In last week’s post I apologized for my role in creating misunderstandings regarding the term Warrior. One of the things I identified as a contributing factor to this misunderstanding was the sequencing of the material in my one day seminars. Any time you are not getting the desired outcomes from your training you need to step back and examine:
All three of the items on list list require us to look inward as opposed to looking outward and blaming the students, which is the easy way out.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to discuss training issues with a Chief and Deputy Chief from a large police agency. One of the issues they brought up was the perception that their recruits were leaving training thinking every call was going to result in a fight or end in a deadly force encounter. They spoke very highly of the training staff who taught control tactics, officer safety and firearms as their officers performed very well on the street when bad things did happen. Their concern however, was that officers left training almost paranoid and it was impacting they way they were relating to the community.
This is a common concern among police executives and identifies a major challenge for law enforcement trainers. How do you prepare your officers for the worst case scenario without making them think every call is going to be the worst case scenario? The answer is to go back to the above list of three elements you need to examine. This situation is often a result of issues with 2 and 3; Delivery and Sequencing.
Pay attention to the language you use in training. Examine what you place emphasis on in your training. Look at what videos you show, how many videos you show and how you debrief the videos (this is an area where we explore in detail during the Excellence in Training course). Pay attention to the stories you tell and the pictures you use. Consider how you use information regarding line of duty deaths in North America. Examine how many of your scenarios end in physical fights and deadly force encounters?
Where material is taught in the overall syllabus can have a significant impact on the perceived message of the program. The Chief I mentioned earlier told me the recruit training program their recruits went through taught a large block of fighting skills and high risk officer safety tactics right at the end of training. They were immersed in this training and in scenarios that almost always resulted in a fight or a shooting right at the end of training right before graduation. The placement of that important training in the academy syllabus likely played a role in the perception the recruits had about the realities of the job. Simply moving that training to earlier in the syllabus or spreading it out over a longer time period in training would likely resolve some of their issues. Addressing that critical training earlier in the syllabus would allow the training staff to run more scenarios later in the academy that did not result in fights or use of force. This would likely create a more realistic image of the profession for the recruits by allowing the training staff to reinforce that the job is about dealing with people, solving problems and making sound decisions.
When you are not getting the desired results from your training always step back and examine: Content, Delivery and Sequencing. The issue is likely in one or more of those elements.
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