The Field Training & Evaluation Unit is part of the Uniform Patrol Division. As such it is commanded by, and reports directly to the Division Chief of patrol. The unit is responsible for providing additional training to officers who have either graduated from the police academy, or have been hired having prior service with another agency. Each watch has one Field Training Supervisor and at least 2 Field Training Officers assigned. It is regarded as the most important unit in a law enforcement agency because the work they do affects the trainee and the agency for the remainder of their career.
The FTOs are used to introduce the new officer to the process of providing uniformed law enforcement services. They provide the link between basic academy training and the performance expectations of the community and the Oak Lawn Police Department. While assigned to the FT&E Program the officers are assigned to work with a number of FTOs with the goal of transferring knowledge into hands-on skills performed at an acceptable level. Each week the Field Training Supervisor (FTS), the FTO, and officer formally review the progress made. The entire field training process lasts approximately 16 weeks once the officer has either graduated from the academy or been hired from another agency.
Officers desiring to become Field Training Officers must submit an application. The FT&E Commander and the FT&E Coordinator review the officer’s employment history and training. All candidates are then formally interviewed. Once selected, the officer will attend a rigorous 40 hours of classroom instruction before being allowed to train a new officer. Here they will be introduced to the field training process, legal requirements of training, evaluation methods and documentation. After completing this basic training the officers will attend additional training in the FT&E process, as well as general police subjects in order to maintain the high standards required of today’s law enforcement instructor. In addition to the above training the FTS attends advanced schooling for management of the program. This can range from 16 to 40 hours per program.