If you feel like you never have enough time for training, maybe the problem is that you’re not thinking small enough.
“We tend to think in terms of blocks that are a full day or week long,” says Brian Willis, deputy executive director of ILEETA and president of the independent training organization Winning Mind Training.
“Instead, you can make every day a training day by devoting just 10 minutes of your time each day to professional improvement.
“Just 10 minutes a day, four days a week, 48 days a year and you end up with 32 hours of extra training you wouldn’t otherwise have had.”
Your daily dose can be on your own, with a partner, with your squad, or at roll call, Willis says, and the possibilities of what can be instilled in 10-minute bites are almost endless.
• Rehearse and reinforce a particular street skills, such as handcuffing, drawing your weapon, practicing take-downs;
• Review departmental use-of-force policy so you can clearly articulate it from memory if you’re challenged for some action you’ve taken;
• Keep up with case law by reading a recent court decision in your jurisdiction;
• Contemplate a real or imagined tactical situation and plan how you would respond to it;
• Brush up on tactics for building clearing, traffic stops, active shooter response, and other types of potentially dicey calls;
• Take a dash-cam video and identify the various decision points in the interaction. “For 10 minutes at a time, you can discuss each decision point with other officers,” Willis suggests. “Focus on elements of the law, communication, and human behavior, as well as tactics and the use of force. These can be great opportunities to clarify everyone’s thinking.
“There’s literally nothing that’s taught in recruit academy or in-service training that can’t be practiced on your own, mentally or physically, and often in small chunks and with little or no equipment. The payoff can be huge.
“Just training once or twice a year for several hours just isn’t sufficient. Skills are perishable if they’re not practiced. But anyone can carve out 10 minutes a day to keep sharp.
“No one would expect a pro football team to practice just once a year and still win the Super Bowl. Daily devotion is even more important for us than for athletes, because the consequence of not being prepared when we need to be is considerably greater.”