What is a police field training officer?

A field training officer is a senior member of a police department who rides along with police academy graduates during a probationary period and evaluates their interactions and progress on the streets.


A police field training officer must have at least a few years of policing experience–the number of years depends on each department’s field training needs–as well as a good performance record.


The officer who aspires to be a field training officer must take a classroom course and a test for supervisory certification through the department’s required state program. For example, the Peace Officer Standards and Training program–P.O.S.T.–is offered in California and a few other states.


The responsibility of a field training officer is to let trainees apply their academy studies to the job. The training officer entrusts rookie officers to handle actual law-enforcement situations and oversees their problem solving and decision making.


A field training officer should provide frequent and honest evaluations and point out ways to improve certain skills so trainees can stay in line with departmental procedures and community expectations.


A successful field training officer molds graduates into confident officers who are reliable backups for colleagues in threatening situations.


U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services

More Information:

U.S. Department of Justice: Police Training Officer (PTO) Program