Field Training Program


Captain Elizabeth Leonard

The Springfield Police Department's Field Training Officer (FTO) program is both a continuation of the police officer selection process and an intensified training system for newly appointed police officers. Capt. Elizabeth Leonard oversees the FTO program. The FTO program is intended to ease an officer's transition from the academic setting to the performance of general law enforcement patrol duties of the Department so that each new officer is prepared to function as a solo officer at the conclusion of their training.

Field Training Officers are some of our department's best officers. They are regular officers who have two or more years’ experience. They have been selected from eligible officers who have expressed an interest in training recruits, who have demonstrate a general level of performance above the norm and who possess superior skills and abilities in written and verbal communications. Those officers selected to be Field Training Officers attend 40 hours of classroom instruction in strategies and skills of field training using the San Jose model.

All newly assigned officers with no prior history of law enforcement, will be assigned to the structured Field Training Officer Program where the new officer will receive no less than twelve (12) additional weeks of training and evaluation in the field. Those officers with prior experience will receive no less than eight (8) additional weeks under the watchful eye of an FTO. Newly hired officers are required to meet specific performance standards in more than 30 performance categories before being certified for solo patrol duty. The newly hired officer will learn from officers who have already gained a great deal of practical patrol experience in order to prepare the new officer to perform in a patrol assignment, and to ensure the officer possesses skills needed to operate in a safe, skillful, efficient and professional manner.

The combined efforts of all personnel who are a part of the Field Training Program are necessary to ensure its success. While only a few are directly involved in the actual training, every member of the agency and community will benefit to some degree. The success of the Field Training

Program will be evident for years to come through the professional Police Officers developed by the Springfield Police Department Field Training Program.