Becoming a Cop: Inside Look at Police Training Process

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The Stevens Point Police Department is training its newest recruit, a native of Germany with experience in law enforcement.

The department's field training program is a rigorous process that takes four months at minimum, plus a year of probation, despite a recruit's experience.

Being a law enforcement officer carries enormous responsibility, making the training process for recruits incredibly important.

"First off everybody knows the great liability and the great responsibility that law enforcement has, just look at the equipment that we're provided with," said Sgt. Michael Retzki, the training coordinator.

Probationary officers go through 16 weeks of field training including: orientation, understanding computer software and technology, learning how to respond to calls, make arrests and investigate.

"It's very rewarding to be a part of the training process with someone new, you can put your touch on the training and it's just satisfying to help someone fulfill their dream," said Ofc. Mike Rottier, a training officer.

Rottier is currently training Tino Starke, the force's newest probationary officer.

"The goal is to make the probationary officer self sufficient that he can go out on his own and have the tools he needs," Rottier said.

Things have certainly changed for rookies over the years.

"When I started I rode with a senior officer, a sergeant for a month and then they said yeah he's doing good," Sgt. Retzki said.

Afterward, he was able to go out on his own. Today, probationary officers work with several training officers in the field, so they can shape them into colleagues they'd feel confident having as partners.

"We're going to do whatever we can to make sure they're successful," Sgt. Retzki said.

The field training program has evolved substantially over the years and with constant advances in technology will continue to do so, but it's up to the officers to ensure they're prepared for any situation.

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