Police training ends with four months of field work

The last couple of weeks you’ve read about a police officer’s hiring process and the police academy course of study. Before becoming a solo-certified police officer, a new hire must successfully complete a Field Training & Evaluation Program.

The program’s length in Boulder City is approximately 16–20 weeks. During these weeks, the program is usually divided up into four segments. Trainees are instructed and evaluated by several field-training officers during this time.

Field-training officers are usually senior officers who want to be involved in training and acting as mentors to trainees. They usually have at least five years on patrol and are well-versed in patrol work.

During the program’s first phase (four to five weeks), trainees usually observe the trainers and perform no more than 25 percent of the work. Trainees learn to complete some paper work, talk with victims, suspects and possibly begin to drive. The trainee’s scores can range from 1, the lowest, to 7, exemplary. In this phase the trainee should be receiving at least 4 in every category.

Grading categories are for demeanor, uniform cleanliness, relationships with department members, relationships with the public, knowledge of Nevada law, police tactics, officer safety, vehicle operation, knowledge of police codes, radio procedures, decision-making skills and report writing. These may seem straight forward, but under pressure you’d be surprised.

If you pass the first phase, you move on to Phase Two (four to five weeks). The trainee does about 50 percent of the work. The trainers begin putting time pressures and the trainee must contend with a hurry-up mind set. Police departments are usually short-staffed. But the calls for service have no regard for staffing levels. Down a report or two, here comes another call.

In the third phase, trainees do 75 percent to 90 percent of the work . This four to five weeks is fun, but most demanding. The trainers set their trainees up with scenario-based training. Trainees are evaluated at how well they handle most everything. If successful, the last phase is the trainee’s solo phase.

The trainer wears civilian clothes and all attention is on the trainee. The trainee is expected to complete all of the work. The trainee may not even know it, but the person who ran from the trainee on a traffic stop may be another officer. This gives the field-training officers an opportunity to see how effective the trainee handles situations. The trainee is scrutinized to the max. Can’t mess up here. If you make it, then you’re on your own. Celebration! Well, you still have another year until you’re off probation.

“Control 269, I’ll be 10-8 with a ride along.”

On April 7, officers were dispatched to the area of Del Sol in reference to a domestic disturbance. Officers arrive and make contact with the female victim. Allegedly the boyfriend physically battered the female. How do we know? The strangulation marks on her neck were a good indication of who the primary aggressor was. A warrant request was submitted to the district attorney since the male was gone on arrival.

April 8, the night shift was on a burglary suppression detail. After checking a local business they found that the business doors were locked. But during parking lot patrol, the officers located a few car doors that were unlocked. Please lock your doors on your homes and cars.

April 9, dispatch responds to the area of Darlene Drive regarding a subject taking a bunch of pills. The caller says a female friend is out of it, but does not want anyone to respond. Officers check it out but all is code 4. (Code 4 equals OK.)

April 10, undercover officers and a 20-year-old decoy did underage alcohol buys. Out of all the businesses visited, only one sold alcohol to the minor. That’s not a little ticket either ($$$$$). If you work where alcohol is sold, check those IDs!

On April 11, officers respond to the area of 1500 block of Nevada Highway regarding narcotics activity. They run into a former resident, who has been arrested for narcotic sales in the past. No drugs were found this time. But the subject was served with multiple protection orders.

April 12, officers were dispatched to a vehicle collision on northbound U.S. Highway 93 and Veterans Memorial Drive. The at-fault vehicle was returning home after a morning fishing trip. Officers noticed the at-fault driver appeared to have a speech impediment, kind of slurring his words. After a few Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises the driver was arrested for DUI. Thankfully no one was hurt in the afternoon collision.

On April 13, a Von’s manager calls to report a shoplifter. Officers arrive and make contact with one of our local thieves. She was at it again; the booze is all locked up but the mouth wash isn’t. The alleged shoplifter was issued a citation for petty larceny.

As the temperature rises please remember to take care of your furry friends. Make sure your pets have plenty of water. Until next week, be safe!

Officer Jeffrey Grasso is a 10-year veteran of the Boulder City Police Department. He previously served as a police officer in south Florida for four years.

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