There are three phases of training in law enforcement.
- Pre-Service Academy
As a profession we need to think differently about all three phases. It is important to take a step back, look at each of the three phases, detach from the emotional investment in what you are currently doing, and ask yourself some important questions. Below are a few questions to reflect on and act on regarding each of the three phases of training. This is not meant as an exhaustive list of questions, but a starting point for the discussion.
- Is our curriculum, and the way the curriculum is delivered, evidence based, and research informed, or are we still using the blocked and siloed approach to training?
- Are we teaching for understanding, learning, retention, and the ability to recall and apply the material delivered in the academy, or are we simply teaching to the test at the end of each block of training?
- Are we using “Tradition” as an excuse not to change the culture and curriculum at our academy?
- Are we blaming the “new generation of people we are hiring” rather than looking in the mirror and asking ourselves, “What piece of this do we own?”?
- Are we continually investing in the professional development of our instructor cadre, or have we become complacent or incestuous with their development as professional trainers, coaches, and teachers?
- Do we put the ‘T’ in the FTO program and teach our FTOs how to teach, train, coach and mentor or does the ‘T’ stand for “Tick Box’?
- Do we focus on teaching, training, coaching, and mentoring during the first three or four months of the FTO program and then evaluate the new officer, or are we inappropriately evaluating the recruits starting against the standard of where they need to be at the end of the FTO phase?
- Do we recognize that being an FTO is one of the most influential leadership positions in our agency and are we selective regarding who is given that critical role and responsibility?
- Do we provide ongoing leadership and other professional development training for our FTOs?
- Do we think of “In-Service Training” as the ongoing professional development of our people from the end of FTO Phase until the end of their careers, or just as a 40-hour block once a year where we do the annual or bi-annual certifications and recertifications, the mandated training and the “hot topic of the day” training?
- What are we doing to continually develop our people’s skills in the areas of leadership, critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, communications, mindset, resilience, investigations, mental skills, sense making and emotional intelligence, in addition to their technical and tactical skills?
- Do we see In-Service Training as an agency wide initiative and responsibility, or just the responsibility of the Training Section?
- Are we utilizing the strengths, talents, experience, and expertise of the people in our agency with regards to the development and delivery of In-Service Training?
- Are we continually looking for ways to deliver quality training, in small doses, throughout the year and throughout people’s careers, or are we locked into the blocked and siloed model for In-Service Training?
For us to continually move the profession forward we need to embrace the power of questions and make it safe for people to ask questions and challenge the status quo. When people have the courage to ask questions, we need to let go of the mantras “That is the way we do things here.”, “That is how we have always done it.”, and “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Training is too important for us not to be willing to continually ask the hard questions and seek to improve the way we design and deliver training.
Winning Mind Training – Providing practical training to law enforcement professionals in the areas of instructor development, Performance Enhancement Imagery, leadership and mindset.
Dare to Be Great Leadership – Providing practical leadership training.