The Salina 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. Sgt. Sarah Cox heads the FTO Program and supervises 10 Field Training Officers. 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.
Although an officer graduating from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC) has received a thorough introduction to basic law enforcement subjects that officer cannot be expected to immediately function as an experienced officer. New officers receive two weeks of post academy instruction, taught by FTO's who cover multiple topics. Upon completion of the post academy, new officers receive an additional 15-week training and evaluation in the field, under the watchful eye of an FTO, where they can learn from officers who have already gained a great deal of practical patrol experience. The FTO Program introduces a newly assigned officer to the personnel, procedures, policies, and purposes of the department and provides the initial formal and informal training specific to the day-to-day duties of police officers. It is an important component of the recruit's growth and is designed to complement academy classroom training.
By the time the recruit completes the Training Academy and the FTO Program, the department has a substantial amount of time and expense invested, and the FTO Program greatly enhances the likelihood that new officers will succeed in solo field assignments.