As every aspect of contemporary law enforcement moves fast-forward into the Age of the RoboCop, training remains mired in the past — a fact that, if not corrected to meet today’s budget and liability realities, will soon threaten the readiness of America’s law enforcement professionals, according to Bradley J. Naples, President & CEO of The Response Network, creator of the law enforcement community’s only 100% online in-service training portal, PoliceCommunity.net.
"From command centers to the inside of the patrol car, every aspect of contemporary law enforcement is being transformed by the latest advances in 21st Century technology," Naples said today. "And yet, for some reason, we remain firmly anchored in the early 20th Century when it comes to providing our law enforcement professionals with in-service training that is cost-effective, consistent from officer to officer, and based on the very best subject matter experts. This is starting to change, thanks in part to the enormous pressures budget cuts are placing on agencies, posts and departments, all of whom must find viable new ways to deliver more and more training, more and more cost effectively.”
The answer to the community’s needs lies with the Internet, according to Naples. “The vast majority of today’s officers have been raised on the Internet and are very Internet centric in virtually every other part of their lives,” he asserted. “As an educational delivery vehicle, the Internet is a proven, robust, secure and reliable platform. It is the perfect way to deliver training courses, creatively and cost-effectively.”
According to Naples, a large number of law enforcement professionals are already utilizing the Internet to achieve their general education goals, as is witnessed by the explosive growth in for-profit online universities. “The same goals and objectives can be achieved for in-service training and that’s what PoliceCommunity.net is designed to deliver — superior quality in-service training courses that are as engaging as they are educational.”
It is becoming clear, Naples explained, that online education and training is actually a more effective method than in-person face-to-face training, where individual performance isn’t as easy to measure. For law enforcement, where a day of face-to-face training seminars means a day an officer is off the streets, online on-demand training makes even more sense, giving departments the flexibility to deploy the officers if needed rather than be shorthanded while also paying for travel costs to attend an in-person training session.
Naples believes it is only a matter of time before every commanding officer in the nation sees the value of online in-service training. “The climate in law enforcement today consists of smaller budgets, more technology, and more young officers who grew up on the Internet and mobile technology. Some senior law enforcement professionals remain skeptical of the value of online in-service training simply because it is new and they are used to paying for seminars and travel costs, and they think good training has to be expensive. But the new reality clearly demonstrates that, through the Internet, training doesn’t have to be expensive anymore.
“To break the acceptance barrier, online training must incorporate appropriate elements from Hollywood and the gaming industry,” Naples asserted. “It must engage, connect with, motivate and make officers passionate about their field. With our customizable and specialized courses, we provide law enforcement officers an exciting, accurate training experience. And best of all, because our program is available anywhere, anytime, it can actually make officers want to learn.”
PoliceCommunity.net currently offers nine general subject domain courses representing more than 50 hours of in-service training, with three more courses scheduled to come online before the end of this calendar year, and an additional ten courses now in-progress.
All of the general courses can be customized to meet the needs of each subscriber, from major city agencies to rural law enforcement POSTS, and integrated with all local policies and directives. No other online training solution provides for this complete integration of national subjects with local directives in a solution that can be administered and tracked by the subscribing agency. The portal is available to law enforcement officers for an annual subscription of $74.95.
Over the last year large and small law enforcement agencies have endorsed the PoliceCommunity.net training concept including the Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan Police Department, the Virginia Beach, Virginia Police Department, the Newport News, Virginia Police Department, the Jacksonville, Florida Sheriff's Office, the Saint Augustine, Florida Police Department, the Saint John's Sheriff's Department, the Clayton, Ohio Police Department, the Park Ridge, Illinois Police Department, the Aberdeen, South Dakota Police Department, Ocean City, Delaware Police Department, the Story County Sheriff's Department in Ames, Iowa, and the Lincoln, New Hampshire Police Department, among others.
The Response Network’s training programs are endorsed by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP), Brit Insurance, The FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Association of Public Safety-Communications Professionals (APCO).