Kalamazoo Public Safety utilizes the San Jose Model for training and evaluating newly hired Public Safety Officers (PSO). Once hired by Public Safety, a new officer will complete a brief classroom training period before being placed with a training officer. Kalamazoo Public Safety has a large number of young, motivated Field Training Officers (FTO) that will train and mentor a new officer in all aspects of becoming a PSO. The new officer will be thoroughly trained in all aspects of police work, fire fighting and medical first responder calls for service.
The goal of the Field Training Officer program is to improve the overall effectiveness of Public Safety services delivered. The objectives of the program are:
- To produce a highly-trained and positively-motivated Public Safety Officer capable of meeting or exceeding required standards of performance.
- To provide equal and standardized training to all newly-hired PSOs through various aspects of duties and shift assignments, to provide remedial training in those areas where deficiencies are identified.
- To establish an appraisal system that is valid and job-related, utilizing a standardized, systematic approach to document the measurement of a trainee’s performance.
- To provide trainee’s with a Field Training Officer to serve as a roll model in the development of the knowledge/skills/abilities needed to perform PSO duties.
- To ultimately increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the department by enhancing the climate of professionalism and competency demanded by the ethical standards of law enforcement.
The FTO program is divided into three phases. A different FTO will work with the trainee in each of the three phases. Each phase has tasks which must be learned by each new officer. The tasks are ordered so that the trainee is exposed to the most basic and necessary tasks first. These tasks form the foundations upon which the trainee will build for the remainder of the program and into subsequent years of service. As the trainee progresses through the program, they will encounter increasingly more difficult tasks. Eventually, the trainee must be able to perform or show proficiency to the majority of tasks necessary to perform as a Public Safety Officer.
Each phase of the FTO program is completed in approximately one month. This time frame is an estimate, as some trainee’s progress through each phase at slightly different paces. Once a trainee has successfully completed the three phases of the FTO program, the trainee will be placed in the “Shadowing” phase. This is a period, normally a week or two, where the trainee will be released on their own in a patrol car to work in one of the seven zones within the City of Kalamazoo. The trainee will handle calls for service and work independently from the FTO. The trainee’s FTO will be in a separate patrol vehicle and arrive at the trainee’s calls for service and offer assistance and advice. Once the trainee has successfully completed the Shadowing phase of the FTO program, the trainee will be released from the FTO program and will be assigned to a station to work with other Public Safety Officers.