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The Oneonta Police Department’s Field Training Program is intended to ease a police officers
transition from the academic setting to the performance of general law enforcement patrol duties
of the department. In the case of a lateral officer, it will likewise facilitate the newly hired
officer’s transition into the philosophy, policies, and procedures of the Oneonta Police
Department. Although an officer graduating from the police academy has received a thorough
introduction to basic law enforcement classes, that officer cannot be expected to immediately
function as an experienced officer.

Newly assigned officers, whether entry-level or lateral officers from another agency, must
receive additional training in the field, where they can learn from officers who have already
gained a great deal of practical patrol experience with the Oneonta Police Department. The Field
Training Program introduces a newly assigned officer to the personnel, procedure, policies, and
purposes of the department as well as providing the initial training specific to the day-to-day
duties of its officers.

In order to make the new officers effective and ready as possible, they are assigned to a
Field Training Officer (FTO). The FTO is an experienced officer, specially selected and trained
to conduct this type of training. The FTO will thoroughly review the field training materials with
a newly assigned officer and demonstrate proper patrol procedures. Probationary officers will be 

required to perform various law enforcement duties under the guidance and supervision of their
assigned FTO and the Field Training Supervisor. The new officer will be evaluated daily by the
FTO and monitored by the FTO Supervisor through weekly and segment reports.

This one-on-one style of training, in real law enforcement situations, sets it apart from any prior
academic endeavor. Field training has a significant impact on the individual officer in terms of
imprinting attitudes, style, values, and ethics in carrying out the duties of police work that will
remain throughout their career. It is the most effective influence on the future direction of our
department. The field training program effectively introduces officers to the department; not only
to develop the necessary technical skills but also to reflect the ethical policing philosophy of the
Oneonta Police Department toward the community we serve.

The field training staff has the monumental responsibility of building the future of the
department through the people they train. To assure success in this task, the field training
program follows a training philosophy that ensures every new officer is given the maximum
opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job. The program creates a positive environment
in which learning is maximized and in which students are able to perform to the best of their
ability. The program is fair, firm, friendly, and, above all, professional. The professional and
ethical standards of the officers we turn out must be beyond reproach. Evaluation is sincere and
given in a straight forward manner, documenting the positive as well as the negative aspects of
performance. At no time are probationary officers demeaned or ridiculed. New officers are
treated with respect, dignity, and compassion. Typically the training program lasts 3-4 months.

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.

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