The St. Petersburg, Fl., Police Department has produced a 10-minute video for all new job applicants to show them what police work is really like. The Associated Press reports that officials hope to reduce the high number of new officers who quit after costly training by showing Realities of Field Training Officers, to weed out those with TV-edited, romanticized notions of police work. “This is straight down and dirty,” said Maj. Mary E. McDonald, commander of the training division. “It’s not meant to be touchy-feely. We wanted it to be unsettling. We didn’t want it to be sterile and edited out like a TV version.”
Last year, 19 newly sworn St. Petersburg officers dropped out of post-academy field training, a 3 ½-month hands-on program. The department, which pays for academy tuition, post-academy training, salary and administrative hiring costs, lost about $34,186.71 per officer or $649,547 total. In 2003, 23 new officers quit field training. The main complaints of dropouts were that they were surprised and shocked by the amount of paperwork, the intense criminal culture, and the mistreatment they suffered from some citizens.