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First-Line Supervision: Preparing Officers to Face the Transition to Command

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 64 Issue: 11 Dated: (November 1997) Pages: 28-31
D Hamilton; B Warman
Date Published
4 pages
This article describes the Field Training Sergeant (FTS) program at the Louisville Division of Police (Kentucky).
The FTS program was developed to prepare and train a prospective sergeant to become a competent and confident first-line supervisor before he is actually promoted and faced with the challenges of a supervisory role. The three-phase process involves 120 hours of classroom instruction covering disciplinary and grievance procedures, counseling techniques, media relations, stress management, budget orientation, time management, forms management, employee performance appraisals and payroll records, and 8 to 10 weeks of supervised practical application in two separate patrol districts and the Traffic unit. The program has succeeded beyond the Division's expectations, with numerous benefits: (1) better decision-making and quality of work; (2) fewer transition problems for new sergeants; (3) better relations between sergeants and officers (sergeants now understand their role as coaches, not referees); (4) better relationships with other commanding officers; and (5) reduced liability for negligent supervision.