Policy is critical, but by itself, it’s not enough. Policies often include training requirements designed to reinforce the policy content and prepare officers for the situations they face in the line of duty. Training requirements can arise from best practices, the reality of diminishing skills over time and, often, legal mandates. Requirements provide a basis for what needs to be trained on, but how you train is just as important.
At Lexipol’s Connect 2021 conference, Chief (Ret.) Mike Ranalli led a discussion on police training requirements, where they come from and how your agency can make the most of training. The reality is, training must work together with policy to properly prepare officers to respond well, keeping the mission of preservation of life at the center.
The Five Pillars
Understanding the five pillars and how they work together provides a basis for why training requirements exist and how you can properly structure training for the needs of your agency and community. The five pillars help your organization achieve its mission, prevent tragedies and reduce risk:
Ultimately, the five pillars, when properly used throughout an agency, help reduce risk for your community, your officers and your agency. Training is the third pillar and, as such, is central to everyday operations as it builds on the other pillars, reinforcing policy and preparing and strengthening your people.
The reality is, training must work together with policy to properly prepare officers to respond well.
Fulfilling Training Requirements
Not all training requirements are created equal. Knowing that you need to have training on specific policies, topics and skills isn’t enough. It’s important to take stock of how you train, in addition to what you train on. You must actively avoid the pitfalls of training artifacts that don’t prepare officers for what they will face in the real world. Spending adequate training time on high-risk events, aligning training with policy, and including real-world scenarios and stress in training help to make it effective.
Understanding the training requirements outlined in policies is simply the first step. Policy-related training, online learning and in-person instruction all play a critical role. What training looks like in your agency depends on the needs of your community and agency but ensuring adequate training should always be a priority.