Friday, October 14, 2005

Your Opinion on ...

We're going to try to initiate an occasional feature where we toss out an idea and ask your opinions on various subjects. This won't only be restricted to job related stuff - depending on the interest, we might expand it to other subjects as well. If we find an article, publication or something interesting, we might link to it and see where the conversation goes.

First up: What is your opinion of the FTO program? The FOP had an opinion piece in a past newsletter actually telling people NOT to take the test. That was kind of amusing to say the least and it is interesting to see how many people left the program after it started and what reasons they left it for. The city can't seem to pay people enough money to actually make it seem desirable, but it's one of the more important jobs there is. You don't want the kids with the (ahem) less able officers, but the working partnerships shouldn't be broken up because there are suddenly recruits around. What do you think? Is it salvageable? Should it be dumped? How does it get fixed?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in the FTO program befor all the changes. They wanted to bump me to another district because I wasnt in a training district. I would have spent more money in gas to get to a new district than the increase in pay. When Sam Christian was in charge of the program It had some merit. Since he left the program has gone to the dogs. I wouldnt recomend the program to any PO who has some intelligence.

10/14/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they only send the ppos to the training districts (sometimes flooding those districts to the point that almost all of the pos become ftos because there are no "actual ftos"-breaking up partners) which puts a lot of inexperience running around in these districts with the po/ftos having to worry about keeping an eye on the bad guys stopped while also keeping an eye on the ppo who doesn't know what he is doing. this is not the ppos fault, but the pos didn't sign up for this and are given no choice in the matter. lots of times after the ppos are trained and finished with probation, they are sent to other districts-opening up for more brand new ppos to come in and take thier places with the same pos that were stuck with the previous waves of ppos. there has been a problem with the watch after yours signing off on the pos time-due slips for the 1/2 hour OT therefore lots of pos just don't turn in the slips to avoid the conflict and go home (the deptartments favorite part of the current program-free ftos). i don't think that a po needs to know and learn what to do as a po in a fast district and then get reassigned to a slow district and have to learn a completely new system (from my experience most districts are different from each other) i think it should go back to all 25 districts and let each district train and keep there own ppos. IT IS NOT SAFE HAVING TOO MANY PPOS ON THE BEAT CARS AT THE SAME TIME, ESPECIALLY IN BUSIER DISTRICTS!!

10/14/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/14/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Double talking FOP. Ken Watt is the President of the FTO Association and butt sucker for FOP leadership. Watt advises everyone not to be an FTO and how does he back up his BIG mouth. Does he resign as FTO Oh NO BIG MMONEY MOUTH>

10/14/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't have PPOs learning in slow districts. Perhaps the city should try to hire new recruits on a regular basis and the "flooding" won't happen. More important than having "acting" FTOs training, is the fact that some real head cases slip through the system. Even regular FTOs have little or no say when trying to get rid of a loser. The Department doesn't want to hear that they spent all that money training them and they weren't flagged in the academy. That's where some of the goofs should be ousted, at the academy level. But that brings up a whole other problem. The academy.

10/14/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

0839 poster said it best. Too many ppo's on the cars in busy districts, working with guys just off of probation themselves. Here's a different view on the problem, besides the officer safety issues: there are currently more officers stripped of their police powers then at any other time on the Department. Guys are not only doing really stupid things out there, ( and off-duty ) but they have no clue how to get of it and no one to give them useful advice until it is too late. The fact that supervisors are signing off on case reports and arrest reports that clearly put the inexperienced officers in legal jeopardy is a crime in and of itself!

10/14/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It would be nice to see FTOs who actually cared about the program instead of just the extra few dollars. A lot of these FTOs don't do shit and see these PPOs as a "get out of paper work" ticket....and have all the PPOs evaluation sheets filled out far in advance...ridiculous...the program is a joke, and so are the clowns at the academy.

10/14/2005 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read these comments, I find it disheartening and disturbing that some have a need to belittle or find fault with fellow officers and the job. Some find fault with the job, fellow officers & supervision. Last time I checked no one was drafted for this job. If you don't appreciate having the job, consider another line of work. The stress some of you have displayed will mostly likely put you in an early grave. Some hate the job, til they loose it, then they fight to get it back. If you aren't connected or feel you're being cheated, take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program, and get an education and leave. No one can ever take an education from you and with effort you can prepare for the future.
Regarding the FTO position and lack of qualified training officers, how bout helping the younger officers. So many complain about working with a PPO. Think back when you came on the job, none of us knew the job until the seasoned officers took us under their wings and mentored us. If some of you are as intelligent and perfect as you portray yourselves, then ask to be put with a PPO and give something back. I was taught by some of the best who have since retired and/or passed away. I will be forever grateful for the patience they had and the professionalism they displayed.
Guys & Girls, I haven't met anyone yet on this job that walks on water or is perfect. We all have had our dumb moments and regrets. We all have choices, and only you decide your destiny.

BTW, Snethen is the real police.

10/14/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPD has an FTO program?? I learned something new today!!

10/14/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FTO program breathed its last breath when the FOP negotiated a pay cut for the FTOs on the previous contract. It knocked them out of parity w/ the dics who are now called D2A. Neither the Department or the FOP resepted the FTOs or the FTO program. Why?, I have not a clue.

10/14/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sell out like every thing else. Watt of 008 is on the board but then he is retiring and running for the State Lodge President when the convention is held for the first time in chicago in aug 06 what a country!!!

10/14/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open all districts back up as training districts. There really isnt such a thing as a "slow" district anymore. Limiting districts forces the FTO's hands. Why should he/she have to go back to a area they dont want with a recruit if they have any time/experience??? Pay increase isnt worth working with somebody new every other period.

10/14/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/14/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watt and Donahue sitting a tree...first comes love...then comes FOP marriage and then comes FOP/FTO Ken Watt blowing Donahue in the FOP carriage - - - Ken Watt is a sell out. He and Donahue helped to destroy the FTO program. Great integrity when Ken Watt told POs not to take the FTO test and is still a FTO. Way to lead by example Ken "Donahue Flunnkie" Watt. Another Question? How much did Watt make by being on the store committee?

10/14/2005 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

01:21 and 05:22 must be Blue Wave retards.

First, FTO's lost nothing in the prior contract (they got the same 4%/year as the other guys got); Second, the Detectives were RESTORED to the parity they had with the CFD that they had, but was given up by Dineen (years ago); AND THIRD, YOU MORON: THE CONTRACT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT WAS NEGOTIATED BY BILL NOLAN!!!!!

Sorry everybody, but there is only so much retardation you can handle before you have to scream.

P.S. Snethen really is the police. Now he is a Sergeant. About fucking time.

10/14/2005 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw in the 14 OCT 05 Slum-Times (page 12): "the inspector generals office seized the work computer of MIKE TIERNEY, the Water Management's North District superintendent." This in relation to all the crap (gambling, residency, bribes, etc.) ALLEGEDLY going on in the Water Department.

Any relation to JOHN TIERNEY? Dad? Brother? Have we discovered your family connection to Richie Rich?

Yep. Let's put you on the pension board.

10/14/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FOP bent over backwards to help the detective division but allowed the city to decimate the FTO's
Forcing them out of districts, adding the D2A salary
etc etc etc

right on 0839

10/14/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former FTO, I had a lot of good recruits that learned things well. I always stressed to do things right to "stay out of trouble" and it was good advice to give. I never talked down to the recruits,but gave constructive criticism. Many of them see me at court and thank me for the extra mile that I went to watch over them. Unfortunately though you will have one or two bosses that always have to stick their two cents in and slam the FTO and their recruit for some B.S. The job had good days..the extra pay is equivalent to a free lunch at McDonalds(supersized)the CPD says that the FTO job is the most important, but no cop wants to put up with the bullshit. Lots a paperwork for what? To be chastised by some micromanaging anal sgt. The CPD can keep this great job with all of its "perks"

10/14/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was lucky to work with one of the best officers citywide PO John Reyes Jr., who later became FTO. John left the FTO program when some "real smart guy" downtown decided to to force FTO's out of their districts. What a shame a really great cop leaves the program so that some lame ass with no clue trains our future backup!!

10/14/2005 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A big problem with the FTO program is that the FTO for some reason known only to him/her just don't want to write a bad report on the recruit. Over a two year period a number of years ago when I headed up the program I only had to release two and that was after assigning them to different FTO's to make sure. I just knew there were more dog asses out there,but the FTO reports didn't reflect it. Those that I talk about barely made it through the academy. However, passing the academy tests lets one in the field and the FTO is now responsible for training him/her. I don't know what a just compensation is for a FTO who may get a recruit for a short time and then nothing. Maybe just compensated for the time s/he has the recruit. I wonder how many on this opinion poll would have made it without a FTO? Its better than the old days when one worked for a week, maybe with two different guys who did,t give a shit and then you ended up in a one man car on the 3rd and then being the real POleeeze in a busy district not knowing your ass from a whole in the ground. Ya, we don,t need FTO's, Thats pure Bullshit.

10/15/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue of the FTO writing a negative report on the recruits is one of the biggest problems in the system. When I was the WC in a southside district a few years back, we had a particularly inept officer; I asked one night who his FTO was; I was informed it was one of the FTOs ont he watch. I started assigning mr inept PO to work with his former FTO whenever the FTO did not have a recruit. The FTO beefed long and loud. My response was simply "you felt he was field qualified, now work with him."

10/15/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over a long time line I believe a lot of us have seen...

1. There have been recruits that hit the districts that never should have made it out of the academy. [A critical failure of the organization's development]

2. There have been FTO's that never should have been FTO's, based on their lack of knowledge, skills and abilities. [You get what you pay for... and I don't mean $$$]

3. There have been some outstanding performance-based police officers who never wanted or could be encouraged to be FTO's. [The most significant loss]

4. There have been good FTO's that have complained of not getting support from superiors when they identify and even document unacceptable performance of recruits. Many of these problem recruits find a way to slip in the cracks and make it through anyway. [The continued perpetuation of organizational development failure]

The common thread of the above (and the other previously posted comments) is that there is an overall lack of concern for the integrity of the FTO program. That transcends into an overall lack of concern for future development of a quality-based, quality-performing Chicago Police Department.

It appears that we are caught in a stranglehold where few people on either side (management or labor) care one way or the other. The ones that really do care have not been able to rally champions to their cause to initiate successful and sustainable positive change.

Add to this, the lack of perceived credibility and respect for the overall FTO program by both management and labor. It becomes easy to see why many outstanding performers refuse to involve themselves. [Who wants to jump on the Titanic?]

How do we fix it? That is the million dollar question. It appears to me that the FTO program has been broken in Chicago for at least 20 years, despite attempts to improve or even re-invent itself.

It begs the question if there are FTO programs in other law enforcement agencies that are REALLY effective and have the overall respect of their management and labor sides? Are we the only ones that have this problem?

What is going on at NYPD, LAPD with their Academy and FTO programs? What about some of the other larger police agencies in the U.S.? Don't stop there. Think global! I wonder what law enforcement agencies in Europe are doing to train and develop their people? Has anyone looked at Germany lately? Are we networking with anyone on the outside to synergize best practices?

Perhaps we need to take a closer look at what is going on elsewhere? Could it offer insight for improvement or would it be only a reflection of what is happening here? Is it time we found out?

It certainly wouldn't hurt to do some exploring. The internal attempts at fixing the problems here have been unacceptable with almost everyone for over 20 years.

Make no mistake. Establishing a quality FTO program that has sustained credibility would be a long-term process. It is obvious to almost everyone that there are no quick fixes. Perhaps that is why everyone has pretty much given up and chose to stick their heads in the sand and ignore this problem? [No instant gratification, no glory to be earned for a long term committment to change...]

If we don't start now, when do we? If we don't do it, who will?

Calling all leaders (both formal and informal) with a vision for the future... what say you?

10/15/2005 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you had me then you lost me when you started using words like "networking" and "synergizing." You sound like some "rah-rah" corporate recruiter. Here's a way to fix it - instill confidence in the department from the bottom up. Trouble is, that isn't going to happen.

10/15/2005 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you had me then you lost me when you started using words like "networking" and "synergizing." You sound like some "rah-rah" corporate recruiter.

I am glad I had you, but sorry I lost you. Please don't allow my vocabulary to become a distraction. It's a by-product of those college degrees that the city was so nice to pay for [grin]. I am just one of the many small cogs of the big wheel - like most of us here.

Here's a way to fix it - instill confidence in the department from the bottom up.

You present a great concept. Sustained credibility (confidence) is needed. How would you envision instilling confidence from the bottom up? Who would the key players need to be to make this a reality? What strategies would they have to develop? How would they work to achieve a higher level of confidence, while dealing with the realities of the politics and the nay-sayers?

Trouble is, that isn't going to happen.

You are right. It won't happen... all by itself. It won't happen quickly either. I believe it is going to take a lot of work from a lot of people to gain the "buy-in" or trust from the rank and file.

People from all levels of the organization would have to be active participants - from the very top (process champions) to the very bottom (the people in the beat cars that make the whole thing work).

Some of the very best ideas come from the people at the lowest levels of the organization. Why? Unlike at the top, at the bottom the air is not as thin. It's easier to breathe and to think. The view is much clearer at the bottom too. There are no "clouds" in the way of reality.

Perhaps our banter on this blog might cause people to think about what we can do, versus what won't ever happen? Perhaps a few might even share their ideas? I would like to believe that there is a winning combination of ideas out there somewhere.

10/15/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bottom up confidence won't happen on this department because loyalty goes both ways. Rank will buy compliance, but respect is earned. P.O.'s must feel that their supervisors are behind them. Officers continue to work hard for a variety of reasons; personal pride, it's fun, a general fuck you to the city, etc. But there is no sense of a cohesive organization moving forward. You'd be hard pressed to find a unit where P.O.'s feel their bosses have their back. I think one of the biggest detriments has been 30% merit Sgt.'s and the way the program is handled. The general feeling is that the department is a political clout store. Being an exempt is political. It's always been that way and its off the radar for everyday cops. But when people see do-nothing peers getting made, it undermines overall authority and disenfranchises working cops. Times change and policing methods that were used in the past become unacceptable. People adjust to this over time. But the continuous force feeding of illegitimate and inept supervisors will never be accepted. In the military they say Sgt.'s are the backbone of your unit. That means first line supervisors have to be credible, knowledgeable leaders. It doesn't mean you have to like them, but you have to respect them. It would take a total overhaul of the political structure in city government to build bottom up confidence. The only boss on this job I have use the word morale is John Thomas and that's a sad statement.

10/15/2005 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one wants to be a fto because this means breaking up your car and partners plane and simple. If you took a survey at all districts this would be the #1 reason no one wants to do it. Everyone who has ever worked in a beat car knows that this job is only tolerable because you hooked up with a partner(s) that you are on the same page with and can make the job fun. The solution: 3 man cars simple as that. Two fto's and 1 ppo in the back seat.

10/16/2005 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger SCC said...

Good suggestion, but they can't do it because manpower is too short. They need the cars up more than they need guys (and gals) having fun. The only way to do what you describe is to have training cars with the partners in groups 2 and 4 and the PPO in 6 (or 1,3,5 and 3,5,7.

Which would actually make some sense, because (A) you have two FTO's grading the kid so the department would get a better read on the kid and (B) the kid learns that there might be two different ways of doing the same job properly.

Oops, we said "make some sense." That means the department will never go for it.

10/16/2005 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous BlueCenturian said...

Thankfully some of the more blatantly 'unqualified' PPOs that make it to the district end up on the desk. At least they're not putting anyone's life in jeopardy. I do know 3 or 4 PPOs who were at the point of not passing their cycles (the FTOs were going to push for dismissal) and, miraculously - they all passed. The ones I know went on to be decent coppers - good to work with. But these 4 were all were considered 'different' by fellow recruits and POs. So I think that the perception of them is the criteria that is being used some of the time - not always.
Case in point : Baqui in 007! Jeez. As much as I hate calling out another PO, this one deserves a mention. She stands 4'11", 160 and is as timid as a hamster ... she called a 10-1 after her jagoff was in cuffs because he started motherf**king her. During night-stick training she sat in the lockerroom and cried before coming out - failed it 3 times. Don't have any clue how she made it out of the academy. Heard she did say "lawsuit" to a sergeant who interviewed her towards the end. She said that she was having a hard time with the training because her fellow recruits were prejudiced against her because she was Iraqi.
I think the critical point at which to intervene with an unqualified person is the background investigation. I spoke with an investigator who told me that whenever a candidate has an extensive criminal background, they still have to give him/her consideration. The candidate is asked to write out an explanation for time they've been arrested. Investigator had one southside mutt who had 10 arrests for everything from burglary to selling - he sat in the office for 8 hours writing out how he wasn't to blame for any of it. That background check reveals alot of what kind of person you are.

10/16/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when you are handed a pile of shit and asked to make a statue, all you have is a shitty statue

10/16/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a mandatory rank system to include the corporal rank.If you cannot pass a legitimate testing procedure,then it is a mandatory resignation. No merit(clout)

10/16/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The future of this department will be the new PPOs that are trained by the FTOs. But the dept doesnt want to give the FTOs much of anything in return. Take the 1/2 an hour for instance, I remember turning in my slip and the "powers to be" acted like I was "stealing" the time instead of being glad that we had FTOs that really cared about the job. I remember the FTO organization had a list of demands that they wanted implemented. Guess what? It all was shitcanned by the dept. But remember this, "It is the MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE DEPT". You will here that over and over again. Its sad that they screwed up the whole FTO program even worse than it was. Just look when they closed the lockups in some districts and then they had to silently reopen some of them because it was a major @#$%-up. In the private sector companies and product-lines crash and burn when decisions like these are implemented. The future outcome of the FTO program needs prayer. AMEN

10/16/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God Ken Watt is the leader of the FTO Ass. Look at everything he has done for the FTO Ass. Nothing! He was my FTO in 008. He tried to bully everyone, because his home life sucked and being an FTO was the only place he had any authority and control. What a miserable guy. After 40 years on the job you would think he would hang it up - but he has nothing else in his life. It is kind of sad.

10/16/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long before blog access is blocked from the CPD intranet?

10, 9, 8, 7...

10/16/2005 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

watt commented on the guys who were already maxed out at 30 yrs and were waiting for the promised 80% donahue pope dream and watt stated at the meeting that even though he was maxed out he would "do what is best" for the majority. Well watt has no intention of collecting his pension he has no one and his is a miserable son of a bitch!! he wont leave the job because that is the only place his loud mouth would not result in a busted face maybe an improvement

10/17/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone know any good ftos on the north side. friend coming on the job and want to try to send him in the right direction. thanks

10/17/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connors, Karwowski and Milligan in 014

10/17/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous your mother said...

I was thinking more in 015,025,or 011. The busier the better he would be trained. How about one of those districts.

10/18/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can work 011, you can work anywhere.

10/18/2005 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about instituting a legitimate PPO training and evaluation program, particularly at the Academy level, to include an English writing course (ie., case reporting narratives, etc.) that would evaluate and grade a candidate's ability to write and construct proper sentence and grammar. Course study and evaluation graded fairly, properly, and tough; candidates who do not pass, then dismissed from the Department...

10/18/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you can work in 008 you can work anywhere

10/19/2005 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Rue St. Michel said...

Exemplary Northside FTOs:

Bob Cavianni, 025
Ken Baker, 025
Jesse Avila, 024

10/19/2005 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger flatfoot said...

The Fto program is a good idea but lacks common sense. I was an Fto for a couple of years during this period I was screwed out of a good furlough and told I had to switch watches. For a job deemed "the most important" there should be some changes. The training district idea is good but the dept. needs to purge these districts of ppo's in order to spread the manpower and not leave the officers of a training district salty and in need of using thier comp time. The problem the dept. and most work forces are having is that the work force is becoming very young and in the police world young in some eyes means stupid. The old officer and young have no common ground this leads to more of a division between these groups.

10/20/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can work 011, you can work anywhere.

10/18/2005 08:21:47 PM

Thank you real police for the insightful comment.

10/21/2005 06:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Bobs Old recruit said...

You are right on about Bob cavaianni and Tom Baker...They are both top notch FTOs who always take care of their partner. to bad Bob has been laid up after getting run over by an elderly woman back in july. hurry back Bob the program needs you

10/22/2005 10:46:00 PM  

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