How often have you as an academy or field trainer complained about the Recruiting Unit saying, "What is the matter with those people in recruiting. Where do they find these people they are hiring?"
How often have the recruiting people muttered, "I am tired of hearing trainers complain about the people we hire. We do a good job and I wish they would just focus on doing their job and train them."
How often have FTOs and PTOs muttered the words, "What the hell are they teaching these people in the Academy. I can't believe what they are sending out to the field."
I have written before about 'Silos' in organizations and more specifically in agency and academy Training Sections. In both my Excellence in Training workshop for trainers and my Dare to Be Great leadership workshops I speak about the need to identify and break down those silos.
Three of the silos you need to immediately recognize and work to breakdown are:
- The Academy and,
- The FTOs / PTOs.
In most agencies Recruiting does a great job of vetting and selecting good people. Too many trainers however, have very little understand of that process. As a result Academy trainers as well as FTOs / PTOs spend a lot of time complaining about the people that get hired.
Trainers (Academy and FTO / PTO) need to do four things:
- Accept that when you were new your trainers were saying the same thing about you. You have learned, developed and grown into the officer, the person and the trainer that you are today. You were not like you are now when you were a recruit.
- Accept that organizations generally hire good people, but not all the good people who get hired are a good fit for the profession or for your organization.
- Understand that your job is to give the people who have been hired everything you can to help them to learn, grow and develop into quality young officers. Stop complaining about Recruiting and focus on providing great training, coaching and mentoring.
- Reach out to Recruiting to break down the silos. Find out what their challenges, frustrations and pressures are. Find out about the vetting process. Learn how they recruit, screen and hire people for your agency. Ask how you can better serve them and work as a team, instead of functioning as independent silos.
At the same time as you are taking these four steps you also need to be aggressive in breaking down the silos that exist between the Academy and the FTOs / PTOs. FTOs should be an extension of the Academy. They should know what is being taught and strive to help the recruits to apply what they learned in the Academy setting to "the real world" out in the field. Unfortunately there are still FTOs who tell their recruits on Day 1, "Forget all that crap they taught you in the academy. I will show you how things work here in the real world." Why? because they have no idea what is being taught in the academy and do not feel like they are part of the training evolution.
Whose responsibility is it to break down the silos between the Academy and the field trainers? If you work in the Academy it is 100% your responsibility. If you are an FTO / PTO it is 100% your responsibility. Confused by my math? It is only when each group accepts full responsibility to fix the issue that we will have complete success.
Recruiting, the Academy and the FTOs / PTOs should all be part of the integrated selection and training of new law enforcement professions. They should be working to support each other to ensure they are all working together to start a new officer out with the best mindset, attitude, training and preparation possible. The stakes are too high not to be doing this.
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