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Training Program

The Field Training Program (FTP) is a training sequence consisting of a Mini-Academy and four phases for police officer and two phases for PSA, designed to enhance and maintain the Lakeland Police Department’s Commitment to Excellence. The program is designed to expose the recruit to a multitude of experiences and facilitate the transition from a recruit to that of a proficient police officer or public safety aide. In the Mini-Academy, the recruit is provided an all-inclusive classroom and hands on training phase consisting of approximately seven weeks for police officers and Public Safety Aides of specific job-related training. Upon the completion of classroom training, the recruit advances to Phase 1 and is exposed to a rigorous street training process. Phases 2 - 3 consists of increasing proficiency levels, and is designed to provide the recruit with suitable practical experience to enable them to effectively enter into service as a police officer or public safety aide. Upon completion of the FTP, the new police officer or public safety aide will commence their probationary employment period.

The Field Training Program (FTP) of the Lakeland Police Department is a process used for the training and evaluation of Recruit Officers and Public Safety Aides (PSA) during their probationary period. The program is coordinated through the use of police officers who are known as Field Training Officers (FTOs) and by working in conjunction with supervisory personnel. The training and evaluation process is summarized in the documentation of the work performance of Recruit Officers.

The primary purpose of the Field Training Program is to produce competent street officers. Therefore, one of the first goals of the program must be to identify the most effective training methods for use in the program. The simplest and best way to accomplish this goal is by the use of skilled street officers as trainers for the Recruit Officers. Ideally, only the very best street officers are selected as trainers. In order to validate the training of Recruit Officers, it is necessary to evaluate their job performance throughout the training period. 

The net result of an effectively administered program will be deliverance to the public of the most capable police service possible.

The Field Training Program for the Lakeland Police Department is based on the program initiated by the San Jose, California Police Department in 1972. The San Jose Program has been copied, in whole or in part, by numerous other police agencies throughout the country. The program’s applicability to the identification of behaviors fulfilled by a police officer was verified through a comparison with job studies conducted by the courts and by the Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) as a valid instrument for the training and evaluation of recruit law enforcement officers.

The Field Training Officer Program is designed to supplement academic instruction through field experience. It serves as an important step in the process of a recruit becoming a non-probationary Lakeland Police Officer. The recruit who satisfactorily completes all phases outlined in the program will be completely trained to handle a wide range of situations with both confidence and insight.

Field Training is intended to give new recruits instruction, direction, supervision, and experience. This training is structured to produce a police officer who is able to work a solo assignment in a safe, skillful, productive and professional manner. The field training period also serves to aid in determining if the recruit has all the requisites to become a permanent member of the department.