Miami-Dade Police Department Chooses Adobe Systems Inc.
Miami-Dade County has a total population of more than 2.3 million and encompasses more than 2,000 square miles. As the largest metropolitan area in Florida, Miami-Dade County is home to 34 municipalities and one of the largest unincorporated areas in the country. The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) oversees and protects this vast area, and relies on its Metropolitan Police Institute Training Bureau to deliver cuttingedge training that is customizable to its unique environment and needs.
Internationally acclaimed for its law enforcement expertise, MDPD offers a large number of classroom-based training courses to uphold the quality and education of its 4,600 officers and staff. Coupled with courses offered to other law enforcement agencies, classroom space was becoming scarce, and on any given day, it was not uncommon to find the Training Bureau's 12 classrooms filled. In the existing system, officers were marked "unavailable" while at an on-site training, and thus, unable to respond in the event of an emergency. The department was looking for a way to increase the flexibility of its training program and allow officers to attend training sessions while remaining available to respond to an incident. The department also needed to find a way to quickly deliver courses based on emergency response-related government mandates.
The first priority was Incident Command System (ICS) training. ICS is a state-based, standardized system for coordinating emergency management efforts in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Incident Management System (NIMS) mandate. MDPD established its ICS in 2003 and the on-site classroom training for the new system proved to be difficult given command staff's busy schedules and limited classroom availability. The Training Bureau wanted to create a learning environment that could successfully blend on-site classroom courses, online training and field application exercises.
After a three-month case study trial of several web-based training systems, the MDPD Training Bureau purchased Macromedia Breeze 4.1 in March 2005, and upgraded to Breeze 5.0 shortly thereafter.
Breeze was selected to accommodate the immediate need for online ICS training and serve as the solution for future online training. A key factor in the selection process was that Breeze seamlessly integrates with the department's existing infrastructure, which includes 6,000 computer systems across nine police stations, one headquarter, a training facility and administrative complexes. The solution also fit the department's interactive training style and is intuitive and easy for instructors and personnel to use.
Benefits to Users
To initiate its online training function, the Training Bureau used Breeze to create an "Introduction to the Incident Command System" course. The in-depth and lengthy course provided the foundation for higherlevel ICS training, described the system's history, features, principles and organizational structure and expanded on the relationship between ICS and the NIMS.
With Breeze, the Training Bureau was able to transform original ICS learning materials (including more than 100 pages of learning content) into a highly engaging online training course everyone in the department can access instantly. The new, web-based training program integrates 27 instructional videos, the department's own digital photography and narrated multimedia courses using Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations. Additionally, with Breeze, the department was able to easily incorporate video with critical, timely content from DHS into the online course.
Breeze has given the Training Bureau a fast and efficient means to develop content and train commanders without the constraints of classroom availability. Officers are now able to complete trainings from their desks during their work shifts. This flexibility benefits the department with increased officer availability, since the loss of man-hours due to daylong training events is minimized. Because the classes are selfpaced, if an officer needs to break away to respond to an incident, they can simply resume training during slower periods. Additionally, there will be a long-term cost reduction in overtime pay for the county since much of the officer's training can now occur during work hours.
Due in large part to the Breeze-based ICS training, MDPD's Training Bureau has experienced an expanded interest in participation and contribution to web-based training programs department wide. And, because officers are now able to take courses from their desks and eventually their police cruisers, they are more likely to partake in a wide variety of course offerings. The online training program also creates an opportunity for all qualified officers and staff to become instructors. This contributes to professional development and improves the department’s knowledge base as more information can be shared from varying officer experiences.
Looking forward, the Training Bureau plans to expand the online program to include mandatory courses and first responder training. MDPD is also eager to take advantage of Breeze's ability to measure training comprehension through surveys and quizzes that will integrate directly into its course material.
"We know that online learning is the future for us," says Holtz. "Breeze forever changed the way we do training on the day we rolled it out."
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