Yuma Police Department Case Study

Streamlining the Field Training Program at Yuma PD

February 26, 2021


DOR filing process reduced from 3–5 days to 1–2 hours 1,000+ annual DORs organized in a cloud-based filing system Automated workflows for increased efficiency and accountability Reduced the risk of liability from future legal action

Every police department manages its Field Training Officer Program (FTOP) a little differently. In the absence of a modern solution, many have developed manual processes to help their FTOP run as smoothly as possible. As a Field Training Officer (FTO) for seven years at Yuma Police Department in Arizona, Lieutenant Robert Conley experienced the inefficiencies of the FTOP firsthand.


Field Training Program Challenges

Like many law enforcement agencies today, Yuma PD was using an outdated, paper-based system.

Without a modern digital solution, they lacked standard workflows, formal hand-offs, and most importantly, protection from liability.

Police FTOs at Yuma PD use Daily Observation Reports (DORs) to review trainees each day in the field. This is how their process used to work, and maybe you can relate:

DOR Duration: 3-5 days


FTO fills out DOR


Recruit reviews & signs DOR


FTO reviews DOR


DOR sits in document tray


Sergeant reviews & signs DOR

Using network drives, paper, binders, and document trays, this process happened every day for a minimum of 44 training days. That equaled 44+ DORs for each recruit. And over the course of a year, it totaled to approximately 1,000 loose FTOP documents for Yuma PD. That's a lot of crucial paperwork exchanging hands day-to-day.

Lt. Conley found that completed DORs would often sit in the sergeant's document tray for days waiting to be reviewed, creating potential threats to privacy and document security.

 Once approved by the sergeant, the DORs would be added to a recruit’s binder, but without agency wide-standards, there was a lack of uniformity. Expectations varied between FTOs and sergeants, so every binder was organized differently, making them difficult to sort through and reference retroactively.

Finally, there wasn't an official hand-off from one field training officer to another between phases. Although Phase 1 FTOs would try to meet with Phase 2 FTOs to convey critical information about a recruit, sometimes there were scheduling conflicts and the meeting wouldn't happen. With these challenges and liability risks, Lt. Conley found a way to modernize and streamline Yuma PD’s FTOP process.


How much loose paperwork does your FTO program produce annually?


Digital Solutions for Police Departments

Yuma PD was already using PowerDMS as their policy management solution. When Lt. Conley stepped into a quality assurance role, he further explored the software. Using PowerDMS’ cloud-based solution, Lt. Conley improved Yuma PD’s field training officer program by standardizing workflows, formalizing hand-offs, and protecting his agency from liability.

Cloud-based Filing System for FTO Programs

Instead of trying to organize, track, and store 1,000+ DORs each year, Yuma PD revolutionized their police training program with PowerDMS. The new digital process adds security and uniformity to their program. DORs don’t sit in document trays out in the open for days at a time and disorganized binders have been eliminated.

The new system also formalizes hand-offs between police FTOs. By having all DORs stored in one place electronically, critical information about recruits can pass from FTO to FTO without falling through the cracks. For Yuma PD, this saves valuable time by reducing hand-off meetings and also improves performance tracking during the training process.

Automated FTOP Workflows

Lt. Conley used PowerDMS to create an iterative workflow for Yuma PD’s FTO program. Each step of the workflow requires review and sign-off approval from the responsible party.

DOR Duration: 1-2 hours


FTO fills out DOR


Recruit reviews & signs DOR


FTO reviews DOR


Sergeant reviews & signs DOR


Recruit reviews feedback

Thanks to an automated system, officers don’t have to manually exchange loose paperwork multiple times a day. PowerDMS software automatically assigns the next person in the workflow, so assigned parties can complete, review, and approve DORs on any device at any time. The new system ensures that trainee performance is reviewed by the sergeant and all valuable feedback is acknowledged by the trainee. This creates a tighter feedback loop and system of accountability that allows Yuma PD to identify performance trends faster and respond accordingly.

In addition to filling out each DOR, FTOs can offer feedback and address concerns through a discussion tab in the software, which recruits are required to respond to. By tracking any issues, examples of underperformance, corrective measures, etc., Yuma PD can better protect itself from future legal action.

Protection From Liability

With new recruits in the field day in and day out, FTO programs are a liability for law enforcement agencies. Even 5–7 years down the road, departments can still be held liable if they didn’t properly train and prepare officers.

 If something happens and legal action is taken, the officer’s FTOP documentation can and will be scrutinized.

Yuma PD realized this and leveraged PowerDMS to take preventive measures. Now if something happens, every DOR is accessible electronically and well organized. Thanks to Lt. Conley’s new system, Yuma PD can track performance and store crucial documentation without fear of paperwork getting lost or destroyed.


Lt. Conley streamlined Yuma PD’s documentation process with PowerDMS. Using the old, paper-based system, it took Yuma PD 3–5 days, on average, to file a daily observation report from start to finish.

Now with PowerDMS, it can take as little as 1-2 hours for a sergeant to sign off on a week’s worth of DORs for a trainee. And if chiefs want to oversee training performance, they can quickly access training records at their convenience from any device. Anytime, anywhere.

So whether your agency subscribes to the San Jose model or the Reno (PTO) model for field training, make sure you subscribe to the Yuma model for FTOP documentation.

Get the data you need. At your fingertips. When it matters most. Contact PowerDMS today for a demo and learn how you can streamline FTOP documentation and mitigate liability.

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