day and no other officers did. I understand I'm the new guy and I get work dropped on me, so I was happy to take the report. I saw it as they trusted me to do it right. I started talking to the driver of the striking vehicle, getting her info, etc. I got the info I needed and started trying to coordinate other officers for traffic and gathering information. Another officer started giving me the info he obtained from the victim vehicle. My FTO told me that this is my report and I need to gather the info, cutting off the other officer who was only trying to help me. I go to the other vehicle and try to get his info while the EMTs work on him. I finally get my info, and the other officer asks if there's anything I need. I looked at my FTO wondering if I should cut him loose since it's my report or ask for his help. Without hesitation or provocation, the other officer said, "OK, I'll take pictures." in a way that made me feel really dumb for not saying anything. I then got a lecture from my FTO about how I have a team around me willing to help. I was so confused because I was told 5 minutes earlier to do it all myself.

    One of my last days, we took a retail theft. Sure enough, 2 more retail thefts happened in the next 15 minutes. While my FTO and I stayed and booked our arrests, another officer went on the call. In all, we had about 7 people in our booking room. I was booking as efficiently as I could, and had 2 bookings done but when the other officer got back, he commented to my FTO, "Hasn't he booked anybody yet?" in a very annoyed tone in front of our prisoners. This made me pretty mad because I was booking his prisoners in addition to mine. That's something I'm happy to do unless they put me down in front of prisoners. I finished booking another and asked my FTO which she wanted me to book next. She sighed and rolled her eyes and said, "Just do something!". This made me really upset because I was working really hard to get these bookings done quickly to get back on the road. I have no problem being criticized in front of prisoners if it's constructive. This crossed the line in my mind though.

    The final straw for me was when I received an NRT for Officer Safety and a 1 for attitude because I was given remedial training for handcuffing. I had begun handcuffing people how my FTOs did it (put your hands behind your back, click click) and they wanted me to do the classroom model (widen your stance, put your arms out like an airplane, thumbs down, bring your arms back to the sound of my voice, lean forward at the waist look to your left, don't move). I understand they want me to know the basics and also it gauges their level of cooperation, but they still gave me remedial training. I got the NRT and the 1 for those respective categories because one day my FTO asked, "Why don't you ask them if the handcuffs are too tight?" My response was that I can tell if they are on properly buy checking for tightness and usually they tell me if it's too tight, even if it's not. She said I would be getting an NRT for that and a 1 for attitude because she considered it lazyness on my part. I had never been corrected for that in the past, and did not understand how I could get a "Not Responding to Training" when I was never given an opportunity to respond in the first place. I brought this up with my FTO and my Sgt. My FTO's explanation was even though it was not covered in remedial training, it is still part of the process and I had remedial training in handcuffing already.

    So I ended up calling in sick on Sept. 1 (It's my daughter's birthday, and I couldn't bring myself to quit then) and turned my gear in on the 2nd.

    I have finally started applying and testing for other departments again. At the tests, I have talked to other officers that know my old agency's reputation. I just mention I used to work for them, and I usually get an unprovoked response of, "Yeah, I've heard some nasty things about them."

    Anyways, I'm applying again and it feels weird but good. I just need to figure out how to answer the inevitable "why did you leave your old agency" question in interviews in a way that I can convey I know what I'm doing without sounding like I'm blaming my other agency.

    Thanks for reading, and the continued support! I'll keep everybody posted. The important thing for me is whether it was truly me or my agency, I would never forgive myself if I at least didn't give myself another chance with a different agency.
     

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    #1 golls17, Nov 3, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  2. Cochese

    Cochese
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    1. The JBT's

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    Keep on keepin' on.

    While it does sound odd to hear some of the comments made by the training staff at that PD, we are only getting one side of the story.

    Regardless, I think you are on the right track and will probably find happiness at your next agency. Especially, if they have competent FTOs and a coordinator who watches and listens.

    Good luck.
     

  3. PinkoCommie

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    PM sent. Trust me, you'll be fine. It may take a while, but you'll do OK.
     
  4. Cochese

    Cochese
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    I was going to mention other members and their successful returns as well, but I figured I'd let them do the talking. :)
     
  5. RocPO

    RocPO
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    Best of luck to you bro.
     
  6. golls17

    golls17
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    I'm sure for every story I have about them, they have one to match for me. On the day I resigned, my Chief said if/when I apply for agencies, they will open my field training reports and records to any agency that asks. I said, "I have nothing in there to hide from them." I can think of plenty of times I made mistakes, and they had every opportunity to tell me their honest opinions of me.
     
  7. packsaddle

    packsaddle
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    there are good agencies and there are bad agencies.

    find a good agency.

    if you don't make it there then it wasn't meant to be.

    hang in there and best wishes.
     
  8. Bruce M

    Bruce M
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    Back in the early eighties at my FTO interview I said that when a PPO fails, I believe it is as much a reflection of either the academy and/or the FTO program as it is of the PPO. A couple decades later I still essentially believe that. I understand that not everyone is cut out for the job and that some can get through an academy with no real likelihood of success on the street. Still though, seven in a row with no one passing may be a clue.

    How big is the department. Is the position that you would have filled actually vacant or is it being filled by OT/reserves/part time guys/Victoria Secret models?
     
  9. golls17

    golls17
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    30 or so officers. Only 2 or 3 patrol at a time. I was going to be full time patrol. We didn't have reserves/part time guys.
     
  10. Bruce M

    Bruce M
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    If you stayed would the spot you took reduced overtime for others?
     
  11. PinkoCommie

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    Something sounds weird... any agency will on occasion hire people that just don't work out. If seven in a row wash from training, there is something very wrong with either hiring, training, or both.
     
  12. nitesite10mm

    nitesite10mm
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    Now there is a question based on a very interesting perspective...

    I like it.
     
  13. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR
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    No Infidels!

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    Some departments shred trainees, some FTOs don't get along with some trainees. Obviously hearing just your side of the story makes it sound like they've got issues. I'm not saying you're FOS, either, just pointing out that we've only heard one side.

    FWIW there are a number of agencies hiring in Iowa right now and I believe that we would accept your Wisconsin certificate. I've got a couch you can sleep on.
     
  14. golls17

    golls17
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    I never thought about that. You may be on to something there. Obviously, not something I would mention in an interview! But to answer your question, yes and no. Depends on the shift.
     
  15. golls17

    golls17
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    Is there a website that lists them? Here in WI we have wilenet.org which posts actively hiring departments without the spam and ads of usajobs our whatever
     
  16. Bruce M

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    However if there is a way to work it into an interview, that they had a 100% failure rate over seven different PPOs over whatever the time frame, that may well be worth mentioning. It might be nothing. Maybe it is completely coincidental. On the other hand following the money is an age old investigative technique.
     
  17. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR
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    No Infidels!

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    Not that I know of. I'm not looking really actively, so I don't claim to be 100% up on it. Places that I know are testing now or will be testing soon and drive time from my place.

    Places to start would be Iowa Workforce Development

    http://www.iowajobs.org

    and the state DAS Human Resources

    http://das.iowa.gov/hre/state_jobs.html

    Places that either are taking applications now or will be soon:

    Des Moines PD (must do their academy)
    Dubuque County SO
    Iowa State Patrol - Capitol Complex (must do their academy)
    Iowa DOT (truck enforcement, but full LE powers)
    University of Iowa PD
    Iowa State University PD
    Newton PD
    Cedar Rapids Airport (police/fire/ems, works 24 on / 72 off)
    Cedar Rapids PD (likely after the first of the year, they test every year)
    Ankeny PD

    Also, several departments on the Iowa/Nebraska border that test together are testing:

    http://www.morrowhr.com/publicsafetyhiring.php

    Supposed to be pretty easy to get on with Council Bluffs (Iowa) PD because most people that test want to work in Nebraska (all of the other agencies are NE agencies in the Omaha metro area, and Iowa requires in-state residency).
     
    #17 DaBigBR, Nov 3, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  18. Nick.45

    Nick.45
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    DabigBR is correct, here are links to their applications or information of getting one:

    Des Moines PD
    http://agency.governmentjobs.com/de...0</string></var></struct></data></wddxPacket>

    Ankeny PD
    http://www.ankenyiowa.gov/index.aspx?recordid=143&page=20

    Newton PD
    http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSee...&APath=2.21.0.0.0&job_did=J3G3P16J6WSZFL8XJ4H

    Decatur County Sheriff (app is due in 2 days, Nov 5th, fyi)
    http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSee...&APath=2.21.0.0.0&job_did=J3G48G6Q8254N3K9K5P

    ISP, Capital Complex
    http://www.dps.state.ia.us/jobs/
    http://careercenter.discoverpolicing.org/c/job.cfm?site_id=6207&jb=8931278

    Those are the only ones that I can think of and find right now. You just missed a couple of testing of some Des Moines metro agencies. Alot of them are looking for and will take officers that are already certified in a heartbeat.
     
  19. rhikdavis

    rhikdavis
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    Shoulda asked your FTO if she was getting laid on a semi regular basis...?

    Good luck in the search.
     
  20. beatcop

    beatcop
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    Hang in there...that 7 in a row doesn't sound right at all. Next time keep at it until they extend you or pass you!