During the past 40 years, video-based training for law enforcement has greatly evolved. Old videos were dry and boring – a “just the facts” presentation. In the ’80s, this began to change.
J.D. “Buck” Savage was a fictional cop created by officer and trainer Dave Smith. The Buck Savage series of videos were humorous demonstrations of what not to do as a cop. No one who survived the police academy in the ’80s or ’90s likely made it through without learning the key Buck Savage phrases, “Watch the hands, rookie” or “Saw drunk, arrested same.”
Buck Savage may have been an example of what not to do, but the videos were attention getting and made officers think about how they handled calls. This was a major step forward for law enforcement video training.
Dash Cam Videos
The ’90s really changed law enforcement video training, as more and more departments were installing cameras in patrol cars. These “dash cam” videos suddenly became a witness to violence against cops and they became a staple in many officer survival courses.
I will never forget sitting in the academy and watching the video of South Carolina Trooper Mark Coates being shot on a traffic stop. That video shook me to the core and it caused me to change my mental approach to law enforcement. On at least one occasion, I know the lessons I learned from that video saved my life.
Now, in the 21st century, distribution is changing video training. No longer do you have to order and wait for a videotape to show up in the mail. You can instantly watch a training video on your computer or smart phone anywhere you have access to the Internet.
The PoliceOne Academy is an online training solution which offers real benefits to departments which want to provide officers with high quality, on demand training; track every officer’s training record; automate annual training requirements;
enhance officer knowledge in a wide range of law enforcement topics; and reduce the time needed to effectively manage a training program.
The PoliceOne Academy takes advantage of the latest technology to provide online, videobased training to police departments. The Academy offers a wide range of video courses and a robust tracking system to ensure that cops get great training and departments can document it.
More than 500 video courses covering more than 40 different topic areas are included in the PoliceOne Academy. Just a few of the topic areas are firearms, defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, narcotics investigations, corrections, K9, pursuit and report writing. With very few exceptions, videos are provided in high-definition (HD) and all new videos currently being produced are in HD.
The PoliceOne Academy training video library includes more than 120 experts from all over the United States. This gives the officers varied perspectives on topics.
Short Format Courses
The majority of the video training in the Academy is presented in a short format course and run from about two minutes to around ten minutes. The course includes a short quiz at the end of each video.
These courses can be used to replace classroom training or as a training supplement. They can be assigned to the entire department, to individuals or set up as roll call training. It is likely that, in even the busiest agencies, an officer can find time to squeeze in a couple of these training videos every week.
I reviewed several dozen of the short format classes and found them to be very good. Like many cops, I gravitate toward the officer survival and shooting classes, but I also forced myself to review some of the other topic areas, including ethics and dispatch communications.
Some of the videos were as short as two minutes, but I found most to be around five minutes which was plenty of time to convey a single idea.
Roll Call Training
Roll call training is very easy with the PoliceOne Academy. The sergeant pulls up the training video, ticks the box next to the officers’ names in a list and plays the video. Once the video is completed, the system automatically records that each of those officers attended the training.
The roll call training courses are the same as the short format videos. The only difference is how your department decides to assign them: individually to an officer or to a group training at roll call.
Including the supervisor led discussion of the training topic, a department can determine each roll call training session to be .25 hours of training. If one new video is shown and discussed each week, an officer will accrue one hour of continuing education each month; in other words, four roll call videos equal one hour of training credit.
Long Format Classes
In addition to the hundreds of short format videos, the PoliceOne Academy offers long format video courses which offer more in-depth training for topics not adequately covered in a shorter format. Long format courses combine video with text and slides for a more interactive experience. To assist with information retention, officers can take notes in the system as the video course is playing.
While participating in a long format course, an officer can stop and leave the program at anytime. When he (or she) returns to the course later, the system will automatically pick up where the officer left off. This is especially handy for officers taking a long format course between calls for service.
According to PoliceOne, the company is continuing to build up the long format course library. In addition to the dozens of long format videos currently available, the company is working to produce additional video classes on crowd management, dynamic search warrants, firearms tactics and more.
Videos are only one part of the PoliceOne Academy. The second, equally important feature is the training management infrastructure.
Rather than reinventing the wheel, the PoliceOne Academy partnered with TargetSolutions, a professional e-learning system in the fire and EMS industries, to provide the back end management and training tracking solutions. This allows PoliceOne to focus on creating law enforcement training and it gives subscribing agencies a proven platform from which to manage the training.
The TargetSolutions management and tracking system is very flexible and offers a lot of capabilities to the training administrator. Once the employee information is added to the system, the administrator can begin making assignments to individual officers, groups of officers or the entire department, merely by checking the appropriate boxes in the management menus.
Officers (or groups of officers) can then be assigned any number of courses with custom start and
“due by” dates. The officer will not see the assigned course until the start date. This allows a trainer to set up any number of classes for an officer without overwhelming the officer taking the training.
For example, the training administrator could set up training for the department ahead of time
when he (or she) is going to be on vacation. Taken even farther, an administrator could set up an entire year’s training program in an afternoon and not have to worry about it until the following year.
The system tracks when an officer completes the training, and it will send reminders to the of-
ficer and notifications to the administrator when training is not completed on time.
Quizzes are presented at the end of each training course to ensure the officer retained the most important points in the video. The administrator can also set the videos to a “no scroll” setting which
prevents an officer from skipping to the end of a video without watching it.
The PoliceOne Academy allows the administrator to set up a custom template for course completion certificates. When the officer completes the training, the certificate is automatically generated and sent to the officer for his (or her) records.
The main system administrator can give other trainers access to various levels of the system, depending on their needs. This allows sergeants to present roll call training, for example.
Other capabilities in the PoliceOne Academy management system include equipment inspection reports; vehicle inspection reports; certification and license tracking/management; incident tracking (pre and post for later analysis); secure forums to allow department members to exchange information within their organization; a bulletin board to disseminate information to all officers; and customization of the system’s look by uploading a department’s logo, etc.
Administrators can upload their own custom training programs into the PoliceOne Academy for department use. This ability would allow department trainers to present a course while being videotaped and then the video can be used for refresher training in the future.
Tests can be created inside the PoliceOne Academy to go with the uploaded video courses. The test creation inside the Academy is SCORM-compliant which is a Web-based instructional standard developed by the US Department of Defense. Additionally, the PoliceOne Academy is designed to work with Articulate software for a more robust, SCORM-compliant testing solution, if desired by the administrator.
The PoliceOne Academy works on any modern Mac- or Windows-based Web browser and is 100% compatible with all mobile devices. Mobile device compatibility includes the popular iPhone and iPad devices which do not use Adobe Flash.
The video serving is provided by Brightcove which allows the video to be streamed to virtually any device without buffering delays. This means the video starts quickly and is not subject to unexpected pauses while the system is downloading the video.
I tested the videos by watching them on a desktop computer with an Ethernet connection, a laptop on a public WiFi spot and using an iPhone with a 3G cellular connection. The videos ran smoothly across all platforms.
Currently, the PoliceOne Academy serves more than 120 public and private agencies and departments of all sizes use it – from rural agencies to major agencies like the Dallas Police Department.
The Police One Academy offers a single solution for both training and training management. The system automates many of the processes, from scheduling training to record keeping to printing course completion certificates. While the videos are high quality and do an excellent job at conveying information, many departments will be interested in the Academy just from its ability to streamline many of the record keeping processes.
This article is a contribution from Police & Security News. P&SN is bi-monthly law enforcement magazine that is packed with training articles and gear reviews for the patrol officer. P&SN is a valued supporter of BlueSheepdog and the Blue Crew. You can obtain a free subscription to the Police & Security News magazine by joining the Blue Crew.