By Andy Wills

COVID-19 has stressed our local public safety departments’ budgets and people. Public Safety staff are essential and that means they are showing up whenever they are called, no matter what’s going on in our world.

Well guess what, that is stressful… see, all our public safety partners must do their daily jobs with ZERO margin for error. That is on a normal day, and now, dealing with COVID-19 and Civil Unrest, not only are they expected to walk the line day in and day out, but now they’re doing with a heavier weight on their shoulders.

So how do we take care of our employees and keep professionalism and excellence intact while still mitigating the risk of the job?

The answer is training… training, training and more training.

Using Virtual Academy to develop a pathway for public safety to not only meet the mandated yearly training requirements, but giving them the tools needed to surpass the bare minimum and go further. Virtual Academy offers over 250 hours of approved course work along with a suite of features ensure to maximize the agency budget and minimize cost and risk.

Law enforcement mandated training hours are on the rise across the country. Tennessee law enforcement training standards are some of the highest in the country. Requiring a minimum of 40 hours per year for law enforcement in-service, other states such as Missouri (24 hours), Arkansas (24 hours), and Alabama (12 hours) are all well below that threshold. While most agencies surpass the bare minimum every year, those mandated hours for each state are expected to rise.

That amount of training on a department can strain budgets and staff assignments especially when agencies are spending so much on overtime right now and are unable to send officers out for training. Delivering course such as Introduction to Racial Profiling, Community Policing in the 21st Century, De-escalation for Law Enforcement, and Cultural Competency: Racial Profiling/Implicit Bias are key to keeping the professionalism and excellence alive and well.

Our public safety departments deserve the absolute best we can offer. Keeping them in mind every step of the way will produce a safer officer, agency and community.