Field Training

The MSU Police Department utilizes the San Jose Model for training and evaluating newly hired police officers. Once hired by the MSU Police Department, a new officer will complete three non-scored days to ensure all Human Resources requirements are fulfilled prior to beginning the Field Training Program. Once the Field Training Program begins, the new officer will be thoroughly trained in all aspects of police work.

The goal of the Field Training Program is to improve the overall effectiveness of services we deliver. The objectives of the program are:

  • To produce a highly-trained and positively-motivated police officer capable of meeting or exceeding required standards of performance.
  • To provide equal and standardized training to all newly-hired police officers through various aspects of duties and shift assignments, as well as to provide remedial training in those areas where deficiencies are identified.
  • To establish an appraisal system that is valid and job-related, utilizing a standardized, systematic approach to document the measurement of a new officer’s performance.
  • To provide new officers with a Field Training Officer (FTO) to serve as a role model in the development of the knowledge/skills/abilities needed to adequately perform duties.
  • To ultimately increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the department by enhancing the climate of professionalism and competency demanded by the ethical standards of law enforcement.

The Field Training Program is divided into four phases. A different FTO will work with the new officer in each of the three phases. Each phase has tasks which must be learned by each new officer. The tasks are ordered so that the new officer is exposed to the most basic and necessary tasks first. These tasks form the foundations upon which the new officer will build for the remainder of the program and into subsequent years of service. As the new officer progresses through the program, they will encounter increasingly more difficult tasks. Eventually, the new officer must be able to perform or show proficiency to the majority of tasks necessary to perform as a Michigan State University police officer.

Each phase of the FTO program is completed in approximately one month. This time frame is an estimate, as some new officer’s progress through each phase at slightly different paces. Once a new officer has successfully completed the three phases of the FTO program, the new officer will be placed in the “Shadow” phase. This is a period, normally two weeks, where the new officer will perform the duties of a police officer without the help of their FTO, who will be in plain clothes for the duration of the “Shadow” phase. Once the new officer has successfully completed the “Shadow” phase of the FTO program, the new officer will be released from the FTO program and will be assigned to a shift to work with other fellow Michigan State University police officers. A new officer who has recently completed the Field Training Program will be on probationary for a minimum of 12 months which can be extended to 18 months, if necessary.