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Program Phases

Phase I

The 7th and 8th training intervals of Phase I are primarily designed for observation of the job, the field environment and the operation of the FTEP. Probationary officers receive "hands on" exposure to material being covered in the classroom. Probationary officers are assigned to the FTO they will be riding with for Phase I. Probationary officers act primarily as observers with the FTO leading in performance of most tasks, demonstrating how they are done. Police duties, if any, performed by probationary officers in these intervals are conducted under close supervision of an FTO. Probationary officers are encouraged to participate in any tasks they are ready to perform. Probationary officers with prior experience are allowed and encouraged to participate sooner. This is intended to enhance the relevance and application of classroom instruction without the stress of written evaluation.

Probationary officers do not drive police vehicles until their 9th training interval.

The FTEP patrol unit is considered a one-person training unit until a probationary officer is performing at an acceptable level in officer safety and their FTO is confident they can function as a two-person training unit. Their FTO makes the decision to function as a two-person training unit.

All probationary officers' permanent checklists, field training files and tests are stored in a secure medium or area. Probationary officers do not have unsupervised access to this material.

Calls for Service Signal and Ten Code tests are given during training intervals 2 through 4. Test 1 covers the first column front and back of the signal sheet. Test 2 covers the second column front and back of the signal sheet. Tests 3 and 4 include combinations of all Signals and Ten Codes. Beginning with training interval 2 of Holdover, the probationary officer begins taking examinations on the first day of each training interval.

Beginning with training interval 9 of Phase I, FTOs complete Daily Observation Reports (DOR) for each training day that a probationary officer is assigned to the program. DORs reflect a probationary officer's observed performance based on the Standard Evaluation Guidelines (SEGs). 

When completing a DOR, FTOs refer to the Standard Evaluation Guidelines (SEGS) while completing the form to ensure they abide by the guidelines and to ensure standardization of evaluations in the program. When observed performance of a probationary officer warrants a rating of "1,2,6 or 7", an FTO must provide a written narrative to support the rating. In addition, when the observed performance is a "1", FTOs circle the rating in "red" and a minimum of the first sentence of the narrative relating to the "1" rating appears in "red". 

Beginning with training interval 9, Phase I, FTOs ensure that a minimum of one police report per training interval, completed by their probationary officer, is submitted as a report exemplar with the appropriate exemplar cover. Exemplars are numbered consecutively for each training interval beginning with number 1. Additional exemplars in a given training interval use that training interval's number plus a letter from the alphabet beginning with "a". 

If a probationary officer completes satisfactory written work during the two training intervals of observation, these should be included in the permanent jacket and numbered beginning with "0", then "O-A, O-B etc".

DORs and other required evaluation forms must be completed in a timely fashion and forwarded to a FTO Sergeant for review and inclusion in a probationary officer's permanent file.

Upon completion of the 9th training interval, FTO Corporals conduct a meeting with the FTO and their probationary officer in order to review the previous training interval's progress. Prior to the meeting, a probationary officer's FTO completes a Supervisor's Interval Training Report based on the previous training interval's performance and forwards it to the FTO Corporal. It is used as a guideline to discuss the probationary officer's strengths and weaknesses. The training interval meetings and reports continue throughout the remainder of the program.

Following the probationary officer's 10th training interval, a FTO Sergeant or Corporal completes a Supervisor's Alternate Interval Training Report based on the previous two training intervals Supervisor's Interval Training Reports and/or other written documentation and observed performance. This report forms the basis for a training meeting. In conjunction with the Supervisor's Alternate Interval Training Report, FTEP Staff meetings are held in order to review the progress of each probationary officer currently in the FTEP as needed. The FTEP Coordinator, FTO Sergeants and selected FTOs attend the meetings. In addition to a probationary officers' progress, remedial training plans may be formulated, implemented and/or evaluated as necessary.

During the last training interval of Phase I, probationary officers complete an FTO Evaluation form and a Self-Evaluation form. The Self-Evaluation form details the probationary officer's strengths and weaknesses in his or her own words. The Self-Evaluation form is a tool designed to provide insight into the probationary officer's perception of him/herself in the role of a police officer, provide clues to deficiencies in performance and highlight areas of training that may need additional attention. 

The FTO Evaluation form gives a probationary officer the opportunity to comment on their FTO's performance as well. The FTO Evaluation is not written when their FTO is present. It is administered by an FTO Sergeant and returned directly to the FTEP Coordinator in a sealed envelope marked "confidential". The Coordinator makes any FTO Sergeant aware of immediate problems affecting  training. FTO Sergeants may use the FTO evaluation immediately to address problems or as part of a FTO's mid-point or annual evaluation. FTO Sergeants review the FTO evaluation with the affected FTO only after the probationary officer has left the FTEP. 

The phase exchange form is also be completed by the Phase 1 FTO.

Phase II

Probationary officers matriculate to Phase II, a four interval training and evaluation period. 

Probationary officers transfer to a new FTEP Squad, Sergeant and FTO on the same Cycle in the companion District. Their new FTO reviews their self-evaluation form from Phase I  with the probationary officer, discusses the comments, initials it and files it in the probationary officer's FTEP jacket.. 

The DOR for the first day of Phase II reflects "Orientation" and a probationary officer is not rated on that day. This allows a probationary officer to adjust to his or her new environment.

The remainder of Phase II follows the procedures outlined in Phase I. Interval meetings, Interval FTEP Staff meetings and all accompanying documentation continue. During the last interval of Phase II, a Self-Evaluation form and an FTO Evaluation Form are completed by probationary officers.

Phase III

Phase III is a four interval training and evaluation period. Probationary officers are assigned to different FTOs on the same squad as in Phase II. The probationary officer's Self-Evaluation is handled by their new FTO in the same manner as in Phase II. The DOR for the first day of Phase III reflects "Orientation" and a probationary officer is not rated on that day. DORs continue on subsequent days and the remainder of Phase III follows the same procedures as in Phases I and II. 

As a probationary officer nears the end of Phase III, they should be earning ratings on their DOR indicating that the observed performance is at a minimally acceptable level in all categories of training and that improvement has been shown throughout the FTEP. 

In training interval 20, an FTO Sergeant will evaluate a probationary officer's overall progress. If the probationary officer's performance is minimally acceptable in all categories of training, he or she matriculates to Phase IV. 

If, on the other hand, the FTO Sergeant determines that a probationary officer's performance has not reached a minimally acceptable level in all categories, consideration will be given to an extension of training. Should a probationary officer's performance meet the criteria for extension (as described below), the FTO Sergeant will initiate a Request For Extension.

Extensions

Extensions will be considered under the following circumstances.

  • There are specific, identifiable problems with a probationary officer's performance.

  • A probationary officer has shown continued progress in their deficient performance category.

  • There are specific remedial plans to correct the problem(s).

  • The remedial training plan(s) should reasonably be expected to address and correct the identifiable deficiencies within FTEP guidelines and time limits.

An extension of training can be up to eight training intervals in two training interval increments. A probationary officer may progress to Phase IV after any two training interval increment upon attaining a minimally acceptable level of performance of training. Interval and Bi-Interval Supervisor's reports are submitted to the FTEP Coordinator for review. 

If, by the end of the extension of Phase III, a probationary officer has not attained a minimally acceptable level of performance, the FTEP Coordinator will present documentation of the probationary officer's performance along with the Recommendation for Termination to the Deputy Chief of Police responsible for the FTEP for action as deemed necessary.

Phase IV

Phase IV is a three interval evaluation period. Probationary officer transfer back to their Phase I FTO Squad and, if feasible, are re-assigned with their Phase I FTO. Their FTO acts as an observer/evaluator in Phase IV. FTOs may wear either plain clothes or the uniform of the day at the discretion of their FTO Sergeant.

FTOs still maintain control over the actions and conduct of their probationary officer. It is the FTO's responsibility to insure that proper and prudent police action is taken in accordance with Tampa Police Department policies and procedures, and the law. FTOs, however, do not participate in police service unless absolutely necessary.

All evaluation documents previously described continue in Phase IV. To successfully complete this phase, a probationary officer must achieve acceptable ratings in all categories as reflected in the Supervisor's Interval Training Report. It is necessary to achieve acceptable ratings for two training intervals during the three training interval phase. The acceptable training intervals do not have to be consecutive.

Upon successful completion of the FTEP, a probationary officer matriculates to Phase V. Their FTO Sergeant completes a final FTEP evaluation and a FTEP exit letter summarizing the officer's strengths and weaknesses.

Phase V

Probationary officer transfer to regular patrol squads after successful completion of the first four phases of the FTEP. The remainder of a probationary officer's training becomes the responsibility of their regular squad's Sergeant and Corporal. Evaluations are conducted on a periodic basis as dictated by department policy. The squad Corporal, who remains the chief training officer for regular patrol squads, conducts any additional specialized training. 

Near the end of probation, or separation from employment, probationary officers complete an evaluation of the program in light of the experiences encountered during their probationary period. 

Based upon feedback from FTEP personnel, the contents of the FTEP are reviewed and/or revised on a regular basis to ensure that the program is meeting the needs of the probationary officers.

Specialized Training

It is the philosophy of the Field Training & Evaluation Program to encourage the liberal use of training techniques, including additional classroom training; to promote learning skills while a probationary officer is in the program. In order to accomplish the performance standards of the program, a probationary officer may be temporarily removed from the program during any phase for specialized training to remedy a specific learning problem. Upon successful completion of specialized training, a probationary officer returns to the point in the program where they were removed. When a probationary officer returns to their FTO Squad, a refresher session is conducted on materials previously covered.