How to meet police training requirements and decrease risk with online learning
Online learning is cost-effective, accessible, and it can help reduce risk and liability in your department
Sponsored by Police1 Academy
By Police1 BrandFocus Staff
With budget cuts and staffing issues plaguing many departments, finding the bandwidth to meet, manage and document required POST or state-mandated training can be an uphill battle. As a response, law enforcement has begun to turn to online learning as an ideal officer training solution.
Training online offers inherent advantages. It’s cost-effective, it’s always available and it’s easy to track and manage. Online learning can also reduce risk.
Here are a few ways your online learning provider should help your department meet its annual training requirements and decrease liability.
1. Online training caters to state requirements
Online learning is customizable. So whether your department needs to adhere to state-specific Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), or internal requirements, you can ensure your program is compliant.
Your online learning provider should work with you to help you meet requirements in your state, regardless of how quickly mandates change. For example, our Police1 Academy Platform is accredited or approved for use in 38 states, and continually adds and updates new courses to be in line with the latest industry standards.
Additionally, many modern online training solutions can deliver content on smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers, making them available anywhere, at any time. Tracking time, even if it’s short bursts during the day— like roll call training—can help your officers reach annual requirements.
In many states, licensed officers must complete a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education, annually, to maintain their license. It can be difficult to accommodate coverage for each officer when you have an understaffed department. Thanks to the accessibility of online learning, departments can increase the number of training hours while reducing the number of hours an officer is absent.
"One of our initial goals was to get our officers to complete our 8 hours of mandatory training online instead of at the academy, which has saved on time and cost tremendously. With Police1, IMPD has saved $100,000 in the past year and doubled our training time average per officer in just months." - Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
2. Online courses can help fill training gaps and decrease liability
It’s likely your department needs to meet a number of specialized training requirements or state mandates. You may currently be on the hook for identifying—and paying for—a range of instructors to conduct multiple, in-person training sessions. Online learning can greatly ease if not eliminate this burden.
An online learning provider with a comprehensive course library can efficiently deliver training for a large number of specialized topics that might prove costly to provide in a classroom setting.
In addition, by offering increased training opportunities, you are reducing liability costs at your department, too—which can take a huge bite out of your department's budget. For example, according to the Boston Globe, the city of Boston has spent more than $36 million to resolve 2,000 legal claims and lawsuits against the Boston Police Department over the past decade.
High-liability categories, which are all offered on the P1A platform, include:
- Use of force
- Responding to emergencies
- Dealing with edged weapons and firearms
- Cultural awareness
- Tactical operations
- Safe Driving
- OSHA and Safety Training
Having access to a broad library of online training courses is a viable solution to help improve officer safety, productivity and performance and decrease risk while staying within budget.
3. Reporting and tracking progress minimizes risk
Maintaining accurate training records is as important as actually taking the required courses. Without proof of course completion and department compliance, one audit or legal issue can completely disrupt your agency.
One of the benefits of online learning is the streamlined electronic record of your department’s training activity. A learning management system (LMS) enables departments to eliminate any makeshift or paper processes currently in use. This improved workflow benefits everyone, from officers to the administration and leadership divisions.
For instance, if an officer is unable to complete training in one sitting, courses can be bookmarked and completed at a later time. Administrators and leaders can easily monitor the progress and the completion of assigned tasks. Then, anyone within the department can easily pull a report for state commissions or authorities in the event of an audit. Digitally organizing and tracking your department’s compliance can also reduce liability in the case of a lawsuit.
4. An online training solution lessens budget and time commitments
Often, police budgets don’t align with the resources and time needed for officers to meet annual training mandates. This becomes a challenge for the Training Lieutenant in command as an officer cannot be on patrol and scheduled for in-person training at the same time. So will your department plan training during work hours? Or will you pay for overtime?
What if some of those training sessions are only available in particular regions in your state and your officers have to travel? Additionally, managing work schedules when officers are away at training adds another layer of complexity.
An online training platform can be the solution to these problems. The flexibility opens the doors to allowing officers to complete training in between calls while on patrol, which cuts overtime costs and keeps your department compliant. Further, it provides administrators with a tangible return on investment from both a time and monetary perspective.
Today’s law enforcement agencies are faced with complex training requirements and need cost-effective ways to ensure personnel is compliant with state standards. An LMS that offers high-quality courses and tracking can meet those needs.
For more information on how online learning can benefit your department, submit a short interest request below or at PoliceOneAcademy.com.