One of the consistent themes I hear around North America from officers is “If training is not on the company time, and the company dime, I am not going.” Officers somehow feel that training is the sole responsibility of the agency and as a result they believe it should always occur on company time and that the agency should always pay for training. When asked about training on their own these officers offer a multitude of excuses such as:
- If it was that important the agency needs to provide the training.
- I don’t have anyone else to train with.
- I don’t have anywhere to train.
- I don’t have time because I work shifts and have other commitments.
- I can’t afford to train on my own.
I will address these specific excuses in a minute. First let me express this guarantee. There has never been and never will be an agency killed or injured in the line of duty. If we are going to make excuses why we cannot train on our own then we are abdicating the responsibility for training to the agency. By doing so we are abdicating our safety and well being and the safety of our fellow warriors and the citizens we are sworn to protect. That is inappropriate. We owe them more than that. We owe our families more than that. We our ourselves more than that.
In regards to the above excuses:
- If it was that important the agency needs to provide the training. Response – It is you that is out there on the pointy end of the stick. Make it important to you. If the agency provides training that is a bonus.
- I don’t have anyone else to train with. Response – Train by yourself. Do imagery of skills training by yourself. If you are committed to this you will likely start to find others who are also committed. In the meantime, train on your own.
- I don’t have anywhere to train. Response – Bullshit. Train in your mind, your basement, your back yard. Find some place to train. If your opponents can find a place to train in prison, you can find a place to train.
- I don’t have time because I work shifts and have other commitments. Response – Find 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes a day, four days a week, 48 weeks a year equates to 32 hours of training a year. You can find 10 minutes a day. Over a 25 years career that is 800 hours of training for an investment of only 10 minutes a day.
- I can’t afford to train on my own. Response – Can you afford not to? While you are making excuses why you cannot train the person you might have to face on the street and who may try to kill you is likely training to win that fight. Set aside $10.00 a week into a special type of savings account, a ‘life saving’ account (use direct deposit if you can). That would add up to $520.00 a year. Every two years take that money out of the account and invest it in going to a conference such as Legacy of Excellence or ILEETA. If you find another committed individual you can share a room and possibly a ride if you are within driving distance. That way you may be able to go every year to a conference. In addition to the $10.00 a week you put into your life saving account take the change out of your pockets every day and put it into a jar. Once a month take the change to the bank and deposit that into your life saving account as well. You might be surprised how quickly that adds up.
Now those of you reading this blog may be among the few that understand the importance of a personal commitment to training and therefore invest in yourself by committing your own time and money to training throughout the year. If that is the case I applaud you. If it is not the case then what are you going to do about it?