The final critical component in the development of recruit officers is their field training. After graduating from their academy training, recruit officers move on to the field training program. A series of Field Training Officers (FTOs) are assigned to provide training and mentoring to each recruit. FTOs are experienced patrol officers who have applied and been chosen to help train recruits. This intensive field training program helps recruit officers develop skills learned in the classroom and learn to apply those skills to real-life police work.
The field training program usually consists of about 17 weeks of training involving at least four different FTOs for each recruit officer. Trainees are evaluated on a daily basis and the trainers provide significant feedback. The goal of the program is to develop an officer who is ready to assume the challenging tasks and decisions that police officers must perform. This is the formative period for a young officer’s career, making quality field training vital to his or her development as a police officer.
Training doesn’t end when officers are assigned to a patrol beat. Eugene police officers receive a significant amount of continuing education every year through required in-service training sessions and voluntary outside training opportunities. Officers on specialized teams—such as the K-9, SWAT, and bomb teams—also undergo regular training specific to their assignment.