Most departments kick off a shift like they did on “Hill Street Blues”—with roll call. It’s also the case that many departments haven’t fundamentally changed the way they conduct roll call since well before the TV show first aired in 1981.
Technology has opened new doors for traditional procedures like roll call. Online learning is one way to leverage technology and make police department roll call training more productive for everyone. Here are five examples:
#1: Address Timely Topics & Areas of Improvement
Learning management systems provide an extensive library of approved training resources, courses and videos covering a wide variety of subjects. With these resources, it’s easy to quickly access topics your department needs to cover, such as situations involving a recent high-liability event in your area.
For instance, if a school in your community recently received a bomb threat, the training lieutenant will likely go over the proper protocol for bomb threats during roll call. Rather than reading a general order word-for-word, training lieutenants can use an approved online course for a comprehensive, well-laid-out training experience.
Administrators who use lesson plans, such as those provided by PoliceOne Academy, can ensure consistency and timeliness in messaging. No matter what shift you’re on, the online course will provide immediate access to standardized information for every LEO.
Additionally, follow-up modules can be assigned for continued education and reading. This opportunity for additional training is especially useful for rookies who don’t have as much on-the-job experience as veteran officers, or for officers who want to dive deeper into a subject.
With just a few clicks, the supervisor leading roll call can access pre-developed lesson plans and videos on a wide variety of subjects.
#2: Meet Annual Training Hour Requirements
Most departments don’t track roll call training, which doesn’t make sense. Roll call is valuable time and like scheduled annual training, it should be accounted for. Using a learning management platform, supervisors can show accredited content during roll call and easily document personnel participation. For instance, if you’re using a PoliceOne Academy video training block during roll call, you can record participation using these steps:
- Select the personnel who completed the training.
- Add the date and time the training was completed.
- Submit the record for the credit completed into the LMS.
- Once the other videos in the training block are completed, a certificate will be awarded to those who completed the full course.
Online learning platforms make it easy for administrators to run and automate training reports so training progress, and roll call hours, can be easily monitored. Also, accurately accounting for these impromptu training opportunities can decrease the time officers have to be off the street participating in more formal training.
#3: Leverage Microlearning to Maximize Training
Online learning technology facilitates microlearning, which is a way of breaking up training into shorter “bursts.” Learning management systems that offer this format give training captains the option to break courses up into smaller segments. Microlearning is ideal for adult learners who may have short attention spans or limited time available for training.
This format of flexible learning aligns with the 5- to 15-minute window most agencies have available for police department roll call training. Microlearning is increasingly critical for the challenging law enforcement schedule, and it allows personnel to fit small bits of learning into their hectic work and life schedules.
For instance, PoliceOne’s Active Shooter 1 is a training block comprised of six 5- to 10-minute videos:
- Shooting Tactics for Multiple Officers in Close Quarters
- Reality Training: Sparrow Firearms Training
- Active Shooter Update
- Equipment to Carry on an Active Shooter Response
- Multiple Active Shooters
- Responsibilities of the First Officer in an Active Shooter Incident
Officers can watch each of these videos individually. Once they complete all the videos in the training block, they receive an hour of credit. Officers also have the option to take various training courses in conjunction with other segments such as the Defensive Tactics and Leadership courses offered by PoliceOne Academy.
Communicating relevant content in short bursts builds conceptual understanding, can make learning less intimidating and has proven to be a better way to learn important information.
#4: Save Time with Developed Roll Call Agendas
Leading police department roll call training can be a time-consuming process. Training captains or sergeants come in early to gather material, search for tips or videos and then find additional information that aligns with relevant issues the department is facing. This preparation consumes valuable time for the individual leading roll call. If the supervisor is feeling rushed due to a lack of time or isn’t prepared, roll call can be less effective
Through online learning, supervisors can quickly identify and use approved content. With just a few clicks, the supervisor leading roll call can access pre-developed lesson plans and videos on a wide variety of subjects.
#5: Easily Communicate Across Shifts
Law enforcement policy is constantly evolving due to changes in legislation, court decisions and new research. Using a policy management system that tracks such changes and issues updates to your agency, such as Lexipol’s Law Enforcement policy solution, can help agencies keep policies up to date, issue them to officers and track acknowledgment.
Roll call training is a great time to review policy updates and new policies. When agencies use an offline version of roll call, however, it’s easy for inconsistencies in message to creep in, causing potential confusion in the field.
This is where an LMS such as PoliceOne Academy can be helpful. Administrators can create and upload customized training or messages and use the LMS functionality to deliver the training during roll call, sending a standardized message to all officers. Additionally, you can collect frequently asked questions from your officers to document standardized answers related to the policy change for future reference.
Technology has immensely improved the options for police department roll call training. If your agency is still relying on the Hill Street Blues approach, it’s time to consider an upgrade!