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CNA’s Center for Justice Research and Innovation led an internally funded initiative from October 2020 to September 2021 and conducted case studies of six agencies’ field training officer (FTO) programs. During this assessment, CNA examined common practices and policies that law enforcement agencies use within their field training, such as the qualifications an officer must have to become an FTO, and we assessed the quality and effectiveness of communication between trainers and trainees. In this resource, an agency will learn why incentives are important, how they can benefit the agency, and the range of incentives that the case study agencies implemented. 

Field training is often described as the most important stage in an officer’s career. The time spent with a field training officer is vital to a trainee’s career development and helps shape the culture of an agency. Thus, agencies must ensure that the officers serving in this position are not only well qualified but are also motivated to continue in the position. As stated in the Field Training Officer Impact Assessment, serving as an FTO can place an inordinate amount of stress on these officers, affecting the retention rate of trainers and the quality of training provided. One way law enforcement agencies can mitigate these effects is by reaffirming the value of the FTO position to all of their officers by providing incentives to those serving in this role. Providing officers who are assigned as FTOs some type of incentive would reward those who want to participate and engage in training, give a motivational push to the trainers to ensure the trainees receive the highest degree of training, and show that the agency is making the training a priority.

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  • Document Number: IIM-2021-U-030382
  • Publication Date: 10/1/2021