10 truths of police training
PoliceOne Columnist Richard Fairburn’s excellent piece titled 10 truths of police leadership inspired me ponder what “truths” police trainers need to think about
Last week, my fellow PoliceOne Columnist Richard Fairburn wrote an excellent piece titled 10 truths of police leadership.
I sent it to many of my friends, posted it on Facebook and Twitter, and printed it out to hang in my office.
In fact, it inspired me ponder what “truths” police trainers need to think about, so with gratitude to my fellow trainer Fairburn, here are my “10 truths of police training.”
1.) Training isn’t about the teacher, it’s about the student.
Reevaluate your training continuously. Are you striving toward your goals and completing your objectives or just doing drills, biding time? Are you staying current, working hard to innovate? Minimize the war stories and make sure they have a training point. Above all, check your ego at the door; it’s not your classroom, it’s theirs.
2.) Your job is to change behavior, not judge people.
If they are not SWAT material and don’t run marathons. Your job is to make them want to improve and give them the tools and knowledge to be successful. Consider your worst student your own personal challenge to improve your skills as a trainer and motivator.
3.) A good trainer is ethical.
There’s no excuse for this in our profession, but unfortunately it’s not uncommon. Be honest, be ethical.
4.) A trainer who has nothing left to learn needs to retire.
The best trainers are always students first.
5.) You can’t substitute talent with technology.
As soon at the emergency lighting came back on, he continued talking — no videos, no computer, no microphone. The only thing he did was raise his voice slightly. He had them laughing and crying — as usual…and they gave him a thundering standing ovation. It wasn’t until that day that I understood what he had been telling me for years: “Computers are great but a real trainer should have the same impact without the technology.”
6.) No man (or woman) is a prophet in their own land.
People may be threatened by your talent or success, or they may be envious, and envy is a powerful thing.
What can you do? You can either keep trying to push your agency to accept you as a trainer, or you can learn to let it go; it’s your decision. Just remember, the department doesn’t “owe you” the privilege of training your peers, you have to earn it, and you probably have to earn it “their way,” at least in the beginning.
7.) You can’t replace information with laughs.
The training principle behind the JD Buck Savage officer survival videos was to help officers retain the training points through humor. Yes, it’s fun to laugh, but it’s much better to laugh and learn.
8.) Training your peers is a privilege.
Check your attitude and your behavior, watch your language, and make sure your information is accurate and timely. Train safe and avoid artifacts (are you still shooting at the seven, fifteen and twenty-five yard line without cover?) And if you feel the need to put other people down to enhance your own training, you need some serious self-reflection.
9.) Ask for help, but do your own work.
We brought another instructor into our cadre last year. She’s talented and funny, has a great resume and outstanding experience. But what sealed the deal is when I asked her if she was interested in working with us, and she didn’t ask for anything other than advice.
She did her own research, developed her own program, sought out feedback (and took it to heart) and made continual improvements. Ask to be mentored, seek out trainers you admire or enjoy, but don’t expect an intellectual handout.
10.) Give credit where credit is due.
We should all be trainers with the same basic goal, to improve this profession and keep each other healthy, successful, and above all, safe!
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