Like most of the 2,000 police departments in Pennsylvania, Canonsburg Police Department (CPD) is a small department with 17 sworn officers protecting a population of about 9,000. Canonsburg is led by 25-year veteran Chief of Police Alexander Coghill.
Following his appointment in January 2015, Chief Al Coghill began exploring options to help solve the training challenges the CPD faced. According to department officials, budget constraints and lack of manpower made consistent training difficult. In the modern era of policework, reliable training is imperative, but it was occasionally overlooked by the department.
After researching the curriculum, instructors, course content and case studies, CPD department personnel identified PoliceOne Academy as a valuable training asset. PoliceOne Academy’s solution was simple and cost-effective. Every month Chief Coghill assigns officers four to eight hours of online training through the Academy. Every officer receives the same training and time is set aside on their regular 12-hour shifts to complete the training.
Before PoliceOne Academy, the CPD went through an arduous process of selecting a training vendor for each core competency and mandated course. The department would then spend approximately $45 per hour to send an officer to training (including transportation and overtime costs). According to CPD personnel, the department struggled to keep training at acceptable levels of consistency and quality.
After substituting much of its in-person training for equivalent online courses, CPD estimated it would save over $20,000 in the next 10 years in training costs—a benefit that was later recognized by Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome, who noted, “There are a lot of police departments that need this training. With 23,000 certified local police officers in the state, the savings could be significant for municipalities.”