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Training Theories for New Police Recruits Review Term Paper

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Updated: Sep 20th, 2021


The police training officer program (PTO) is a post-academy training program created from the educational approach known as problem-based learning.

The program was developed by United States Department of Justice office of community oriented Policing Services to train police recruits once they graduate from the police academy. It was initially developed to replace the 30 year old field training (FTO) program, which research surveys indicated had become incompatible with community based policing and problem solving. The COPS office of the U.S department of Justice funded research and implementation of the program.

Working of PTO

The police Training Officer program runs16 weeks once recruits academy training. The program is broken into four three-week phases including non-emergency, emergency, patrol and criminal investigation. Each phase of training is accompanied by a learning exercise, which the recruits must resolve using daily calls for service and community partnerships. The program also includes a neighborhood familiarization project to teach new recruits how to partner with community residents to effectively deal with crime and neighborhood problems. Independent evaluators assess the recruit’s progress throughout.

A team of police experts from U.S and Canada created the Police Training Officer program. The team was led by Reno police chief Jerry Hoover and included Deputy Chief Rons Glensor, Commander Steve Pits, Officer Dave Ponte (Reno P.D) and Gary Cleveland Gregory Saville, former Canadian Police Officer. The program was field tested for the first time in 2000 in the Reno Police Department.Reno; Nevada.It was later expended into five other pilot academies, through the assistance of the police Executive Research Forum and the COPS office. Those agencies include Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina), Colorado Springs (Colorado), Richmond (California), Lowell Springs (Massachussetts, and and Savannah (Georgia). As of 2007 more than 100 police agencies have to now successfully adopt the PTO program using problem based learning as the basis of recruit training, and the state of California has begun adopting across that state.

Practitioners from Reno and organizations reworked the PTO program in 2003 across the United States to better reflect the use of the model by some organization. The modification has been called Reno model to differentiate it from the original COPS product and earlier SanJose model FTO program. The program has also been reworked other agencies since the original PTO model or the COPS office was designed to allow flexible tailoring by each agency. Example, the case in the Charllotte-Mecklenberg police, NC, the Folsom police California, and the Edmonton police, Alberta Canada. Each year a number of this model are brought the conference of the police practitioners and agencies from across North America.

There are other examples if PTO around the world which include-Jerry Hoover, while working for the United Nations in Sudan and the U.S state department in Iraq, modified the PTO model so that it could be applied to foreign post-conflict police organizations. In 2003 Gerry Cleveland and Gregory Saville, while working for the U.S Department of Justice brought versions of the PTO and the police academy of Mozambique, Africa, in an effort to tailor it to developing countries.

Due to success of the program, a subsequent certification process was developed for police instructors called police problem Based Learning (PBL) for instructor Development. Also funded by the COPS office, the program led to creation of the non-affiliated police society for Problem Based Learning, an international organization of police instructors interested in improving all aspects of police education.

Objectives of the PTO

Main objectives behind the police training officer program was that through such a training police officers are placed in a position to perform their duties in a pro-active, problem solving capacity, identifying problem or conditions and developing strategies to address them, delivering the services, and analysizing their effectiveness, maintain a rigorous physical routine and tactical knowledge necessary to protect oneself and others.


For example according to a student officer training program conducted by the Newyork City police Academy, the intensive program consists of 26 weeks of classroom instructions and field instructions, supplemented by another six months in the community patrol officer program under close supervision of experienced officers. all new recruits to the police department must undergo this training. Due to the integrated nature of the curriculum as it unfolds over the 26 weeks, the descriptions which reflect the major themes that thread thorough the program and correspond to content areas and courses titles within degrees where credit may be awarded.

Credit recommendation

A total of 33 semester hours, distributed in 11 content areas grouped alphabetically.

Emergency vehicle operation-Location-Designated field training locations throughout the city of Newyork


Legal aspects of vehicle operation, driving regulations cause of accidents, defensive driving attitude analysis, mandatory vehicle inspection, anatomy of a crash, habit defensive driving and stopping distances, light and sirens, negotiationg the intersection backing the vehicle maintenance and inspection, flare placement and accident situations, fueling vehicles, steering techniques, use of mirrors, braking turns, safe driving techniques, seat belt etc.

Credit recommendation:-in the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category,1 semester hour in police science or criminal justice.

Field Training Program

Location: -Designated field training locations throughout the city or Newyork.

Length:-In addition to the didactic component of the student officer Training Program, recruits engage approximately 35 hours per week, on the job practice.

Instructions: Upon graduating from the police Academy probationary police officers are assigned to precinct Field Training Units. Under the direction of a field training sergeants and other ranking officer completes foot patrols and radio motor patrol tours, they are shown the manner in which to respond to serious emergencies, crimes in progress, tactical confrontations, and crowd control. Pribationary police officers are thoroughly briefed and reinstructed on Department policies and procedures. Monthly evaluation (by the field training sergeant) and certification as a police officer takes place at the end of the probationary period.

Credit recommendation

In the upper division baccalaureate degree category 3 semester hours as an internship in police science or criminal justice.

Physical Education

Foundation or physical fitness

  1. Defensive tactics.
  2. American Heart Association Basic Life Support.


  • Part 1: Survey of physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of physical fitness, neuromuscular skill and biomechanics, scientific approach towards assessing entry-level overall physical conditioning nutrition, and basic health habits.
  • Part 2: Theory skills and practice of judo, karate, and techniques from selected martial arts including basic blows, throws and defenses, application of these skills to combative situations. Defense skills necessary to protect one when securing an arrest and confinement also stressed, including unarmed self-defense (Sparring)
  • Part 3: Land based water rescue, safety procedures and use of flotation devices and safety aids, principles of safety; theory and practice of first aid procedures in emergency situations (shock, wounds heart attacks, and strokes) and extrications in dangerous situations.

Police Crisis Intervention

Instruction: – The component provides practical application or they and police procedure designed to assist officers in interacting effectively and humanely with crime victims, suspects, and parties to disputes, family violence, and other interpersonal crimes.

Police Field Problems

The policy officer’s ability to protect lives, and property while responding to critical events such as disorders and reports of violent crimes is stressed. The tactics and strategies are presented, which are designed to assist officers in accompanying their law enforcement and order maintenance tasks in manner violations, or fictions between police and citizens. Role-plays and debriefing are provided.

Police investigations and reporting

It covers the proper selection, preparation, and use of police and other governmental reports to facilitate crime-fighting and order maintenance tasks, computer applications in police investigations, and emphasizing access to official databases.


Abell, Sheehy. Criminal Law & Procedure Concord, ON: Captus Press, 2007.

Association of Metropolitan Authorities Working Party on Police Training. Police Training: The Role of the Police Authority in Police Training Matters, AMA, London. 1991.

Audit Commission. Police Paper No. 4, the Management of Police Training, HMSO, London. 1989.

Bergma, Berman. The Criminal Law Handbook. Berkeley, 2006.

Champion, Dean Criminal Courts. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education Inc., 2008.

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