If you want to your operational men and women to be able to perform at their best every day then every day needs to be a training day. The most effective way to implement the strategy of “every day is a training day” is to develop a cadre of people in the field who can facilitate daily training discussions at shift briefing / roll call. There are a number of resources you can tap into and train to deliver effective training in short bites every day.
The list of people you can utilize includes:
- Frontline supervisors.
- Existing trainers.
- FTOs / PTOs
- Professional Standard Personnel
- Detectives / Investigators
- Senior Leaders
I realize there are already a lot of demands on frontline supervisors and adding another task to their existing duties may seem like too much. However, if you make the time to teach your frontline supervisors how to conduct effective 10 minute training sessions at the start of every shift they will enhance their skills, their relationship with and understanding of the men and women they have the privilege of leading and supervising and will enhance the competence, confidence and decision making skills of those men and women. Here is a list some of the things you can teach them:
- Keys to effective debriefings.
- How to use actual incidents and videos as a tool to enhance decision making.
- How to break down policy into engaging 10 minutes training sessions.
- How to generate discussions on agency core values.
- How to conduct effective If / Then – When / Then discussions.
If you make sure to put the ‘T’ in the FTO / PTO program then they should already have skills in teaching, training and coaching. They should also be respected members of their shift and therefore a great resources for delivering training to their peers. If your FTO / PTO programs neglects the ‘T’ then teach them from the above list for frontline supervisors.
Trainers in your agency who work in the field and teach part time already possess skills and knowledge they can pass along to their peers on a regular basis instead of just when there is formal training sessions scheduled. They can conduct short reviews on physical skills like handcuffing and searches as well as quick training reviews on tactics.
Professional Standards personnel should be regulars at roll call training. They can talk about the keys to career survival such as The Top 10 ways people on your department get themselves in trouble on the job and strategies to ensure they avoid those pitfalls. Professional Standards personnel have some valuable lessons to teach. They may however, need some help in learning how to most effectively deliver their information.
Your experienced investigators can provide tips on various elements of conducting successful interviews and investigations. You can develop a list of topics that would be most helpful to your patrol personnel (they can help develop this list) and you can conduct a series of video interviews with respected investigators talking about these issues. You could do a 60 minute interview and then edit it into 6 to 10 minute training videos which can be shown and discussed at regular intervals at roll call.
You could do the same with prosecutors talking about effective note taking and key elements of effective court testimony. They could provide tips regarding common strategies used by defence counsel to challenge or discredit officers during their testimony and strategies for dealing with these tactics. Again, a 60 to 90 minute interview could be broken into 6 to 10 minute roll call training videos and shown throughout the year.
Ideally the senior leaders in your agency would make regular appearances at roll call to talk about the vision, mission and values of the agency and share examples of how the men and women of your agency regularly demonstrate those values. While it may be logistically challenging for the Chief, Sheriff or Colonel to attend roll call on a regular basis the patrol commanders should be a regular fixture sharing this same message. It is also extremely helpful if senior leaders communicate on a regular basis the factors behind some of the decision they make.
If your personnel work 10 or 12 hour shifts where they work on average 4 days a week, then 10 minutes of training, 4 days a week for 48 weeks (allowing for 4 weeks of holidays) equals 32 hours of additional training every year. If they work 8 hour shifts then 10 minutes of training, 5 days a week for 48 weeks (still allowing for 4 weeks of holidays) equals 40 hours of additional training every year.
Those daily training sessions can help to develop critical thinking and decision making skills, as well as their competence and confidence with investigative skills, physical skills, tactics, and understanding of what policy and the law allow them to do.
If you do not have a system in place then start small and continually build the program and develop the teaching, coaching and facilitation skills of people outside of the Training Section and work towards making every day a training day.
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