Being an online training company, we hear all the time how our potential clients totally buy into the need for training, and then they add a “but”. It usually sounds something like “Leah, I totally get the need for training, but it is not mandated for us to take training (or all this training) so how do I convince the (insert authority figure with signature here)? Listen, we get it, public safety professionals are constantly being asked to do more with less. Whether you need an online training solution, a new CAD system or even a new K-9, it is growing increasingly hard for departments large and small to find the extra funding. Even more so when the ask includes something that is not required by the state or the person whom you are asking does not truly understand the value of what you are asking for.
Believing passionately that education builds better communities, we are going to take this time to discuss WHY your folks should be taking as much training as possible, regardless of who you choose as a provider or whether the state requires you to or not.
If you need to get your solution past the dollars and cents people (and who doesn’t?) liability is your friend. Okay maybe not liability but a reduction to liability! Liability becomes an issue after an event that usually resulted in concerns for someone’s safety, injury, death or oversight. News stories abound in the media about police brutality, 9-1-1 calls gone wrong, confusion during active shooter events, etc. Also, what only used to effect large urban areas is increasingly reaching smaller towns throughout the nation. Ask yourself when it comes to training, do you currently have training that reduces the risk of one of your staff having to file a claim? Improper use of force, there is training available for that. Bad 9-1-1 call, there is training for that. Car wreck involving a city vehicle, there is training for that. Go to your insurance provider and show all the risk reducing activities you are implementing with your department to see if you can get your solution subsidized or paid for in its entirety. We have had clients do this with great success! This isn’t just for training, anything you have or are trying to implement to reduce risky behavior can be brought to the insurance agency for review.
The more training you receive the more qualified you are for your position. This drives job satisfaction. Numerous studies have been done connecting training to job satisfaction and the majority of them conclude that if you provide your teams with relevant, up-to-date training they are happier in the roles they play. This leads to better retention. Public safety battles retention issues every day with law enforcement experiencing a 10.8% turnover rate, 9-1-1 ranking higher with 17%, and corrections officers coming in highest with 20% turnover rate nationally. Now many factors contribute to retention including front-line supervisors, high stress environments and much more, but one cannot ignore the role training plays in reducing friction from these variables. Leadership training can assist new managers become better leaders. Training tailored specifically to address stress management can play a big role in public safety personnel. We are finally seeing a trend towards taking care of not only our officers and dispatchers’ physical health but their mental health, as well. Wellness and Resiliency are no longer training add-ons but staples in many organizations. Training can also be used to reinforce information, making trainees more efficient at their jobs.
Recently, the 911 SAVES Act has brought to light the need to truly define professionalism. Becoming a police officer, firefighter, EMT, corrections officer or a telecommunicator is a profession. Just like doctors, teachers and lawyers are required to continue their education to stay on top of best practices and improving standards, so too should our public safety professionals. Building a strong education means building better communities.
An estimated 240 million 9-1-1 calls are made every year. From those calls, the police, EMTs and firefighters are dispatched to the scene. You are there for people on their worst days. Those people deserve your best. While we all have bad days, establishing a consistent training program reduces the risk of those bad days affecting your community. Remedial trainings can be used in instances where mistakes have happened. Roll Call trainings can be used to keep key points and practices at the front of peoples’ minds. Consistent training for your field allows you to be on the top of your game for every call. At Virtual Academy we believe you deserve more. Sometimes that YOU is the person on the other end of a 9-1-1 call, a car wreck or a house fire.
We understand the constraints you have from a budgetary perspective. We hope the key points here help you explain the need for training to the decision makers. The answer cannot always be yes, training may not be a priority for you or your leadership. If this is the case, keep this information in mind for the future. The next time one of these topics comes up, make the case. If you need more information or are interested in partnering with Virtual Academy, please reach out to our sales representatives.
 Wareham, Jennifer & Smith, Brad & Lambert, Eric. (2013). Rates and Patterns of Law Enforcement Turnover: A Research Note. Criminal Justice Policy Review. 26. 10.1177/0887403413514439.
 Taylor, M. J., Gardner, V., & McCombs, B. (2009). Staffing and retention in public safety communication centers: a national study. Denver CO: Univ of Denver Research Institute on behalf of APCO Project RETAINS.
 Matz, Adam K., James B. Wells, Kevin I. Minor, and Earl Angel, “Predictors of Turnover Intention Among Staff in Juvenile Correctional Facilities: The Relevance of Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment,” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Vol. 11, No. 2, April 1, 2013.
 9-1-1 Statistics - National Emergency Number Association. (2019). Nena.org. Retrieved 1 November 2019, from https://www.nena.org/page/911Statistics