Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to attend a number of advanced and specialized training classes away from my agency. While you might say that such training is a “vacation” from real work, I have always found that they increase my productivity and appreciation for my own department.
External training courses have three benefits:
- instruction on new information and skills;
- a different perspective on skills and information already possessed; and
- networking with other law enforcement professionals.
Introduction to New Information
Training classes should introduce he student to new information and skills that he or she can then apply on the street. With the new knowledge, the officer will be more confident in whatever area of law enforcement the class covered, meaning the officer will make better cases, and actually enjoy the job more.
New Perspectives on Old Information
Often, an officer will be exposed to information that he or she already knows. However, an instructor at an outside agency or academy will frequently bring a fresh look at the problem. This means the officer will have the chance to expand their thinking, allowing them the option to take a different approach the next time they need that knowledge in a case.
When training at an external school, the officer will have the chance to meet other cops from other jurisdictions. The other officers will frequently offer even more perspectives and information to the class, meaning the attendees have the chance to pick up even more “tools” for use when they return to their department.
Networking also allows students to establish contacts that they may be able to draw upon during a future investigation. For example, in a recent class, I had the chance to meet a gang investigator in a nearby county. If I was to discover some gang activity that may be coming from members in that jurisdiction, I have that officer’s cell phone that I could call for help in my case immediately.
I find that these three things combine to create a strong desire to get back to work and employ what I learned. In addition to making better cases, I’ve seen a higher level of productivity in myself and other officers after returning from a external school. If you can, get to an external school. You can learn a lot, and find a little more satisfaction in your job.