Monday, May 12, 2008

You threatening me?

My second week of training has come and gone. This time, my Officer in Training was evaluated every day on his performance. He is learning quickly but will need to spend some time improving his 'officer presence.' It's not easy to issue commands to strangers (especially when you're 21 and the big, mean 45 year old responds with "What for!!??") I'll be working on boosting his confidence and assertiveness this week.

One of the calls we received was from a frantic woman. She came home to find a threatening message and was fearful for her safety. She directed us to a piece of palm tree bark lying on the ground of her front yard. How would you react if you found this terrifying omen in your yard:

She then explained a tree in her backyard fell down taking a power line with it. There was no damage to anyone else's property but she was convinced the neighbors were upset about the utility company fixing the power lines in her yard. She was certain the coming and going of utility vans were threatening her very existence.

I did my best to assure her people are not typically killed for having electrical workers in their own backyard. I pointed out most assassins are decent spellers and prefer to use more conventional media types than palm trees.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Rookie Week

One down and five to go.

I just finished "free week" with my trainee. The first week designed to let the OIT get accustomed to the job without having the pressure of being graded or evaluated. I tried to cram as much information into his head as I could without overwhelming him. The next five weeks I will be completing a daily evaluation of his performance. If successful, he'll move on to the next phase of training with a different Field Training Officer. My first priority was making sure he stopped calling me, "Sir."

I tried to explain we were both officers and to please call me by my first name. He did his best but the the police academy regiment kicked in a few times as he addressed me as 'Sir' or 'Officer.'

He's a young, athletic kid with a wholesome look and bit of naivete. He has a solid knowledge of radio codes and street locations but lacks the presence, confidence, and control of a seasoned officer. Hopefully, this will improve over time. I can't remember how I felt during my first week as an Officer in Training but I wouldn't be surprised to hear I too, was a nervous timid little spaz. His biggest obstacle so far is spelling.

I know, spelling is not exactly the top priority when bullets are whizzing past you but it is important to be able to document things accurately. I have a feeling 'spell check' software will be my OIT's most trusted companion.

Our first week together was pretty active. We made several arrests for warrants, shoplifting, and aggravated DUI. It was a productive week that seemed to fly by in no time. In short I'd sum up my first week as an FTO as, "so far, so good."