An economy that is in trouble generally equates to an increased crime rate. Couple this with a reduced budget and less manpower, and that means creative ways are required to address agency training needs. One solution is free training, but it still has to be worthwhile and have value. Knowing where to look for valuable training resources is a necessity. A good way to begin the search is to look at the available resources within the agency or the community. These resources can be human, information-based or material items.
Every agency should have a skills inventory of all agency personnel, from clerical workers to the head of the agency. For example, a self-taught computer expert can train officers how to use the computer as an investigative tool. Officers may have hobbies or part-time businesses, such as dog breeding, which can be used to develop an animal cruelty case. Other officers may have video editing skills, which can be used to edit a training video. The possibilities are endless.
If an agency wants to produce a training video, they may not need to purchase any equipment, as many cable companies allow free governmental access to quality video equipment. They may even offer free technical support. Knowing what’s locally available is the first step.
You may want to consider sharing training resources with other law enforcement agencies. Commander Tim Janowick of the Mount Prospect, IL Police began this process when he spoke with Sergeant John Linden of the nearby Glenview, IL Police at the 2009 International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference in Wheeling, IL.
Janowick stated, “We have met a few times over the last two months and are now laying the groundwork for police agencies to share training resources, such as materials, trainers, classrooms and in-house classes. We will be testing this ‘training mutual aid program’ once all the legal issues, and a few other details, are ironed out. Once this program gets launched, it looks like it is going to grow, and we would be glad to serve as a blueprint for other agencies.”
Another great resource for materials and programs is the federal government. The “free” resources are paid for with tax dollars, so using the federal government as a resource can be considered somewhat of a tax return, since you paid for it.
Marcus Young, a former Ukiah, CA Police Officer and 2003’s NRA Officer of the Year, is a civilian national lecturer for the FBI on Officer Safety and Survival, based on research of the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Report. The FBI LEOKA presentation is eight hours long. The program is offered on a regional basis, free of charge for a minimum of 50 officers.
The hosting agency is required to provide a facility and the technology to support the instructional needs of the course (including adequate room/seating for the student number, an LCD projector, large screen and sound for audio/video), that is, availability permitting.
The presentation provides information on the history and policy relating to the LEOKA Program. The emphasis of the presentation is focused on the final companion study, which was concluded in 2006 and resulted in a publication titled Violent Encounters.
This study examines 40 incidents in which police officers survived life-threatening attacks. Demographic and behavioral descriptors for the victimized officers and the offenders were developed, and the findings and resulting training issues are then presented.
Although Young covers the Western region of the nation, other instructors are available throughout the entire nation. Feel free to contact Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Free Training
“Spanish for Law Enforcement” is an online program designed specifically for police personnel with limited or no previous Spanish training. You can register and begin the course at anytime. You can take up to six months to complete all the lessons and work at your own pace. This course was created to make you “functional” quickly, through grammatical short cuts and communication techniques.
The National Law Enforcement Academy Resource Network (NLEARN) is a free resource for America’s police and sheriff’s academy directors, managers, coordinators and trainers. The mission of NLEARN is to provide a national forum for the sharing of ideas, methods, materials and best practices among the over 700 U.S. training academies identified by the National Census of Law Enforcement Training Academies, conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Employees of public sector police academies may apply for a login account online at the NLEARN Web site. For further information contact Daniel Setzer of the National Law Enforcement Academy Resource Network at email@example.com.
Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT) offers free training CDs, webcasts, videos and other resources on drug investigation and other subjects. Visit their Web site for more information. The Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center (RULETC) provides a number of free CDs on training and operations planning to agencies of 50 officers or less. To see a list of their materials, visit their Web site, and to order, call (866) 787-2553 or e-mail Ruletc1@aol.com.
COPS School Safety CD is free with a call to (800) 421-6770; for more information go to their Web site. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Web site contains come excellent trainer resources. The legal division’s Web site includes the latest case law updates, podcasts and other valuable information. They also publish The Informer, which provides case digests of Federal Circuit Court decisions. FLETC recently completed a 3.5-year compilation of these cases by circuit and subject. You can find out more online.
Other free training resources may exist. Each state has a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) or some equivalent. Some of these may have a training library that will loan A/V material or other resources. There are always public libraries, most of which are into electronic media and usually participate in an interlibrary loan program, so check out their offerings.
Many associations may provide resources to their members. Many states have a state trainers association. National and international associations, such as the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), allow members to access many training resources, from lesson plans to handout material.
Ed Nowicki, a nationally-recognized use of force expert, is a part-time officer for the Twin Lakes, WI Police Department. He presents Use of Force Instructor Certification Courses across the nation and is the executive director of ILEETA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.