Be Prepared for the Next Unknown Crisis

Are you and your department ready for the next crisis?

2020 presented more challenges than any year in recent memory, especially for law enforcement. From controversial arrest encounters and budget cuts, to the multiple challenges presented by COVID-19 and civil unrest throughout the country, police departments nationwide have been confronted with anger, distrust, and skepticism for the better part of a year.

Thousands of police departments were asked to do more with less funding, and 2021 will likely be no different.

There is recognition that doing more with less can only happen through technology as a force multiplier. With that in mind, these increased challenges and scrutiny have paved the way for increased state budgetary and grant considerations for new training solutions. Law enforcement now can reimagine how their police force will move forward—and the training they will need to get there—and savvy departments are currently setting new training goals and outlining the outcomes they want to see, both internally and within their communities.

Increase flexibility with online training management

To make training programs leaner and more responsive, there’s no better place to start than by adopting the use of online technology solutions designed to help with training requirements, officer certification, and data management.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person training inconvenient at best and impossible at worst. With online training, problems like group size limits, social distancing, and reaching greater numbers simultaneously can be handled easily and efficiently.

Online training also allows officers the flexibility of completing their training or certification coursework at their personal convenience, rather than on a fixed schedule. This can be advantageous for both the instructor and class participants.

But even beyond COVID-19, organizations can leverage online training to increase their flexibility and readiness and for unforeseen challenges. The North Carolina Justice Academy (NCJA) did exactly that with their virtual campus, which allowed them to increase their online course completions by 5,000% starting in 2014—well before the pandemic began. With the NCJA’s online training system, students can now view the course catalog, register for classes, access online materials, and retrieve attendance and certificate records without human contact. And NCJA staff have gained a centralized database with on-demand reporting on the training progress of their students, wherever they might be.

Another advantage online training provides is customized training. Online modules can be crafted for individual instruction rather than as a one-size-fits-all training course. For example, officers with less experience in specific areas of law enforcement might be tested in those areas whereas more experienced officers may have different training points to study. This can be a big advantage and timesaver unavailable in a typical classroom situation.

Increase your department’s readiness

Just as reading is essential to mastering the subjects we are later taught, focused and effective training is the foundation of safe and effective policing. And successful training programs and operational preparedness start with organizational readiness.

Police departments need to establish good internal operational components to reach goals and support the officers whose job it is to make those goals happen.

Establishing Your Readiness

One tool a police department can use to measure operational readiness when confronting the next public health or safety crisis is to establish how prepared they will be using the Readiness Maturity Model. The primary purpose of the Readiness Maturity Model is to be a decision framework to gauge a department’s goal of continuous improvement.

Maturity models aren’t new and are used by many companies, industries and organizations. As compared to a Fortune 500 company or a national charitable organization, those involved in law enforcement may modify maturity models for their processes, but the purpose remains the same: to measure organizational maturity, or response effectiveness, across multiple aspects of an organization or department.

There are three types of maturity models and each has a different function:

  • Descriptive: A descriptive model is a self-assessment of where your department is today regarding the current needs to respond quickly and effectively in crisis situations. For example, is your training status quo sufficient to meet an unexpected crisis such as the bombing on Christmas Day in Nashville?
  • Prescriptive: A prescriptive model involves the next step needed to improve your department’s training from beginning to end. How can you improve your people, processes, and performance to meet your optimal state of readiness?
  • Comparative: The comparative model focuses on external and internal benchmarking to measure where your department’s training is compared to others you want to emulate. How did other departments improve their training regimens and what specific steps are you doing to improve yours?

Readiness Maturity Modeling and the tracking it provides is vital. Without metrics, how would you know which parts of your training regimen are working and what parts need improvement?

Improve your processes and be prepared for anything

Law enforcement agencies without an online training management system face the same obstacles: staffing and budget shortfalls, printing materials and storage costs, and an inability to easily access annual training reports and critical reporting data.

These common pain points have been part of police administration DNA for years, and arguably are even more painful now in a time of social distancing and reduced contact.

But effective online training components can make your training process more robust, efficient, and successful whether your police department is located in a metropolitan area, a mid-sized city, or rural countryside.

Law enforcement has learned a lot from the tumultuous events of 2020. Why not apply those learned experiences to improving training regimens in 2021 to better handle future public safety challenges?

Continue learning with these tips on what to consider when moving training online.

Envisage Technologies is a software company developing training and compliance ecosystems for law enforcement such as the Acadis® Readiness Suite, the most comprehensive public safety training and compliance software platform for officer performance management, use-of-force reports and cases, decertification, and analytics.

Posted on Feb 18, 2021