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Our Training Philosophy

The Rochester Police Department has a reputation for investing in its people. Beyond basic law enforcement training, we spend a great deal of time sending our officers to specialized schools and conducting in-house training to further professionalize individual officers and our organization. The department encourages officers to select an area of law enforcement that they have an interest in, and we, in turn, send them to classes and schools to develop these skills. These officers come back enthusiastic about what they have learned and share their expertise with the department; this in turn grows the organization.

Initial Training Process
The training process of a new officer consists initially of a 12 week basic law enforcement academy.  Rochester has utilized both the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield and the Police Training Institute (PTI) in Champaign to train their recruits in the past. While in training, trainees or cadets spend the week at the Academy, but are able to leave on the weekends to see their friends and family.

FTO Program
Upon culmination of the basic law enforcement academy, officers commence a 12 to14 week Field Training (FTO) Program. During this FTO process, new officers are paired up with a senior, experienced officer specially selected for their experience, judgment, character, and ability to mentor the new recruit.

The formal program covers the specific tasks and situations which any officer may expect to encounter, and the new recruit must demonstrate competency in each of the required areas to advance further in the program. Officers are expected to retain a great deal of information and apply it appropriately. They must also demonstrate their ability to deal with the public in a professional manner, which reflects favorably upon the department.

New officers will also be exposed to and required to learn how to operate a variety of high tech equipment, multi task, and keep their composure and wits about them when exposed to high stress situations during this process.

Despite all of this, probably the most important aspect of the job that the FTO passes along to his trainee is the culture of the department. This is why we want individuals who possess strong moral character as FTO’s.

Probationary Period
Those recruits that successfully pass their FTO program are then put on patrol status.  The probation period for these new officers is typically 1 year in duration, during which time officers will be monitored closely to determine if they have the temperament, multi tasking capabilities, and skill sets to become a non-probationary officer.  Probationary officers may be terminated at any time during the probationary period, or their probation may be extended at the discretion of supervisory staff.

During the probationary period, officers are sent to a number of schools that build skills in which the department feels are essential for all personnel. Some of these schools include breath alcohol operators school,  juvenile officers school, report writing school, interview and interrogation school, rapid deployment school, advanced rapid deployment school, basic SWAT/CQB school, and technical patrol rifle school. These schools are above and beyond what is required of any basic law enforcement officer in the State of Illinois, but the department feels that the mastery of the skills in these courses better prepare an officer for the environment that they will be working in.

Ongoing Training
A key component to keep any organization relevant and vibrant is investing in the ongoing training of its personal. The Rochester Police Department recognizes this and is committed to investing in its people. Rochester Officers’ are encouraged to select areas which they would like to specialize in or areas of interest and the department does its best to accommodate the officers as long as these interests benefit the organization.

Officers may choose to instruct defensive tactics, or become a physical fitness specialist. The department has a state certified crime scene technician, an investigator, range instructors, and armourers. Additionally, the photographs and graphic artwork that you see on this site were also taken or created by departmental staff. Staff and volunteers have also worked together to create the videos that you see on the departments social networking sites.

The department strives to seek out individuals with a passion for what they do, those that enjoy a challenge, and those who get satisfaction from a job well done, these are the people we want. We continually strive to foster an environment where creativity and enthusiasm can flourish.