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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Training vs. Proactive Professional Development Through Education

By Thomas Gillan, CLT, CMS, CLC – Director P S U Crisis Management and Training Group, Inc.

 The Police Stress Unit   P S U Frontline Wellness Solutions Phone:  407-497-1465    e-mail:  leotrainer@aol.com


American Law Enforcement Officers must continue to develop their skills after they

graduate from the police academy. The average American law enforcement recruit receives

between 600 to 800 hours (20 weeks) of training at the academy to prepare them for this

noble profession. Some agencies offer excellent educational opportunities, while others

provide only the legally required annual training in such areas as firearms, use of force, first

aid, and legal updates. Either way, the responsibility for growth rests on the individual, not

the agency they work for. Officers must take charge of their own development. They need to

create a plan with short- and long-term goals and then identify and pursue training

opportunities to meet their professional needs.


Every Officer Must Consider the Importance of Professional Development

Law Enforcement Officers will find substantial value in managing their professional development

plan. These personnel will not only enhance their skills buts also enjoy considerable benefits. Today,

Law Enforcement Officers face challenges like never before. Officers are called to answer many

types of 911 calls. Quality instruction presented by experienced interaction instructors can

help them effectively respond to calls, deal with difficult situations, and investigate at a higher skill

level. Each incident that arises brings a new set of circumstances. Interactive training can prepare an

officer for complex and unexpected situations. A recent study on What Students Want:

Characteristics of Effective Instructors found that Respect, Knowledge (Experience), and the ability

to communicate and engage were most important characteristics.


Quality training classes can recharge and energize personnel. A day or a week of training offers a

break from normal duties and affords the opportunity to learn new and improved practices. Many

officers report by to their daily duties much more motivated. This is especially true for classes that

offer universal training. These classes include stress and trauma awareness and wellness, officer

safety, leadership, crisis management, conflict resolution, de-escalation, and serving with honor and

integrity. Officers should seek a variety of educational experiences to increase their overall

knowledge and value.

While attending and participating in such developmental opportunities, officers can build a network

of contacts. At these classes, officers can introduce themselves to colleagues, enjoy building new

relationships over lunch, and exchange contact information. Personnel should follow up, by

connecting via the internet and social media. A patrol sergeant you meet today may direct or own a

security firm in the future. It is who you meet and who you know. Relationships matter.


Officers Need to Develop a Plan of Action

First, make a list of training classes you have attended and then make a list of training classes you are

interested attending. At the beginning of each year, officers should identify any training they wish to

attend in the coming 12 months. Also, officers can check training websites monthly to

assess up-coming class availability. Many colleges and universities offer classes along with local and

regional criminal justice academies. Many private training companies like Training Force USA offer

specialty classes including Investigations Using Cell Phone & Cell Tower Technology, Leadership

Coaching for First Line Supervisors, Managing Generational Differences and Dealing with Problem

Employees, Policing in the 21st Century with Honor and Integrity, Property and Evidence

Management, LEO Report Writing, De-escalation for Officer Safety, Wearing the Badge Behind

Bars, Courtroom Karate, Human Trafficking Awareness for Law Enforcement, and Comm Center

Personnel Wellness: So, You Do not Come Unplugged! FEMA, the Department of Justice, and

many Private Training Companies now offer On-Line Classes on many topics to save time and

money and provide safety in these uncertain times.

Here Are Some Training Pointers:

Training and Funding

Once officers decide on which class opportunities to pursue, they should contact their supervisor

and the agency training department with their requests. If money becomes an obstacle, officers can

offer to pay for the training in exchange for time off with pay to attend a class. Another option

includes departments host training classes. With this the department gets seats at no charge while

attending outside officers pay for the class. Officers can also look to their collective bargaining unit

for assistance. Some departments will build 40 hours of professional development training into the

resulting contract. Considering the importance of continuing education as a long-term investment,

personnel should create ways to set funds aside if necessary. For instance, they can allocate a certain

percentage of income or save earnings from overtime or off-duty work. In some cases, tuition may

be tax deductible.

Another area to look at are industry associations and fraternal organizations. In addition to training,

associations offer opportunities to form professional relationships and increase credibility. Officers

who hold an office or leadership position will find this especially true.



For a successful law enforcement career, officers must take a proactive approach towards their

professional development. They also will enjoy benefits that extend beyond retirement. Many

officers plan on a second occupation and training will help them find retirement/second career

opportunities. Any education with universal value can help prepare those seeking employment

outside of law enforcement. Officers must acquire training related to their immediate goals and

long-term needs.




Perspective:  Proactive Professional Development   by Andrew A. DeMuth     February 11, 2020

How To Pay for Law Enforcement Training   by Staff Writer  www.howtodothings.com/careers

How Police Departments Are Finding Money for Training March 2019 / Equipment & Technology, Training