By: Andy Wills

With countries across the world and some major cities in the U.S. going back into a lockdown/semi-lockdown situation, public safety agencies will soon be pivoting back to online solutions for conducting large portions of training, policy, and roll call needs.

Here’s the top 5 things we learned the first time that will help you make a smooth transition.

1. Knowledge is Power – Knowing where your department is in the training cycle is essential right now. Almost every single state in the US has kept their training standards in place, and a lot of them have made even more mandates for 2021. Check with your state POST or accrediting body to ensure you know what mandates look like for 2021.

2. Getting started – If your department doesn’t have an online solution, when you’re shopping around, make sure the solution covers a few basic criteria such as pre-approved courses in your state, course builder for department courses, policy management, up-to-date classes (this isn’t 2002 anymore), and most importantly REPORTING. Make sure all the information and work that your officers are doing will get to your state POST in a smooth, effective manner.

3. Develop a plan – When you are laying out your agency training calendar for the year, you should have a solid mix of in-person, online or remote learning, and firearms training. Knowing your mandates is one piece of the pie but satisfying accreditation standards and city mandates are another. When you have questions about our content, you can work with your dedicated Virtual Academy Partner Support Rep to see which classes work best for your agency.

4. Assessments – When your agency is forced to pivot in one way or another, testing can become an issue. Training is essential, and part of that process is testing knowledge. We found during the first lockdown that agencies can move much of the standardized testing to the Virtual Academy online pool converter. This has a large advantage for admin because once the tests are uploaded, then they can be assigned and graded in the platform. This is going to help your training division not only manage the training process but get a better scope of understanding on how the training is being perceived and interpreted.

5. Software that DELIVERS! – When you're executing your new awesome plan, you want the most bang for your buck. Make sure that when you’re shopping around you get the most value. This does not mean just the provider with the cheapest price. You are going to want more than an “off the shelf” product for your agency. Pick something that not only fits your needs but delivers real value on the back end. Look for a dedicated partner support rep, 24/7 technical support for ALL users, software enhancements that are included in your purchase, and customizable solutions for your department.

Honestly, I could go on for days about this topic, but I’ll stop there. If you want to know more, just email me at [email protected]

Above all, be safe,

Andy from the Virtual Academy Family