Field Training Officer Program

Field Training Officer

When new recruits are hired by the Council Bluffs Police Department, they first must successfully complete 14 weeks of basic police academy training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). Those who complete basic training are "certified" as Iowa Law Enforcement Officers.

After the Academy

Following the academy, recruits complete two weeks of orientation with the Council Bluffs Police Department. They next enter the Field Training Officer (FTO) Program. The Council Bluffs Police Department's FTO Program began in June 1995, and is modeled after the San Jose, California Police Department's FTO Program.

Our FTO Program

The FTO Program is part of the recruit selection process. All officers hired by the Council Bluffs Police Department must complete the FTO Program. Recruit officers who do not successfully complete the FTO Program do not continue employment with the Police Department. The Council Bluffs Police Department's FTO Program consists of 15 weeks of training taught by Field Training Officers (FTOs).

Special Recognition

Field Training Officers are some of our department's best officers. They are regular officers who work in the Uniform Division and who have two or more years experience. They have been selected from eligible officers who have expressed an interest in training recruits, who have demonstrated a general level of performance above the norm, and who possess superior skills and abilities in written and verbal communications. Those officers selected to be Field Training Officers attend 40 hours of classroom instruction in strategies and skills of field training using the San Jose model.

Explaining Training

The FTO Program's 15 weeks of training is made up of:

  • Four weeks of training on each of three shifts
  • One week of traffic enforcement training
  • Two weeks of final evaluation
During each day of training, Field Training Officers complete a Daily Observation Report (DOR) on the recruit plus they complete Daily Training Notes. These forms are used to constructively critique the recruit's performance using "Standardized Evaluation Guidelines" so that the evaluation is done objectively.

Skills Mastery Checklists

An exhaustive set of "Skills Mastery Checklists" are also required to be completed by the end of the FTO Program. The FTO and recruit work on these checklists almost daily. This is to assure that recruits are trained in every aspect of police work before they are released from the FTO Program.

For More Information

For more information contact the Police Department at (712) 328-4701.