Lateral-Hire Onboarding: Field Training the Experienced Officer

Lateral-Hire Onboarding: Field Training the Experienced Officer
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-04-12
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Lateral-Hire Onboarding
Unit 2Transcript: Lateral-Hire Onboarding
Unit 3Workbook: Lateral-Hire Onboarding
Unit 4Recording: Lateral-Hire Onboarding

Law enforcement is struggling with staffing issues. First, the profession is no longer seen as an appealing option for those looking to start a career. Second, a slew of law enforcement professionals that were hired during the Clinton administration are at retirement age now and are leaving en masse. Finally, recent incidents created a less than ideal environment for those working in the profession in terms of their morale, physical safety, and financial security. Thomas Dworak leads this webinar to look into the workaround agencies are taking and guidelines to take into account to address this issue effectively.

Thomas Dworak is a retired Sergeant from a suburban Chicago police department where he was the Field Training and Evaluation Program Coordinator and the Lead Defensive Tactics/Use of Force Instructor. He is currently the founder and lead instructor of The Adaptive Way where he developed and facilitates The Adaptive FTO.

Specifics of his discussion include:

  • How long enforcement agencies are turning into lateral hires the supplement their staffing shortages.
  • The reality that years of experience in one agency do not always translate to great performance and productivity in another.
  • Screening considerations in terms of background checks, battery testing, and psychological evaluation for lateral hires.
  • The factors that contribute to law enforcement employees choosing to leave their jobs.
  • A glimpse into the prevalence of the law enforcement staffing issue in different regions across the US.
  • The profile of the lateral hires segmented by the number of years in the profession, and the specific qualities that impact their suitability to work in another agency.
  • Deliberating the sustainability of hiring bonuses and retention bonuses being offered by agencies in their efforts to maintain staffing levels.
  • The recommended and state-mandated FTO training hours for new hires and the stark difference in terms of the lack of standards and wide range of variance when it comes to FTO training for lateral hires.
  • The importance of having a predefined FTO training schedule for lateral transfers and how failing to do so is a recipe for disaster.
  • Lateral training recommendations to take into account.
    • Training on the most up-to-date skills and processes required and utilized in the profession.
    • A department FTO policy that encompasses things like daily observation reports, training records, certifications, and even terminations.
    • Legal considerations to protect the organization, FTOs, and trainers from potential lawsuits.
    • Deciding between a full program or a modified program specific for the lateral transfers.
    • The importance of documentation throughout the lateral transfers’ training and onboarding.
    • Utilizing standardized evaluation guidelines when assessing the lateral transfers.
    • Knowledge and familiarity with the new department policy as well as local and state laws if the lateral transfers are from a different jurisdiction.
    • Ensuring officers’ safety and organizational fit.
    • Expectations and responsibilities of the FTOs, laterals, and the organization.
  • The importance of forethought and planning in lateral training to ensure successful outcomes for all individuals and organizations involved.

Points covered during the Q&A are about:

  • The difference in performance for lateral hires between an FTO and a PTO program.
  • The purpose of the narrative portion in the Daily Observation Report.
  • What the staffing challenges look like for different jurisdictions.
  • Exit interviews in criminal justice and the actual reasons provided by those who are leaving.
  • The FTO process for officers who were deployed and returned to law enforcement service.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Excellent webinar.” — Robert
  • “I liked everything, I am going to request that our sergeant over the FTO program also view this.” — Kya
  • “Excellent and more about training. Thanks for your time.” — EBRAHIM HASSAN
  • “FTO for lateral hire is as important as FTO for new hires.” — Jon
  • “Thank you for finding an expert in the field as the instructor! This is a very relevant topic, with more departments utilizing this hiring option.” — Roseann





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