Promising Practice:
Sergeants FTO Program and Informal Shadowing Opportunities


[Logo] Camden County, NJ Police DepartmentThe Camden County, NJ Police Department requires all new sergeants to finish their training program by going through a four-week sergeants FTO program.

For the first two weeks, a newly appointed sergeant will ride along with and observe a senior training sergeant. During this time, the senior sergeant will train the new sergeant on topics and criteria including managing roll call, appearance and attitude, supervisory duties, and communication skills.

Two officers inside a cruiserDuring the next two weeks, the senior sergeant will evaluate the new sergeant. Each day the senior sergeant completes an evaluation form, rating the new sergeant on the above criteria. In addition, new supervisors must demonstrate their ability to receive critical feedback review and understand policies such as vehicle pursuits and use of force reporting, and respond to a critical incident. The evaluation also asks the senior sergeant to detail a specific incident that went well or needed improvement each day. After the successful completion of the FTO program, the new sergeant is released from training.

Shadowing and mentoring can also be done more informally. One commander in the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department whose precinct regularly sees both planned and unplanned protests said that he offers to have new sergeants shadow him during these incidents.

Other commanders said they encourage their sergeants to seek out these opportunities when possible. By fostering a culture where veteran personnel are eager to help newer staff, shadowing can become a natural practice in the agency. 

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