Author: Mike Wood

Sponsored by PoliceOne Academy

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Nearly every profession requires continuing education and training to stay current with trends and certification requirements. In law enforcement, this ongoing education is critical to stay abreast of changes in the law, for risk management purposes and to keep officers’ skills sharp in the field.

But training can take a big bite out of an agency’s resources. In addition to the financial burden of paying for trainers, facilities and even travel, in-person courses mean taking officers off the streets for hours at a time, reducing the numbers patrolling your community and creating budgeting and staffing challenges.

Blended learning – combining traditional methods of face-to-face education with online learning – can be an effective option. Online, on-demand training provides flexibility by allowing officers to complete courses when and where it’s convenient for them. This means departments don’t have to manage scheduling for blocks of time and blocks of officers.

Blended learning also offers significant financial benefits. Let’s say your department has 35 sworn officers who are required to spend 40 hours retraining each year. That’s a total of 1,400 working hours per year. If you estimate 25 percent of that training time to require overtime pay for adequate public safety staffing, it’s no small matter.

Further estimate that up to 25 percent of your training requires an outside instructor or travel by your officers – a conservative estimate, especially for smaller agencies – and the overall expenditure adds up quickly.

Here are four ways that adopting online learning can save your agency time and money:

1. Reduce overtime, travel costs

As noted above, training itself is only part of the equation. Travel, covering shifts, paying extra hours while officers are at training and paying for the trainers and resources themselves must all be considered.

Adopting an online platform like PoliceOne Academy that offers hundreds of courses and videos, and the option to create your own, can eliminate travel costs. When the venue is the station, a vehicle in between calls or anywhere else your LEOs spend their down time, facility costs are eliminated, and overtime costs are decreased.

2. Reduce costs for instructors, materials

One way to save money is to do all of your training in-house. But preparing to present training can be time-consuming. Your internal trainers can easily rack up extra time coming in before shift to prepare for training during roll call.

Reusing digital assets, such as videos and online courses, can reduce these preparations, saving the department time and money. Online learning also provides the materials and allows officers to take courses that cover training modules in-house, rather than requiring an off-site or in-person training.

3. Increase training efficiency

Online learning can boost your in-person training by enabling officers to prepare before a classroom session by reading briefings and watching videos so the instructor can get straight to the core material.

An online learning management system can also boost the effectiveness of your daily roll call briefings. Show a short video each day during briefing about a specific incident or a general concept. This can be particularly useful when coupled with relevant agency memos or directives.

4. Increase officer compliance

Each state requires that LEOs meet certain criteria for training and certification. In many states, this means officers must complete a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education to maintain their license. An online training platform can help your officers meet these annual mandates by delivering content in short bursts on a variety of devices.

The final calculation

Law enforcement agencies are increasingly asked to do more with less. An online learning platform can help address the gap between budgets and the need to provide ongoing training to officers. With the 24/7 accessibility of online learning, departments can increase the number of training hours available to officers while reducing the number of hours any officer must be out of the field.

PoliceOne Academy offers more than 250 courses, 1,100 videos and management features to help departments track and comply with requirements. The learning platform is certified as a training provider in 15 states and is accepted for continuing education credits in 23 states. Click here for state-by-state details.

Going back to the 25 percent estimate earlier in this article, assuming that a department of 35 officers spends $60,000 per year on training costs due to overtime, outside instructor and travel, adopting an online platform could mean as much as $15,000 in savings. Contact PoliceOne Academy for a customized look into what your department’s ROI would be by switching to a blended learning platform.

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