In recent years NCAA Division 1 basketball has seen the phenomena of “One and Done” become more prevalent. Instead of attending college for four years before entering the NBA draft a number of college players play one year then enter the NBA draft in pursuit of the big dollar contracts. They use the colleges as an additional year of exposure to the the NBA scouts instead of using their scholarship to get a college education. While they can say they “attended XYZ college”, they really just stopped by on their way to the pros.
One and Done however, is not just an issue in college basketball. We see this also happening, with a twist, in law enforcement training. One and Done law enforcement training is the mistaken belief that an agency just needs to deliver the “flavour of the day” training program once, and they are good forever. There is no need to continue to talk about the issue or reenforce the principles and concepts on a regular basis.
Deescalation training is the latest example. Agencies across North America are making all their operational personnel attend a one time deescalation training program varying in length between 2 and 8 hours. Following the training the agency can tell all the special interest groups that their officers are “trained” in deescalation. (In a future post I will address the reality that there is a difference between attending training and being trained.)
Deescalation is not a class or a course. Deescalation is a philosophy and it is what the majority of law enforcement professionals do every day. Deescalation is about decision making. Can we do a better job of making decisions within the profession? Absolutely we can. But, decision making is not a 2, 4 or 8 hour class either. You cannot teach a one time class on decision making and expect that people will make great decisions from that moment on. It is an ongoing development process, not a “One and Done” class.
As retired US Navy Captain David Marquet says, “There is a need for relentless consistent repetition of the message. Continually and consistently repeating the message is a mechanism for competence.”
We need to stop the madness of believing we can put people through a 2, 4 or 8 hour program and assume they are trained and competent in that area. You need to find a way to connect the dots and weave the key concepts, principles and philosophies into everything you teach. Continual exposure to the core messages will help your officers to make the connections and be able to retain, recall and use the information and skills.
It is time to put and end to “One and Done”. As someone who follows college sports a bit, I do not see how “One and Done” benefits college sports. As someone who has been in and around the law enforcement profession for 38 years, I know it does not benefit our profession; it hurts us and is a disservice to the heroic men and women of the profession.
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