By Rusty Keeble | @rustykeeble
When law enforcement training budgets get tight, training is one of the first areas to see budget cuts and sometimes even eliminated altogether. These decisions are usually made by those in the chain of command who fit in one of five categories: (1) they have never put a boot on the ground, (2) they do not see the value in a well trained force, (3) have an archaic way of thinking training holds no value to experience, (4) has a command staff and fiscal officer who do not do the due diligence to trim the unnecessary waste from the overall budget for a more lean operation (do we really need a closet of post-it-notes or a well trained force) or (5) in extreme cases; it's been so long for them that they have forgotten what it feels like to put a boot on the ground because they spend their days with the head in the clouds of the Ivory Tower.
All of which are setting their agency up for failure because when staff training is reduced; staff injuries, inefficiencies, liabilities and public complaints increase. You may even begin to see a reduction is successful prosecutions due to lack of knowledge of today's investigative needs. We would never put an officer on the job without the equipment to do the job so why would be put him out there without the proper knowledge to do the job correctly and safely?
Many times it's forgotten that when we reduce training during poor economic times; it is the poor economic times that helps drive an increase in gang membership, crime and violence. During poor economic times, the Protector operates with a disadvantage because we prepare our staff during the best of times when the best of us is not needed. However, the Criminal - the Wolf - operates with an advantage because our capacity to enforce and protect has been greatly reduced by budget cuts.
In short, when we are needed the most, we are not operating at full capacity but the criminals are and the public are ultimately the ones who suffer the consequence of this reactive way of thinking.
There had to be a way to cost effectively train officers even during the worst of economic times beyond good fiscal analysis of your day-to-day operation and there is - it's called e-Leanring or online learning. The traditional method of officers taking a week or even a day away from their normal duties as well as leaving their jurisdiction to attend a conference can now be replaced with technology by using the same content and instructors in an e-Learning environment.
By providing more e-Learning opportunities, agencies are able to get the training needed out to their officers when its more convenient and when the agencies and the officers can better balance it with their day-to-day operational demands. This way, scarce training dollars can be better utilized to create maximum benefit with minimum interruption to agency operations.
Additionally, because e-Learning is much more affordable, many officers can now take their education into their own hands and invest in themselves by paying out of pocket for the training they would never be able to afford to attend in the traditional method where vacation time, hotel, travel, per diem, and registration fees made it impossible on an officer's budget.
Around the globe, agencies are beginning to offer in-house e-Learning courses, sometimes called computer based training or CBT in a myriad of operational topics ranging from HR Policies to employee refresher courses on report writing, annual mandatory training or even specialized trainings for contraband search techniques, handcuffing and even narcotic identification. So why are we not offering gang training the same way?
Many agencies still in 2014 will not send an officer to a gang conference because (1) they do not believe they have a large enough gang presence to warrant the expenditure or (2) do not want to politically position themselves to admit they have a gang presence by spending the money to send their officers out of state or across the state to attend training on gang identification. E-Learning can answer that need as well because their officers can attend this training and never leave the office.
E-Learning gives officers access to training modules from anywhere with internet on a variety of platforms ranging from desktops to smartphones and if done in an "on-demand" platform, can give them the flexibility to take the courses around their work and home schedules.
While e-Learning can save agencies time and money, each agency should seek out those companies and organizations who provide the most up-to-date courses using the most respected subject matter experts for fresh and engaging content who can also assist those agencies in tracking or provide training records for their officer's participation. These records can assist agencies in their mandatory training requirements for state records.
The Gang Enforcement Company's new Gang Enforcement Institute utilizes both audio and video as well as live interactive capabilities to allow officers to engage the instructors, in real time, to ask questions, and provide input and feedback through the online chat feature that creates a much more interactive experience for your officer. We strive to make the "online" training experience as close as you can get to physically being in the same room without having to actually be there.
Beginning in 2015, we began offering "on-demand" courses where are accessible 24/7/365 for maximum accessibility. Our mission is simple: To Prepare Today's Gang Enforcement Professionals Today and Tomorrow's Gang Enforcement Professionals; Today!
Our Gang Enforcement Thought Leaders serve as a valuable resource to you and your agency.
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