P1 First Person: The 5 Powers of the FTO

Editor's Note: This week’s PoliceOne First Person essay is from PoliceOne MemberShawn Hill of the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Police Department. Hill writes that a Field Training Officer will be granted power and authority over a police trainee, and that those authorities will come in the form of Legitimate Power, Reward Power, Expert Power, and in some ways, Coercive Power. The final, and maybe most important, he says, is Referent Power. In PoliceOne "First Person" essays, our Members and Columnists candidly share their own unique view of the world. This is a platform from which individual officers can share their own personal insights on issues confronting cops today, as well as opinions, observations, and advice on living life behind the thin blue line. If you want to share your own perspective with other P1 Members, simply send us an e-mail with your story.

By Shawn Hill
Police1 Member

In understanding police management theory, it is necessary to define several different types of power when considering authorities possessed by supervisors and managers. Social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven provide us with descriptions of five power typologies which are often used for a basis of these definitions. 

French and Raven defined the five basis of power as Legitimate, Coercive, Reward, Expert, and Referent. 

All of these sources of authority can be seen in a microcosm in your department’s FTO program. 

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