There are approximately 18,000 police jurisdictions in the United States. And in those jurisdictions, many are made up of small-town police departments with only a handful of law enforcement officers on duty.
In 2019, there were nearly 800,000 new officers joining the force. And all of those officers were subject to something known as field training.
In this article, we’ll talk about why field training is vital to creating the next generation of effective law enforcement agents. Read on for more information.
What is Field Training?
Field training is just like it sounds: training in the field.
While potential law enforcement agents do go through theory training, there is only so much someone can learn in a classroom. And as a police officer, your job isn’t spent in the classroom, it is spent dealing with the public in your town or city.
Field training is when more experienced police officers take new police officers, or those in training, out with them while they work. During field training, they can see the area where they’ll be working, get to know parts of town they may not have been familiar with previously, as well as see how experienced police officers handle situations.
It’s like the practical portion, or the laboratory portion, of a science class. Here, you’ll put what you’ve learned in the classroom in action.
Why Is It So Important?
There are a number of reasons why field training is so crucial to a police officer becoming a full-fledged member of the force.
One of the first reasons is that it helps police officers get used to the culture of the staff. They’ll get to see first hand how officers interact with one another, and how they work together to solve problems. This makes it easier for them to then call for help, or know who to call, in certain situations in the future.
Field training also helps potential police officers learn what crimes are committed most often in their communities. It gives them an idea of what to expect when they join the force, as well as how other officers handle these crimes and offenses.
As a field training officer, police officers will also get the chance to scope out the city and find areas of criminal hotspots. While as a citizen you may have suspected a certain area had a high level of crime, being on the field helps you understand for certain where you’ll be most often.
The Practical Side of Things
Field training, in essence, is the practical side of training to become a police officer. It is a vital part of the program, as, without it, new officers would likely just be floundering on their own if they went from classroom to the trenches.
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