Dunn County Sheriff Clay Coker with Deputy Tim Sul.
The new Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP) was launched in March of 2014. Before the FTEP, the department did not have a formal Field Training program. New personnel rode with a deputy for a few days in order to orientate them to the county. They were handed keys to a patrol vehicle and told to enforce the law. This of course led to inconsistencies with how one deputy handled a situation compared to the next deputy and posed potential liability issues for the department.
Sheriff Coker requested funding for the training of Field Training Officers (FTOs) in the first round of the Criminal Justice Oil Impact Funding Grants in 2013. The training funds were part of the grant awarded in October of 2013. The department now has four trained and certified FTOs. Each FTO has been through a forty (40) hour FTO training and certification course.
The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department FTEP is based on the Kaminski and Associates Incorporated model of field training, which has been recognized as a leader in providing training in the Field Training Officer (FTO) concept since the mid-1970s. The program is overseen by the FTEP Coordinator. There is also an FTEP supervisor. Our FTEP consists of an orientation phase where the trainee is sworn in, qualified with weapons, certified with North Dakota POST, and issued equipment. Once the orientation phase is over the trainee moves into the first phase of field training where he/she learns the ways of the department by studying our policy and procedures manual and being tested on the same. There are four (4) phases total, each increasing by complexity of the tasks which have to be performed and graded on. Each day, the trainee is evaluated by their FTO on a daily evaluation report. In total, the trainees are required to perform and are graded on 40 law enforcement topics or tasks. An example of some of the tasks are: driving skills, DUI procedures, response to domestic violence, arrest procedures, felony stops, etc. The FTEP is a tool by which we grade probationary deputies and if they do not make the cut, they are re-trained or terminated. The training is 14 weeks in length.
Deputy Sul also recently completed the mandatory North Dakota POST training at the Law Enforcement Academy is Bismarck and is now a fully licensed North Dakota Peace Officer. The implementation of the FTEP shows that The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department in now a professional organization that values training and proves that we are dedicated to providing the best service possible to the citizens.