Field Training Officer Program (FTO)

The mission of the Brainerd Police Department field training program is to provide future police officers in this department with the instruction and experience needed to become the finest and best trained officers possible.

Training Process

It is not easy to become a Brainerd Police Officer and the Field Training Officer (FTO) program is a vital part of the total process. In addition to passing a thorough background check, undergoing a complete medical examination, psychological and physical aptitude testing, the new recruit must satisfactorily complete the FTO program.

The FTO program, consisting of 5 individual steps, is a training and evaluation process providing the probationer with "coaches" - in essence, mentors. The field training officers act as instructors and then assess and coach the probationer as the probationer executes the skills and performance objectives to become effective police officers. The program provides a link between basic law enforcement education curriculum and the skills and tasks required of a patrol officer on the street. Steps one through four encompass 16 weeks of intense training, with three different field training officers. Step 5 encompasses the remaining eight months of the probationary period, wherein the probationer is on solo patrol utilizing the skills he/she gained during the previous four steps. The program is administered by a chosen and trained group of Field Training Officers, and a Field Training Sergeant.

The demands placed on police officers in today's society require them to acquire and maintain a vast amount of knowledge. To be effective and safe, they must learn quickly and be able to relate their knowledge to field situations. The FTO program satisfies these demands by integrating the learning process which begins in the classroom with the practical application of field instruction. It is an approach to training that is based on a system of formal, standardized and structured teaching and evaluation. The result will be a probationary officer who has been thoroughly trained and who is confident and efficient.