Once recruits graduate from the Training Academy, they are assigned to one of eleven barracks. Once assigned to a barracks, a recruit will spend 30 working days with a field-training officer (FTO). The FTO is a veteran trooper who has valuable experience that will add to the knowledge of newly appointed troopers and help ensure their success within the agency. The role of the FTO is also to detect any poor working habits that could prove dangerous to the Trooper Trainee or other troopers. The FTO will monitor the Trooper Trainee and provide feedback in important areas such as investigative skills, report writing and officer safety. During this 40-day period a Trooper Trainee will work with several different field-training officers until field training is complete.
Once a Trooper Trainee successfully completes field training, he or she is handling all calls of service on their own. For this reason, it is highly advantageous to learn as much as possible while working with the field-training officer.
When a trooper is dispatched to a complaint, the trooper can be expected to handle all aspects of that case from start to finish. For example, as a new trooper you may be dispatched to a burglary. At the scene of this burglary, the investigating trooper may have to obtain statements, search for physical evidence, dust for fingerprints, take photographs, record serial numbers, canvass a neighborhood, send a teletype through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), interview suspects, and prepare arrest warrants. You will also have to determine what crime has taken place when you are at the scene. Many times incidents are reported to the dispatch area as one crime and your investigation may determine that it is another crime or not a crime at all. These are just a few things that may be required of a trooper at a crime scene. For more serious crime scenes, such as homicides or serious assaults, the Major Crime Squad will more than likely be investigating the case.
As a patrol trooper you may have to investigate a fatal motor vehicle accident. As the lead investigator you will be responsible for compiling the final report. During the course of your investigation, you may have to obtain statements, conduct a background checks, perform a vehicle inspection, make a death notification, go to an autopsy, execute a search warrant and determine cause for the accident.
It may sound overwhelming, but you will have many troopers assisting you with your investigations when necessary and there are also many resources outside of your immediate troop area that are there to assist you as well.