In the last blog entry we talked about missing elements in training and discussed some issues around winning violent encounters. Today we will continue with the theme of missing elements by addressing radio use.
Scenarios – Very often in scenario based training trainers are frustrated by the fact that the officers do not use their radios to call for back up, call in updates of events or for other functions that would be expected of them in the field. If you have experienced this in training you are not alone.
Often the question asked of the officers by the trainers following the scenario is “Why didn’t you use your radio during the scenario?” In my mind the question we need to be asking is “Where in the officers training did we train radio use as a habitual part of the job?” The answer to that question too often is nowhere. We may have covered radio protocol in a class and shown them how the in-car and portable radios work, but have we actually ‘trained’ them to use the radio? Have we had the officers use radios on the range and train to call in following a simulated shooting? Have we had the officers use radios in their use of force training and call for assistance before and/or after the fight? Have they practiced calling in an update after the fight is over and the subject is in custody? In their tactical communication training have the officers had to use the radio before, during and after the scenario where they used their communication skills to gain voluntary compliance with the subject? If the answer to any or all of these questions is no, then you have identified a training gap that needs to be addressed.
EVOC / Pursuit Training – Very often at the end of emergency vehicle operations training officers are required to engage in a mock pursuit to demonstrate their driving skills. During these pursuits the use of the radio is often an area of concern. In some cases the officer is unable to provide clear and concise information concerning the vehicle they are pursuing. In other cases the officer is unable to provide clear information regarding their current location, direction of travel, speeds, and project direction of the pursuit. This is often severely complicated if the officer operating the primary pursuit vehicle is alone in the car and required to operate the vehicle at high speeds, operate the emergency equipment and operate the radio. The question to ask if an officer is having difficulty with this task is “In what part of their EVOC training did we train radio use to the habitual level?’ as opposed to “What is the matter with this person. Why can’t they do this?” The training can start small with having the officers narrate some of this information inside the vehicle during the driving exercises. It can be done with the officer who is riding shotgun in the vehicle waiting for their turn to drive, and also by the officer who is driving once they get comfortable with the actual driving component. It can then progress where officers have to provide information on the during exercises. First as the passenger officer, then as the driver.
If radio use is an expected part of the job performance, but it is not being trained to the appropriate level in training, then it is a Training Gap and should be addressed.
On Friday we will examine training that is not reflective of reality.
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