Field Training Program

Academy Requirements

Previously Uncertified

When new recruits are hired by the Council Bluffs Police Department, they first must successfully complete 16 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.

Previously Certified

Recruits who have been certified in any state with a reciprocal agreement with ILEA may test out of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.  See the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy's Requirements for Out-of-State officers for more information.

After the Academy

Following the academy, the recruits return to the Council Bluffs Police Department for a week of "Mini-Academy" where additional training specific to our City and Department is given by Department instructors.  The recruit then enters a week of orientation where they learn about our partners in law enforcement such as the City and County Attorney's office, the Jail, and the 911 Center.  The recruit then enters 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 a continuation of the recruit selection process.  Every officer 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 Department.  The Council Bluffs Police Department's FTO Program consists of 15 weeks of hands on training taught by Field Training Officers (FTOs).

Field Training Officers are some of our department's best officers. They are Uniform Division  officers 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.

The Department has FTO's on every shift, along with a FTO shift supervisor who monitors the recruits progress.  The program is overseen by the FTO Coordinator, who reports to the Uniform Division Commander and Chief of Police.  

Training Rotation

CBPD now offers an abbreviated FTO program for previously certified police officers.

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

  • Ten weeks of training across the three shifts
  • Two weeks of traffic enforcement training
  • Two weeks of final evaluation

In addition, the recruits attend two Critical Incident Nights during their training.   Critical Incident Nights are intended to evaluate the recruits progress and provide them with feedback as to how they are performing.  


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.

An exhaustive "Skills Mastery" checklist is required to be completed by the end of the FTO Program.  The checklist is broken down into weekly modules with written tests and builds upon previous training.  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 on the FTO Program contact Lt. Knotek.

FTO Coordinator

Lt. Jill Knotek

Phone: (712) 890-5179