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 For Immediate Release
October 21, 2003

FIRST NEW POST-ACADEMY POLICE OFFICER FIELD TRAINING PROGRAM IN 30 YEARS EMPHASIZES COMMUNITY PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS OVER TRADITIONAL RESPONSE METHODS

Philadelphia, PA - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced the first new post-academy field training program for law enforcement agencies in more than 30 years. The Police Training Officer (PTO) program incorporates community policing and problem solving principles and produces officers who have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude for today's law enforcement environment.

A variety of community policing skills are needed in contemporary law enforcement. The new training model presents trainees with real-life problems that have no easy solution, and encourages the trainee to view the problem in a broad community-focused context, hypothesize, research, and then solve the problem.

"As the demands on law enforcement continue to increase, agencies must provide officers with the resources and training needed to fulfill their expanded role," said COPS Director Carl R. Peed. "While post-academy law enforcement training has not changed substantially in more than 30 years, the environment in which officers operate, the expectations of the public, and the nature of the challenges that confront officers have changed significantly. This new training program will better prepare officers to fight crime and safeguard communities."

The Reno (NV) Police Department initially tested the PTO program. After Reno implemented, evaluated, and enhanced the program as needed, it was then pilot-tested by the Savannah (GA), Lowell (MA), Colorado Springs (CO), Richmond (CA), and Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Departments. The results of the pilot testing indicate that the program produces highly trained officers that are well prepared to serve their community, and that the program is flexible and allows agencies to tailor it to their unique training needs.

Since 1995, COPS has invested more than $10.6 billion to advance community policing by providing grants to more than 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, and by providing much needed training and technical assistance resources. To download the PTO program training materials or to view detailed information about the PTO program, please visit the PTO Program section

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COPS Director Carl R. Peed is available to conduct interviews.


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