Sponsored by LexisNexis Risk Solutions
By Barry Reynolds for Police1 BrandFocus
One of the most important and vital tasks for any law enforcement agency is the training and field evaluation of new recruit officers. An efficient and effective field training system not only puts recruit officers in the best position for success, it also minimizes the possibility of poor or negligent retention and may decrease the likelihood of agency liability due to training or documentation mistakes.
As field training systems and processes have improved over the years, agencies have developed their training systems to match new approaches in training philosophies and to adopt legally defensible evaluation methods. Although the use of specific field training and evaluation programs varies by agency and region, the ultimate goal, as with all contemporary training programs, is to deliver high-quality service to the community in the safest and most efficient manner possible while ensuring that agency policies and procedures are met.
Beyond Paper, Pencil and Binders
Yet, despite all of the advances in training systems and evolving research on training adult learners in the law enforcement profession, most field training systems still feature a training officer, a three-ring binder and a clipboard full of daily observations reports.
Even in the digital age, the most prevalent means of documenting and reviewing training progress is still the cumbersome and decades-old paper-and pencil-method. It follows then that even the best field training programs are susceptible to the failings of an illegible or misplaced daily observation report.
The LexisNexis Law Enforcement Automated Personnel System, or LEAPS, is changing the way that recruit training and evaluations are documented to make officer training more efficient and more effective.
Help FTOs Monitor Training Progress
LEAPS, designed in conjunction with field training officers, is a fully automated, computer-based training and performance documentation system that can be easily configured to incorporate your current field training forms and structure, eliminating the need to alter your existing FTO program.
Using an intuitive and user-friendly interface, this completely paperless system is accessible from any internet-enabled device and can be used to document training and record officer performance as it happens, including from the front passenger seat of a squad car.
The system even generates reminders and exception reports to prompt completion of training requirements or indicate performance problems or deficiencies. The program virtually ensures that a specific training topic or task won’t slip through the cracks or need to be duplicated because the documentation of training could not be found.
Once configured with agency-specific training tasks, scoring criteria and observation reports, the LEAPS platform is accessed through a training “dashboard” that provides the training officer with an instant update on a recruit’s training progress, task completion and an overall evaluation of performance to date. LEAPS also makes it easy for agencies to substitute trainers on the fly when needed.
LEAPS features an integrated CAD interface, which allows FTOs to look up each day’s activities for more accurate and detailed reporting in the daily observation report, as well as a day and night mode for the dashboard to reduce eyestrain and enhance officer safety after dark.
Automated for Accountability
Best of all, LEAPS enables command staff and administrators to monitor training progress through each of the stages of the training program and ensures that all training requirements and documentation are completed on time and in accordance with agency policies.
The system can generate alerts when tasks or evaluations are overdue and also utilizes a configurable early-warning system to notify command staff of potential problems or performance deficiencies before they become unmanageable. This enhanced level of accountability safeguards the training process and helps trainers stay on task and remain focused on the progress of their trainees.
Cloud-based Access and Storage
Because the LEAPS platform is hosted by LexisNexis on dedicated servers, no additional infrastructure investments are required. Agencies can retain ownership and control over their records, and LexisNexis has implemented appropriate safeguards to protect against unauthorized access or intrusion.
In addition to field training records, the system can store information such as employee profiles, photos, tests scores and full training records for any position within the agency that requires specialized training. Programmed alerts and notifications, analytical tools, summary reports and archived record retrieval are immediately available to all authorized users.
Field training and evaluation systems are too important to entrust to the faults of an out-of-date and mistake-prone documentation system. In these days of doing more with less, LEAPS can automate and streamline your field training process, mitigate risks associated with negligent training or performance documentation, and help your training units focus more on training and less on organizing and tracking their documents.
About the Author
Barry Reynolds has over 35 years of experience in the police profession, including 31 years in municipal law enforcement. He is a leadership author and instructor, and owner of Police Leadership Resources LLC, which provides leadership training and consulting to law enforcement agencies. Barry previously served as a senior training officer and the coordinator for career development programs for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Training and Standards Bureau. Barry holds a master of science degree in management and is a certified leadership instructor.