Over the last six months I have done a series of interviews for the Excellence in Training Academy with staff from the Oregon DPSST Academy to talk about the significant changes they have implemented over the past three years with their culture and curriculum to create an evidenced based training model. Earlier this year I interviewed Noel Aher about the innovations they have incorporated into the recruit firearms curriculum as part of that transformation. In that interview he mentioned that some of the pushback they get from stakeholders and trainers regarding specific elements of the training is, “Why are you doing that. It is just a Basic Academy.”
I had trainers a few years ago share a story with me of a recruit who had to shoot a subject 15 minutes into his first shift on the street to save his FTO’s life.
I am aware of a case where a recruit had to shoot a subject 4 days into his first FTO phase to save his FTO’s life.
When I interviewed Britt Kelly (formerly Sweeney) for the Excellence in Training Academy she shared he story of being ambushed and shot and her partner killed on just her 20th shift out of the Academy.
Yes it is a Basic Academy, but it is not “Just” a Basic Academy. Officers, Deputies, Troopers, and Constables graduating from an Academy may be thrust into a critical incident at the very start of their careers. As in the examples above they may have to use skills from the Basic Academy to save the life of a citizen, their life, their FTO’s life or the life of another officer.
Starting with an officer’s first shift on the street following the Academy they are now the face of their agency and of the law enforcement profession. People they interact with on the street have an exception that the law enforcement professionals who show up at their call for service are professional and well trained. This expectation is the same on your first day with your department, your last day with your department and every day in between.
In an ideal world the Academy is the first stage in a career of ongoing professional training and professional development in a law enforcement career. The FTO / PTO phase is the next stage in that continual professional development, and is an extension of the Academy. That continuous training and professional development would continue over an entire career as part of a culture of leading and learning.
Yes, it is a Basic Academy, but it is not “Just” a Basic Academy.
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