Creating effective multiple-agency training programs
One way to create an effective multiple-agency training program is to follow a training model that is not technique driven, but concept driven
By Tony Lambraia
There are many challenges facing agencies, academies and professional training organizations (PTOs) when tasked with implementing multiple agency training.
Developing a training program or curriculum that is suitable for multi-jurisdictional operations and academies serving multiple agencies can be daunting without an integrated plan.
Training concepts must transcend an individual agency’s approach or protocol to be useful for multiple departments.
For example, unlike SWAT or ERT members, many uniform patrol officers don’t always know who their partners will be in advance of a critical incident like an active shooter event. If we teach officers concepts and principles, along with widely accepted industry best practices, they will be more likely to operate cohesively with other officers and teams.
Verbal and hand signal communications can vary agency to agency. Some agencies instruct officers, when re-loading, to take a knee and yell “red, red,” to communicate to their partner or team that their weapon is down.
Obviously, this is important communication. However, if you are on an active shooter call and working with several different agencies and yell “red” and take a knee, someone unfamiliar with this cue may trip on the officer or worse misread the cue, causing confusion among the group.
It’s also advised that officers use plain language on the radio during joint operations to avoid confusion and misinterpretations during joint tasks.
Tactical Training Needs to Be Less Restrictive
These diverse ranks forced us to constantly develop best common practices and concepts without teaching too many technique-specific tactics.
Do not misunderstand the principles here: we must teach techniques and tactics. However, teachings must be adaptable and fluid as to not hinder cross-jurisdictional operations.
Tips for Creating Valuable Joint Training Programs
1.) Select your topic for discussion such as tactics or arrest techniques — let’s say tactics.
So gather subject matter experts (SME’s) from your area. This will help to strengthen your training program. Having a good moderator also helps.
I would encourage all law enforcement professionals to implement concept driven programs versus technique-specific programs. Officers retain and perform better when they are given the latitude to make a technique work based on concepts. Many instructors are programmed to control every movement of their students. But we must remember that we all have different skill/experience levels, as well as physical differences
Concept Training Examples
An example of technique driven training would be a specific type of wrist grab or joint manipulation that requires precise placement of the hands and pressure (rehearsed fine motor skills). Concept driven might include securing your gun back into your holster and driving forward with your own violent counter-attack (taking the fight to him.)
In concept driven training, we advise to strike in whatever way presented that feels natural.
Design your program based on the common teaching points, best common practices and foundational skills and your training will be successful and increase officer survivability.
Be safe and train hard!
About Tony Lambraia
Lambraia’s Department of Homeland Security assignments include program manager and co-developer of the FLETC 220-acre Counterterrorism Operations Training Facility. He is an original charter member responsible for developing DHS’s use of force policy. He held multiple titles while at FLETC, including: commander of DHS-FLETC active shooter response team/special response team member, tactical oversight board member, and developer/branch chief of the Tactics Branch responsible for all tactics delivered to students who train at the FLETC. His local law enforcement assignments included SWAT team, detective undercover vice/narcotics, lead defensive tactics instructor, use of force instructor and more.
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