The Field Training Officer Program (FTO) is designed to provide on-the-job training for all new officers. Even officers with experience from another department are required to complete the FTO program. The program offers training on all aspects of law enforcement, some that may be unique to Columbus, Indiana.
The FTO program is comprised of three phases. The phases will build upon one another to give a good foundation of knowledge designed to enhance performance. The new officer will have a different FTO for each phase. This gives the new officer three different styles to observe, giving them a basis to form their own style of policing.
Not every officer is trained as an FTO. The officers who demonstrate a mastery of skills and knowledge coupled with ability to mentor and teach are chosen for this important assignment. FTOs want to ensure the new officers are well trained. FTOs have the task of training officers that will someday be their "back-up" officer on a high-risk call. This is different than many types of training, where instruction is given, and then the student is sent off on their own. The FTOs will be depending on the new officer to be capable of providing critical assistance when needed.