Last week I wrote about learning from the apprenticeship model and the importance of providing ongoing professional development training throughout people’s careers. I realize that training comes with a cost and tight budgets are a reality for many agencies. So what can you do? Get creative.
Expand your Tribe of Trainers by putting your frontline supervisors and FTOs through the Excellence in Training course or similar program. This makes it easier to continually be micro dosing training by delivering it in small chunks throughout the year and throughout people’s careers.
Form training coalitions with other law enforcement agencies in your area. This would allow you to rotate training through the various agencies where you share the responsibilities of providing facilities and share allotted spots in the training sessions. The instructor cadre for each training session could be a combination of people from a variety of the agencies in the consortium, or you could take advantage of subject matter experts from different agencies to conduct the training.
Form training coalitions with other public safety entities. Topics such as leadership, emotional intelligence, communications skills and stress management are universal to all elements of public safety and are not law enforcement specific. Partnering with Fire, EMS, and 9-1-1 Centers allows you to share the cost of training and also allows you to break down the silos between the various departments and maximize the efficiency of responding to calls for service.
Host training. You can do this either through your agency or through your training consortium. You can run these training classes as open enrolment classes where you get comp spots as the host or negotiate to buy the class and share the costs amongst the members of your training consortium and then you all send people to the class. If it is a one or two day class you could work it out with the instructor to run the class a couple of times in the same week to accommodate schedules and allow you to send the maximum number of people to the training.
Tap into your local post secondary educational institutions. There is a wealth of knowledge amongst the instructor cadre at your local colleges and universities that you may be able to tap into. People with relevant expertise would likely be willing to conduct a one-hour webinar, workshop or interview on a topic of interest that you could record and share.
Tap into your local wellness community. These might be mental health professionals, fitness professionals, nutritional experts, sleep specialists just to name a few. Seek out people who would be willing to deliver a one to four hour presentation, or even a full day workshop, to your people at little or no cost and in exchange you promote their services to your people. Be sure to seek out culturally competent professionals.
Tap into your local business community. You have people in the business community with extensive knowledge on leadership, communication, negotiations, problem solving and building and maintaining relationships that would likely be honored to be asked to speak to a group of public safety professionals if you just asked.
Tap into your local professional sports teams. The coaches, high performance directors, or mental skills coaches might be willing to speak to law enforcement and public safety professionals on topics such as coaching, leading, mental conditioning and performance under pressure.
Tap into local organizations like Toast Masters to see if they have someone who would be willing to do a presentation on the keys to effectively communicate with diverse audiences. This would be helpful to officers throughout your agency, or agencies in the consortium, who get tasked with delivering presentations to community groups, but may get limited training in how to do so effectively.
Get a Training Unit membership to the Excellence in Training Academy and share the User Name and Password with your entire cadre of academy, in-service and field trainers as well as your frontline leaders. This would likely break down to an investment of less than one or two dollars per month, per person. The interviews and webinars can be utilized in a number of ways as tools for ongoing professional development training.
Training is too important now to do it continually and effectively. Professional development training often gets sidelined in favor of check the box training. Training is also too often seen as an expense, not an investment, and as a result training budgets get cut early. It is important for all of us to continually find creative ways to address the obstacles to ongoing professional development training for our people and for us as trainers.
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.