Assignment Pay for Field Training Officers
Field training officers are a law enforcement agency’s greatest asset. Generally, they are the top performers in the agency. They take on extra duties as mentors, instructors, and organizers of community programs. Field training officers have a tremendous amount of responsibility based on the amount of influence they exert over the new recruits coming into a law enforcement agency. When talking about the bond created between a recruit and a field training officer, Blackwell (2014) stated “To this day, I have not forgotten the many lessons I learned from my FTO’s back in the day, the ones who took me under their wings and taught me a lesson or two about being a good cop” (para. 1). Field training officers’ mold the character and work ethic of the recruits assigned to them, which, in turn, shapes the culture of a law enforcement agency for years to come. Field training officers must continually maintain proficiency in the tactics associated with andragogy, the art and science of helping adults learn. They must be an effective communicator, understand the barriers to communication, and be able to mitigate such effects. They must stay abreast of the latest training trends, academy curriculums, and teaching tactics. Furthermore, they must be an expert on agency policy and procedure. Yet, with all these responsibilities, field training officers are only compensated for their time when they actually have a recruit in their patrol units. On a yearly basis, there is a plethora of uncompensated time that is basically donated to the law enforcement agency and city they serve. Law enforcement agencies should continue to maintain assignment pay for those individuals identified as field training officers.