There has been a lot of news and social media coverage on police brutality and shootings leading to a push for police retraining. The aftermath of events like Ferguson, Missouri, New York, Baltimore, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Has led to the development of many social activist groups such as Black Lives Matter, Cops Watch, and Cop Block.
Which has fueled the discussion on police training and how citizens have become proactive in patrolling their communities using technology with cameras as surveillance. Taken this approach versus reactively turning on their cameras when police enter their neighborhoods or when they happen to be around police activity.
Examining how police are being trained and continued training; in areas of approaching suspects, mentally health population, shooting of unarmed suspects, and mass shootings. Evaluating a variety of training polices in various police departments and partnerships to assess the differences in how police are trained to address issues. I will look at these cases to see if there is a difference in policies. Correlating these training policies against the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) guide to examine if various competencies are being meet. This will help in identifying gaps in training and the need for further evaluations, amendments, and recommendations.
All police officers go to training. Receiving an offer of employment is not immediately accompanied by a badge, uniform, and set of keys to your new cruiser. Completion of an academy and field training program will be the final step to becoming a full-fledged officer.
Each state and jurisdiction have different training requirements. Training can be gained at such places like community college, state sponsored institutions, in house training programs after the hiring process or sponsorship to attend an academy somewhere else. Whichever route a potential officer take, rest assured, they will receive extensive training prior to been put on the streets.
There is no standard national curriculum, but the state may guide agencies in developing training programs. Each state has a Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) or similar entity which establishes minimum selection standards for law enforcement officers, sets minimum education and training standards, and serves as the certification or licensing authority for sworn personnel (1). These agencies may be helpful in getting an idea of your state’s approach to law enforcement training.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Training Agencies (CSLLEA) (2011) From 2004 to 2008, the total number of full-time local police employees increased by 20,000 (3.5%) to about 593,000 (Table1).
The 2008 CSLLEA included 17,985 state and local law enforcement agencies employing at least one full-time officer or the equivalent in part-time officers. The total included:
- 12,501 local police departments
- 3,063 sheriffs’ offices
- 50 primary state law enforcement agencies
- 1,733 special jurisdiction agencies
- 638 other agencies, primarily county constable offices in Texas.
Increasing hiring police offices, agencies must be equipped to handle the needs and requirements of this highly active public sector job. Although, recruitment increased, there was a net decrease in full time sworn personal, employed by state and local law enforcement agencies in 2002-2004.
There is an apparent need for training and many police officer’s organizations have stepped up to fulfill that need in conjunction with officers. For instance, to meet the needs of police officers serving rural communities, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) worked in collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and numerous rural Indian tribal police agencies to develop a basic training program that would focus on training officers to respond to police calls in which they have little or no backup. In 2011, FLETC and its BIA and Indian tribal police partners began to make the training need become reality. For two years, they held numerous working group meetings to discuss every aspect of law enforcement training to determine the curriculum for the Rural Police Officer Training Program (Smoot, 2016).
Community policing is an organizational philosophy that promotes community and police partnerships, and focuses on proactive problem solving and community engagement to address the causes of crime, fear of crime or being a victim of crime, and other community issues. By effectively training officers to address the people and issues that they were sworn to sever gives each party a stronger sense of community. It also, shows that the police officer is part of the community and should not be seen as threat. As Block (2011) mentions, effective leadership is the building blocks to a continued relationship building.
To define the role of a police officer one must understand completely the role of the police in today’s world and to ensure that cognate basic recruit training programs are the rule rather than the exception. A framework has always been necessary for viewing the police function. So that training planners include within any given training program all of the actual activities in which police become involved during their daily tours of duty, based on the realities of police work. As such, officers all across the law enforcement community embarked on their respective job task analysis efforts in agencies’ attempts to define exactly what basic training was important and how much of it was needed in any given area of the job. For many peace officer standards and training (POST) units, this has proved to be a very fluid process, which means that job task analyses must be reevaluated to stay up to date with what is happening in the society at large at any given time (John, 2016).
While police officers remain our primary first responders to active shooter incidents and mass-casualty events. Responding officers can prevent unnecessary deaths by addressing immediate threats, and then providing emergency care including the application of tourniquets and pressure dressings to prevent hemorrhage, triaging casualties, establishing secure casualty collection points, and coordinating care with existing EMS responders.
The time has come to provide officers with basic Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) training and equipment in order to potentially save the lives of victims, bystanders, police officers and suspects in the event they are wounded. TEMS is not intended as a replacement for EMS services; rather, it’s an operational medical element that complements these resources in order to promote the success and safety of the law enforcement mission. Federal, state and local governments should recognize this need and provide the necessary funding to train and equip police officers for an effective response to mass casualties (Gerold, 2013).
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) partnered with the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) to create a one of kind cultural awareness training program tailored to the needs of Las Vegas law enforcement. The online training module was released in September 2011. The module is based on the Law Enforcement Partnership Program training program SALDEF developed in conjunction with national law enforcement professionals in 1999. The training program includes “On Common Ground”, a training video developed by SALDEF and the United States Department of Justice. The training program has been used by numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement departments, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (Singh, 2012).
In U.S. police department budgets, most funding goes to salaries and equipment, and virtually nothing to training. It is a deadly formula, says Maria Haberfeld of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Waldman. 2014).
Police departments can repair and strengthen community relationships by understanding and training officers on three key concepts: procedural justice, bias reduction, and racial reconciliation. Together and when implemented, these concepts create an environment in which effective partnerships between the police and citizens can flourish. The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office seeks to provide these critical resources to ensure integrity and ethics are well-understood and embedded in the culture of policing.
With the help of COPS Boston Police Department has developed an Enhancing Cultures of Integrity Technical Assistance Guide (2010). This guide has 7 Strategies for project development and implementation; 1) Self-Assessment Techniques for Internal Monitoring, 2) Improving Citizen Complaint Processes, 3) Ensuring Accountability to the Community on Special Events Planning and Intelligence Collection, 4) Adaptation of Command Staff Integrity Training, 5) Review and Enhancement of Use of Force Policy and Training, 6) Recruitment Initiative, 7) Transition Team Focus Groups.
This technical guide is similar to SHM Competencies by outlining specific strategies. For example, Strategy 5: Review and Enhancement of Use of Force Policy and Training. The BPD planned to deliver 1-day training sessions to police chiefs and senior managers on the complexities and responsibilities associated with using force in the line of duty. The proposed training model would employ case studies to help participants:
- Engage their beliefs and experiences about using force
- Examine and discuss police accountability in the field
- Study the impact of using force on community/police relations
- Consider the relationship between use of force issues and police integrity/leadership
This is the type of framework that every police agency needs to be effective in address those components that are relevant to the neighborhoods that they serve as well as standard in force, communication, community building, and interviewing.
In conclusion, there must be ways to provide necessary basic recruit academy training and continued training. Allowing recruits to have hands on training and current officers continued training while serving the public, at the same time. One means of striking this balance is to utilize a staggered agenda, along with mandated step-by-step certification levels. States like Texas, over the past decade, has developed personnel expertise. Satisfying the interests of specialized interest groups and legislated training mandates.
Input from all levels of personnel; Chiefs, Academy Directors, and POST commissions can and should provide recommendations regarding line personnel training issues as well as a supervisory curriculum. In house training styles should reflects a step-by-step, progressive education program. Offering both mandated training topics as well as discretionary training preferences within defined timelines.
- Block, P., 2011. Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
- Bernd, C., 2014. Police Departments Retaliate Against Organized” Cops Watch” Groups Across the US. Retrieved from http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26527-police-departments-retaliate-against-organized-cop-watch-groups-across-the-us September 23, 2016
- Connolly, J., September 2016. Rethinking Police. The PoliceChief Retrieved from http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1667&issue_id=112008#2 September 15, 2016
- Georold, K., 2013. National Tactical Officers Association Calls for Increased Emergency Medical Training for Police. Law Officer. Retrieved from http://lawofficer.com/2013/10/national-tactical-officers-association-calls-for-increased-emergency-medical-training-for-police-officers/ September 21, 2016
- Grossi, D., 2011. Police firearms training: How often should you be shooting? PoliceOne. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/shooting-deaf-man-inadequate-police-training.aspx September 16, 2016
- Singh, K., 2012. Las Vegas Police Department Develops Cultural Awareness Training Program. Law Officer. Retrieved from http://lawofficer.com/2012/01/las-vegas-police-department-develops-cultural-awareness-training-program/ September 21, 2016
- Smith, A., 2016. Fatal Shooting of Deaf Man Raises Concerns About Police Training.
- SHRM. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/shooting-deaf-man-inadequate-police-training.aspx September 13, 2016
- Smoot, R., 2016. Rural Police Officer Training. Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Journal. Retrieved from https://www.fletc.gov/fletc-journal September 14,2016
- Unknown Author, July 2011 Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Training Agencies. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/csllea08.pdfSeptember 14, 2016
- Unknown Author, 2010. Boston Police Department Enhancing Cultures of Integrity and Technical Assistance Guide. COPS. Retrieved September 16, 2016 from http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p184-pub.pdf
- Unknown Author, 2016 International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, Model Minimum State Standards For Post Administration, on the Retrieved from http://www.iadlest.org/standards September 12, 2016.
- Waldman, P., 2014. Expert: U.S. Police Training in Use of Deadly Force Woefully Inadequate. The American Prospect. http://prospect.org/article/expert-us-police-training-use-deadly-force-woefully-inadequate September 23, 2016