We make your FTOs expert teachers so they can teach your recruits how to be successful.
What’s different about this FTO course? Everything.

We make your FTOs expert teachers so they can teach your recruits how to be successful.
What’s different about this FTO course? Everything.

Field Training Officer Course (40 hours)

California POST Certified – Plan IV | Certification Number #1345-31725

We are the only California POST- Certified private presenter of FTO courses in California and the only course recommended by LEFTA, the world’s leading FTO software program. We are based in San Jose, California where the “San Jose Model” FTO concept was invented.

The reason our FTO program is so highly rated is that we teach our FTO students how to be expert teachers. After sending your FTO to our course, they are going to return to your agency the skills to not just evaluate, but to actually teach and mentor your trainees. They will learn specific ways to save a struggling trainee so you can reduce the number of trainees who fail your FTO program.

Whereas other FTO courses are known for being dry, and focused mostly on liability, we use dynamic instructors who employ the modern science of teaching and learning in a relaxed and enjoyable way. The instructors are passionate about giving your new FTO all the tools he or she needs to teach, evaluate and document a trainee’s performance.

Here are 7 reasons that our students say FTOs need to take this course:

  • Spend five days teaching, evaluating and documenting instead of listening to a dry lecture
  • Leave the course confident you’re doing it right
  • Expert instructors show you modern teaching techniques
  • Get lots of practice evaluating and teaching trainee role players, not watching outdated videos
  • Lots of examples of evaluation reports and plenty of practice writing them
  • Learn specifically how to apply the number scale to rate trainees. You’ll also learn specific ways to teach de-escalation, mental health responses, case law and more
  • The course is dynamic and fun. No “Death by Power Point”

Most agencies struggle with hiring and retaining quality recruits. Having well trained FTOs can make the difference between recruits successfully passing the Field Training Program or not.

Most agencies talk about the FTO being one of the most important positions in the department, but then don’t put much thought into the specifics of the training course they attend. They simply find an FTO course that has an opening for their FTO to attend and wait for them to come back with a certification. Unfortunately, some of the FTOs we polled didn’t feel adequately prepared by the certification course they attended. Consider what happens when an unprepared FTO is paired up with a struggling trainee?

You invest a lot of time and money into hiring a recruit, and your FTOs are responsible for getting those recruits through the Field Training Program. Their ability to teach, evaluate and document can make all the difference, especially when it comes to remediated a struggling recruit. Your FTOs are preparing your new officers to be the future of your department so FTOs need the proper training to do so.

What’s different about our FTO Course? Everything. This is a modern course being presented by expert level instructors. Each day, the students teach, evaluate and document so by the time they leave the course they are confident they’re doing it right. Come see why every one of our course presentations have received 100% positive reviews.

We asked experienced FTOs and program supervisors what they would like to see in a modern FTO Course and here’s what they said:

  1. Give specific examples of how to use the Standardized Evaluation Guideline Number Rating Scale and how to write Daily Observation Reports and Remedial Training Plans
  2. Use live trainee role players to make it realistic (no outdated videos and handouts)
  3. Have expert instructors show the FTOs how to use specific teaching strategies
  4. Do away with the old “Death by PowerPoint”-type presentations
  5. Specific info about liability laws and what they can and can’t write in evaluations

Our course solves every issue the seasoned FTOs identified. We know how important hiring and retaining new officers is to your agency so we designed a course that ensures FTOs are ready to move that trainee successfully through the Field Training Program. For those trainees who must be let go, our course teaches FTOs how to thoroughly document the matter and avoid liability for the agency.

What are students are saying about the FTO Course:

"I heard that other FTO courses were boring, outdated and were mostly “Death by Power Point” so I wasn’t interested in attending. After attending the Savage Training Group FTO course I felt more informed, more educated and better equipped because this course was informative and utilized interactive teaching styles. This course was unlike any course I have attended or even heard of. My favorite part of the course was the legal and liability aspects as it related to supervising. To anybody who is on the fence about attending I would tell them go!”

— Deputy Geoff Hoffman, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office (CA)

"Having to evaluate and write Daily Observation Report for the student led scenarios was both entertaining and realistic. I feel much more prepared to write an objective and thorough DOR. I feel bad for the other FTOs at our department who have attended a non-Savage Training Group FTO course. This was hands down the best course I have ever attended."

— Officer B.W., Santa Clara County Law Enforcement Agency (CA)

"This course should be the future of Field Training Officer courses.”

— Officer JC, Santa Clara County Law Enforcement Agency (CA)

“The higher level of teaching the instructors used was not only used to train us the students but also drove home how we can use those same techniques to train recruits. The practical application of observing and recording, preparing DORs and practicing the delivering a DORs to a recruit was priceless.”

— Officer JG, Santa Clara County Police Agency (CA)

“I was anxious about the public speaking portion of teaching but you guys made the classroom a comfortable place to learn. If anyone is on the fence about attending, I would say don’t be as long as you attend the Savage Training Group version of the FTO course. It was a cutting-edge presentation of the material.”

— Deputy B., Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department (CA)

“You will be doing your future trainee, the training program, your department and yourself a complete disservice if you pass up this class. All of your questions will be answered and if not, the instructors will work tirelessly to find you the answer.”

— Officer S. Clayton, Tracy PD (CA)

Your Instructors

Steve “Pappy” Papenfuhs is a retired Sergeant with the San Jose Police Department. Pappy has 29 years experience including assignments as an FTO Sergeant, Training Sergeant Detective Sergeant and SWAT team member. He is a human-factors researcher and certified Force Analyst. He often testifies as an expert witness in high-profile use of force cases. Pappy is an expert instructor with decades of experience who is constantly researching effective teaching strategies aimed at ensuring learning has occurred. Watch Steve discussing law enforcement training and our FTO Training program.

Dominic Gamboa is a retired Police Officer with the San Francisco Police Department and current Reserve Police Officer with the Santa Clara Police Department (CA). Dom has decades of experience including assignments as a Training Officer assigned to the San Francisco Police Training Bureau and a Patrol Foot Beat Officer in the challenging Tenderloin district. He served as a Special Consultant to the California Commision on POST analyzing the way Field Training Officer courses were conducted. Dom brings years of experience in both teaching and course design. His command over how a learner learns, and how to inspire law enforcement learners have earned him a reputation as an expert instructor.

Scott Savage is a working law enforcement officer and seasoned instructor. His training experience spans the gamut from serving as an FTO and an Academy Instructor, to teaching highly specialized training courses to tenured officers. He spent 18 years with the Palo Alto Police Department (CA), leaving the department at the rank of Sergeant and now serves as an Officer with the Santa Clara Police Department (CA). Scott brings a ton of real world experience as well as a knack for keeping our FTO students laughing while they learn. Learn more about Scott here.

A message for Training Managers and FTO Supervisors:

Savage Training Group | Field Training Officer Instructors Domenic Gamboa, Steve "Pappy" Papenfuhs and Scott Savage“Teaching law enforcement officers is our passion which is why we dedicated our careers to training cops. The reason we got together to take on the challenge of creating the best FTO course is because we know just how important it is. We have poured all our law enforcement and teaching experience into this course and we can confidently say there is simply nothing else like it out there. We guarantee your FTOs are going to leave our course fully prepared and confident.”

A message for FTOs:

“This course is about you the student and making sure you leave with the confidence to know you are doing it right. We can’t wait for you to experience this course and you becoming a rockstar FTO!”

Your guides,
— Dom, Steve, and Scott

LEFTAOur FTO courses are popular because they are modern and effective. We choose to partner with LEFTA because they are the only FTO records management system that meets that standard.

If your FTO program still uses paper binders, we highly recommend you check out why more than 300 agencies and over 50,000 law enforcement officers at local, state and federal levels are using their software. See what LEFTA’s system can do for your FTO program by clicking here.