It has been said that in time of stress “We do not rise to the occasion; we sink to the level of our training.”
I believe the original purpose of this statement was to highlite the importance of effective training, not to provide an excuse for poor training and less desirable performance. Unfortunately, I have heard a number of trainers use this statement as a statement of fact. While I agree that in times of stress we revert to the level of our training it is time trainers stopped embracing this statement as a philosophy and started to do something about it.
If you truly believe your officer will sink to the level of their training what does that say about your training? More importantly, what are you doing to change your training? If your training does not truly prepare officers for the challenges and threats they will face in the field, then stop making excuses and change the way you train your officers.
Start by talking to officers, reading use of force reports and talking to supervisors to find out where officers are failing to meet the challenge so you know what you need to change. Ask officers what they need more of, and what they need less of in training to better prepare them for the threats and challenges they are facing in the field. Too often we think we know what officers need and forget to ask them.
“Let no man’s ghost say that my training failed him.” Unknown
It is not acceptible to use budgets, time constraints and limited resources as excuses not to provide effective training. Be innovative. Be imaginative. Find ways to conduct effective training on a limited budget. Reach out to other trainers through organizations like ILEETA (www.ileeta.org) and find out what other trainers are doing. The annual conference is a great opportunity to train and network, but there are resources available all year through ILEETA. Attend other training programs and talk to fellow attendees and trainers. There are great classes put on through Winning Mind Training, LifeLine Training, FLETC Rural Policing Institute, FLETC’s Office of State and Local, and the FBI LEOKA program.
As I have stated in this blog before, I am not a fan of ‘thinking outside the box’. We live in a box world (budgets, policies, manpower issues,POST standards, etc) so start by cleaning out the box you have and then work on getting a bigger damn box. By cleaning out the box I mean getting rid of that stuff you have been doing for years just because it is easier to keep doing it than it is to create new programs, new lesson plans and new training stndards. You know the stuff I am talking about, and if you don’t know ask your officers.
Your commitment to Excellence in Training will breathe new life into your training and help to ensure that when faced with threats and challenges in the field, your officers will rise to the challenge by rising to the level of their training.
Please share your examples of your innovative training ideas so I can pass them along to your fellow trainers who read this blog regularly. By sharing you may save an officer’s life.
Go to LifeLine Training and register for the one day Below 100 / Survival Instincts training program to be held in Glen Ellyn, IL on Sept. 19 and 20.