In my Excellence in Training Course and seminars we address the issue of “Training Gaps”.
Training gaps are missing elements in training. These missing elements are caused by a variety of reasons, one of the most common being Silos in the academy. A Silo is, “a system, process, department, etc. that operates in isolation from others.” Silos in an academy or training division are all the different groups of instructors or instructor cadres. These Silos include:
- Firearms trainers.
- Subject control tactics, or DT trainers.
- Criminal law trainers.
- Provincial / State law trainers.
- Traffic law trainers.
- EVOC trainers.
- Officer safety trainers.
- Ethics trainers.
- Leadership trainers.
- Tactical communication trainers.
- Filed Training Officers.
- The training leadership team.
- Diversity trainers.
For every Silo in training there is the potential for a training gap where something falls between the gaps that exist between the Silos. Group A thinks a tactic or techniques is being taught by Group B who think it is being taught by Group C, etc.
Here are some examples:
- Contact shots – Too often the firearms trainers do not teach it. They assume the tactics people are teaching it in CQB. The tactics trainers think that the DT or the firearms people are teaching it. As a result no one is teaching an officer to shoot a subject at contact distances, especially when that subject is in hand to hand combat with another officer.
- Using a non functional pistol or other firearm as an impact weapon – The DT trainers say, “We don’t teach that, it is a firearms training issue.” The firearms trainers say, “We teach them how to shoot with a gun, not use it as a club.” As a result no one is teaching the officers to use a non functioning pistol effectively as an impact weapon.
- Radio use – Trainers often lament that recruits in scenarios never use the radios they are given. This is often the result of a training gap and the question you should be asking is, “Where in our training do we allow them to actually use radios, or at least simulate the use of radios?” Usually the honest answer is, “We don’t.” They never use them on the range after engaging a threat. They never use them in control tactics after they defeat an attack and establish control of a subject. They never use them in tactics training during building clearing training. If they never use them in training is it reasonable to expect they will use them in a scenario, or properly out in the field?
- Deployment of backup. When officers are in scenarios they know the standard protocol for many of the scenarios – Ask for backup. They also know that when they ask for backup they will usually be told that all the other units are tied up and unavailable so they will have to handle the call on their own. The trainers running the scenarios assume that someone in training taught the recruits what to tell backup and how to effectively use them out in the field when they actually do show up. Another Training Gap.
The training gaps often show up during scenarios or out on the street when officers fail to do something the trainers expect them to. It is too easy to blame the officers when what you need to do is take a step back and ask yourself, “Where is that being taught in the curriculum? Who is teaching it? Is it actually being taught or is it being glossed over?”
Next week we will address how to close the gaps created by the silos in training.
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