Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Monica W. Tracey


Field Training Officers (FTO) are the first line of observation when a new police recruit enters the work force from a training academy setting. Interviews into this area of research with FTO’s is minimal at best, specifically if any differences are noticed by FTO’s between problem-based learning trained academy recruits and those that are from a non-problem based learning training academy environment. This research study focuses on the perceptions that FTO’s observed with training new police officers and specifically what was exemplar and what was non-exemplar when it came to observations from FTO’s of new police officers. A qualitative approach was conducted with 15 FTO’s from a variety of sized departments in Michigan. The

Prior problem-based learning academy research helped direct this research to the specificity of interviewing FTO’s. The combination of comparing problem-based learning recruits versus non-problem-based learning recruits

Suggestions for improvements in the FTO process and offering a better success for a new police recruit entering a law enforcement career were compiled to identify common attributes. The FTO’s compiled seven key areas. They were being to critical towards recruits, Officer safety, failure in one area often predicted continued failure in other areas, recruits needing to realize the diversity of the skills and knowledge needed in the job, Field Training Officers themselves becoming burned out, new recruits needing more time in the evaluation process, and Individual police departments are recognizing what areas new officers need more improvement in. These are described in better detail with examples provided.

Limitations included a smaller sample size and only one state was selected in interviewing FTO’s

This research involved interviewing 15 field training officers in Michigan. Their rank varied from patrol officers, detectives and one Chief. This qualitative grounded theory research revealed the primary attributes of exemplar and non exemplar new police recruits and if there was any noticeable differences between a new police recruit trained in a problem based learning academy environment and those that from a non problem based learning environment. The interviews described the many facets of law enforcement a new police recruit needs to have in order to complete the work required this often developing into the theme of Mayhem. Having to possess the plethora of information necessary as described by FTO’s a new police recruit it was not difficult to. The most significant finding was FTO’s chose a problem based learning trained police academy recruit the majority of the time.

Key words: Problem based learning, Field Training officers, police academy recruit, new police recruit