PTO (Police Training Officer) Basic Course

40 Hour Training Course / KLEC Certified
Tuition: $900

Course Description

The PTO program addresses the changing philosophies required for effective policing in America today. It is specifically mentioned in the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing as a potential model to teach new officers how to think proactively with their community through the use of adult learning strategies. The program is adaptable to teach and evaluate officers based on your organizational needs.

This course prepares participants to become post-academy trainers in the PTO program. If your agency does not yet have a program, we recommend sending your implementation team for full immersion. Participants will learn how to use and teach community policing strategies, emotional intelligence, and problem-based learning. Each of the program components will be thoroughly taught and practiced, and agency specific evaluations will be developed. This challenging course teaches program mechanics, training foundations, organizational leadership, and personal accountability through community learning.

Topics covered include:

  • Journaling for accurate self-assessment
  • Teaching adult learners
  • PTO program structure and implementation
  • Problem Based Learning Exercises
  • Emotional intelligence in police work
  • Designing/using agency-specific evaluations
  • Anchoring community policing, legitimacy and procedural justice
  • Coaching and mentoring skills
  • Coaching Training Reports (CTRs)
  • Learning Activity Packages (LAPS) to enhance training
  • Neighborhood Portfolio Exercise


  • To learn the PTO structure and how the components support community policing.
  • To learn through adult-based learning strategies, and how to teach using them.
  • To demonstrate competency in each of the topics covered.
  • To design effective evaluations that address a trainee's skills, knowledge, application, and ability to work within the department's goals.
  • To learn how to apply recruit training in the community through a series of real-life problem solving activities.
  • To recognize inhibitors to learning and learn strategies for overcoming these.
  • To promote the practice of using community members as partners in problem solving, accountability, and resource development.

Course Materials and Equipment


Course materials (i.e., Powerpoint presentations, handouts, articles, etc.) will be provided electronically for this course on a computerized access link provided to registered students prior to the class.   It is highly recommended that students download course materials to a laptop, tablet or other device  prior to the first day of class and bring the device with them to the course.  Otherwise, students should print SPI-provided course materials from the access link and bring printed materials with them to class.

In order to download course materials from the access link, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel software (Office Suite) should be installed on laptop, tablet or other device.  


Jeremy Coleman

Matthew Gelhausen

Chris Keith 

Upcoming Training and Lodging:

If this course is not currently scheduled, it can be brought to your region by a co-hosting agency or through a contract. Learn more.


Click here to register for courses. 

What Our Graduates Are Saying:

"The course was definitely worthwhile because it made me evaluate myself as a leader and instructor."

"This course was definitely worth it. Opened my eyes to a new way of learning and thinking."

"I thought this course was great. I have more tools in my belt to use to build trainees to be good leaders. I also have a better understanding on how to look for problems that my trainee might have and give him PBLEs to help him master his/her deficiency."

"The course really opened my eyes to any barriers the trainer may have with the trainee and how to cope with these barriers."

"This course was very worthwhile. This course should be a requirement for any officer wishing to become a training officer."

"This class was very enjoyable and captured my attention all week. It gave a first-hand experience of a trainee's emotions beginning a law enforcement career."

"This course will prove to be very beneficial for our PTO program. It was engaging and very participatory....Considering that so many agencies (types and locations) were represented, the course was able to keep its primary objectives of us learning the material."

"Good class, very informative – great way to transition from the FTO program."

"The manner in which this course was taught made it informative, understandable and interesting. After taking this course, I am more prepared and ready to implement the PTO Model at my agency. The background/experience of the instructors in the PTO Model gives them credibility, making it easier to relate to the instruction."

"This course was very good. The subject matter was relevant and was explained very well. It took some time to being to understand; however, the instructors did a great job bringing it together. I would highly recommend this course to others"

“This is my first time attending a PTO course and found it very informative. I will be taking a lot of information back to my agency and feel that by the end of this course, I have a good knowledge base of the content.”

“Course was very informative. Great help in phasing into a new program. Wonderful instructors, very knowledgeable.”

“I feel that this course will greatly benefit our department. It will not only improve upon the training new officers receive but will also contribute to ongoing learning.”

“Change in law enforcement comes slowly and, in most cases, dragging those involved, kicking and screaming into the new ‘unknown.’ I thought this course was well-presented. The theory is sound and the application examples make sense once the theory is explained. All-in-all, a very informative and much-needed class.”

“This model or course has a lot more areas to evaluate the trainee and give him a lot more responsibilities and input.”

“The course was very worthwhile and informative. It gave me a very new perspective on a way to teach new recruits.”