- What is field training software and why is it important?
- Overview of two noteworthy solutions for police field training software
- Frontline key features, pros, and cons
- PowerFTO key features, pros, and cons
Field training software is a technology solution that helps agencies manage, track, and measure their field training programs. Software cuts out the time-consuming paperwork and manual documentation your FTOs have to do every day – giving them the freedom they need to focus on developing high-quality officers within your agency.
If your agency is still using paper processes or complicated digital forms, monitoring your FTO program will be difficult, if not impossible. Instead of focusing on mentoring their trainees, your field training officers lose time on tedious documentation.
Not to mention, today’s recruits expect more modern processes when they join your agency. Working from physical manuals and completing paper forms in a binder is a turn-off to candidates – they prefer digital solutions that eliminate inefficiency so they can focus on the parts of the job they’re passionate about. Who wouldn’t love that?
In this article, we’ll highlight two options for police field training software – Frontline and PowerFTO – that might be a good fit for your agency. We’ll discuss how each solution addresses the need to properly and efficiently manage your FTO program, along with a detailed analysis of their pros and cons so you can identify which solution is best for your agency.
What is field training software and why is it important?
Field training software helps agencies ensure their new officers are properly trained and prepared for the job by tracking their progress, simplifying documentation for FTOs, and providing data that can inform decisions and drive program improvements.
Without software, it could be easy to miss a step of the field training process or make a critical documentation error that puts the officer and the agency at risk. Law enforcement field training software is more than just a digital way to complete your daily observation reports. It gives you the best tools to make sure your officers are ready to safely and effectively do a job that requires a lot from them.
One of the biggest benefits of field training software is being able to produce training documentation in a few clicks in the event of an Internal Affairs investigation or lawsuit. Hunting through filing cabinets and preparing paper documentation is time consuming, more prone to errors, and not a great use of your agency's resources.
Two notable solutions for field training software
When looking for a digital solution to manage your FTO program, you want the best – software that meets your needs, makes your life easier, and will stand the test of time. Frontline and PowerFTO are two notable examples of law enforcement field training software that could be right for your agency.
Frontline was founded by police officers in 2016 to help government agencies better track and communicate information. They market their field training software as “cloud-based daily observation report software to help manage your field training program.”
Frontline offers technology solutions in an effort to “bridge the gap between police, dispatch and the community.” They also offer software options related to community policing, QA tracking, training tracking, BWC audits, professional standards, and policy tracking.
PowerFTO, formerly Agency360, is owned by PowerDMS, which was founded in 2006 as a public safety workforce management platform. PowerFTO markets itself as “easy-to-use software that helps agencies prepare employees for the next phase of their career.”
PowerDMS by NEOGOV serves over 5,000 public safety agencies nationwide and designs software solutions to help public safety agencies reduce risk and liability, build public trust, operate with excellence, and improve department health. Some of these solutions include policy management, accreditation management, training management, shift scheduling, community engagement, and responder wellbeing.
Both solutions bring daily observation reports and field training tracking into the digital space – reducing the cost and time burden of paperwork.
Key Features of Frontline’s FTO Tracking Software
- Form Wizard to configure DORs: Allows you to pick and choose the categories, questions, and point system you want to use on your forms.
- Signature requirements: Require signatures from your FTOs and recruits on DORs.
- Real-time dashboards and reports: The DOR Report by Trainee, DOR General Report, and DOR Trainee Timeline Reports help you identify trends and analyze how recruits are progressing.
- Supervisor workflows: Add supervisors to workflows to alert them that signature approval is needed on a DOR.
- Trainee checklists: View trainees’ progress on each assigned list and sort lists by pending, ready for approval, and completed.
- One Login through My Frontline: If an agency uses more than one Frontline solution, they can log into the My Frontline page with one username and password to access all products.
- Audio/Video Link section for users with cloud-based recorders: Include a link to the audio or video footage that corresponds to the activity completed in the DOR.
- QA Tracker: For emergency communications agencies, Frontline also provides a Quality Assurance Tracker that allows the center to track DORs and QAs in the same platform.
- Only provides standard forms: Frontline provides standard DOR forms and standard APCO forms with the ability to customize forms if needed. However, they do not provide additional model-specific forms or programs for an out-of-the box solution.
- Reports are focused on DORs and trainees only: Dashboards focus on how trainees are progressing and performing over time through their DORs and scores. But there aren’t any reports dedicated to trainers’ performance or to overall program success year-over-year.
- No advanced capabilities: Frontline does not include the ability to conduct quizzes, manage trainer and trainee schedules, connect forms, or standardize scoring with additional tools or built-in features.
Who is Frontline a Fit For?
Frontline is a great fit for agencies who are already using Frontline’s QA Tracker for their emergency communications center and plan to track their CTO and FTO modules in the same system.
Frontline’s police field training software could also be a good fit for agencies looking for a solution that will track DORs digitally instead of manually on paper without the need for additional advanced features or analysis of their FTO process as a whole.
Key Features of PowerFTO’s Field Training Software
- Templates built from established training models: Over a dozen pre-built program templates for ready-to-go field training management – including the necessary phases, workflows, activities, skills, and more.
- Configurable forms, phases, skills, and activities: All tracking elements can be conformed to fit the way your FTO module currently grades and measures your trainees.
- Proofs of training: Document every stage of training (observed, demonstrated, etc.), track the amount of time spent, and prove trainees’ and trainers’ acknowledgment.
- Quizzes: Build configurable quizzes with designated passing percentages, optional time limits, set workflows, and true/false or multiple choice questions.
- Workflows and alerts: Set alerts to trigger when reports are late, if trainees score certain ratings, when phase lengths are complete, and more. Select users or groups to notify when action is needed, and automatically send the alerts and notifications through the system or via email.
- Automated reports: Leverage over a dozen reports that are automatically generated in the system to analyze and improve your FTO process.
- Trainee dashboards: Check-in on trainees and how they are progressing in the program with one click. View progress, identify where follow-up is needed, analyze performance categories, and take action from the dashboard.
- Trainer and trainee scheduling: Assign trainees to trainers in the system and mark periods of unavailability to ensure proper rotation and coverage.
- Over a dozen model-specific templates: PowerFTO includes several templates built from established FTO programs and required training types for law enforcement – including San Jose (both Basic and CA POST), Reno, Kellams, Animal Services, Investigations, and others. They are constantly adding new options and also provide pre-built templates for all of public safety – including NENA, NEMSMA, Corrections (Intake and Housing), and more.
- Extensive reports on the program, trainers, and trainees: The reports in this system go beyond simple graphs, providing high-level and deep-dive insights into your FTO process. Just a few of the reports included are Trainee Performance Trends, Trainee Success, Trainer Performance, Custom Questions Report, Quiz Report, and more.
- Intuitive forms that connect information: Instead of requiring you to flip back and forth between DORs and evaluations, the system pulls the information you need from one section to the next – reducing duplicate work and saving you time.
- Connection to PowerPolicy: Link directly to the most up-to-date policies and mission-critical documents when you also have PowerDMS by NEOGOV’s policy management software, PowerPolicy.
- Doesn’t currently support one login: While they have plans to implement unified login capabilities in the near future, PowerFTO does not currently support one login.
- Does not have a QA Tracker: PowerFTO’s parent company PowerDMS does not currently provide a QA Tracker.
- The advanced features and reports come at a price: PowerFTO is the more expensive solution between the two options due to the larger feature set and ongoing support included with the software.
Who is PowerFTO a Fit For?
PowerFTO is a great fit for agencies that want to simplify and standardize documentation. The solution’s form connections, standardized scoring cues, and simple user experience make it a great fit for agencies looking to save time and eliminate subjectivity while documenting their field training.
PowerFTO’s law enforcement field training software is ideal for agencies that want to take their field training program to the next level. The system’s reports, alerts, and advanced tracking capabilities can help evaluate the FTO program and enhance field training processes with data.
This solution is also a great fit for agencies already using PowerDMS by NEOGOV to manage and enhance their policies. Not only can you link field training activities directly into PowerPolicy, but you can also start using the software sooner due to a streamlined procurement process from a known vendor.
If you’re already considering any of PowerDMS’s solutions, they also offer bundled pricing when you purchase two or more products at one time – giving you more value for your money. If PowerFTO sounds like the right fit for your agency, set up a consultation to learn more.