FEATURED IN TRAINING
- 10th-Anniversary Conference Shines Brighter than Ever
- Pro Tips for the Firing Line, Part II
- ASIS International to Host Transitioning Program & Luncheon for Law Enforcement & Military Professionals
- 5 Reasons Not to Miss ILEETA Conference 2013
- Less-Lethal Lessons
- Through the Darkness
- NRA's Law Enforcement Division: A Great Resource
If you’ve ever struggled while sawing a large piece of wood, you’ll understand the significance of keeping the saw sharp. Once the edge is lost, the work becomes more difficult, takes longer and the potential for injury is increased.
Periodically sharpening the saw, even though you must stop the primary task, means the job will get done in less time overall, with less effort and with minimal risk of injury caused by an unexpected bucking of the saw blade. In his book, Seven Secrets of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey emphasized sharpening the saw as essential to effectiveness.
Although training sometimes involves learning a new skill, it often serves to sharpen the saw--making you more effective and decreasing risk of injury or death.
We all know the basics of officer safety and the five tenets of Below 100: 1) Wear your belt. 2) Wear your vest. 3) Watch your speed. 4) W.I.N.—What’s Important Now? and 5) Remember: Complacency kills! These are common sense, but a dedicated training session refocuses and sharpens essential skills while providing an opportunity to learn from others.
Time and again, I’ve heard people at Below 100 presentations say some version of: “This is stuff we should already be doing but it really gets me back on track to hear it presented like this.” In other words, we all sometimes lose our edge and it’s important to periodically renew it.
Regrettably, training has taken a hard hit due to shrinking budgets. Time and again, I hear about training programs being reduced or eliminated altogether. And just as impacting—staffing often doesn’t permit sending people away for training. Over time, this is like working with a dull saw—it’s ineffective and potentially dangerous. Officer safety, driving and weapons handling are perishable skills. When they’re not maintained, they take on the aspects of an unsharpened saw.
It’s easy to complain about a lack of funding and shortsighted administrators but that’s not productive. Instead, find a solution! Suggestions: 1) On a rotating basis, assign training responsibility to officers for presentation at roll call. Regularly doing 7.5 minute training segments results in 25 hours of training per year, not to mention the skills built by officers that provide the training.
2) Look for no cost training. It is out there! Thousands have received Below 100 training and it’s free. FLETC, LEOKA and similar groups provide free training, often bringing it to you but you have to ask.
3) Bring in community leaders or professionals with specific expertise. Many are glad to help and it builds alliances.
4) During slow times (like early morning hours or big holidays), practice crime-in-progress responses or hot-stops and do constructive critique afterwards. Important: Have a safety officer and don’t compromise on weapons protocol!
5) Partner with other agencies to share trainers with different skills. And here’s a value added extra: If there’s fee based training out there that your agency could benefit from, call up the company and offer to host a class. Often they’ll trade a couple of free spots in a class if you provide a venue and help with logistics.
Bottom line: Training is not an option. Make it a priority and you’ll get it done.