While executives identified the need for some types of training, such as active shooter training or other scenario-based training, additional training can be hindered by resource and time constraints. Anticipating this potential issue, the executives were asked to identify the level of challenge posed by different potential inhibitors to providing department-wide officer safety training as a (1) low challenge, (2) moderate challenge, or (3) high challenge.

Perceived Levels of Challenge to Conducting Department-Wide Officer Safety Training

Limited ability to pull officers from daily duties
Limited resources to pay officers OT for training
Funding to conduct department-wide training
Limited time within the current allotment
Sufficient number of trainers
Equipment for training
Facilities to conduct training
Identifying quality training programs
Resistance to training

1 = Low Challenge      2 = Moderate Challenge      3 = High Challenge

  • Analysis:

    Overall, the limited ability to pull officers from their daily duties due to workload demands (i.e. shift coverage) was identified as the most significant challenge, with almost half of executives identifying this issue as a major challenge, and 33% identifying it as a moderate challenge. An alternative to pulling officers off the street for training is to pay officers overtime to participate in training before or after shifts or on a day off. However, having limited resources to pay for overtime was identified by the executives as the second biggest challenge. The order of these challenges was similar across region and agency type, but some differences were observed across agency size. For example, the smallest agencies (1-24 sworn personnel) were more likely to report not having facilities, equipment, enough trainers, and not enough funding for department-wide training as moderate or high challenges.

Executives were also asked about preferred formats for providing officer safety training, where the executive could respond with a score ranging from 1 (low preference) to 5 (high preference).

Level of Preference for Different Officer Safety Training Formats

Classroom lecture
Classroom Interactive
Virtual reality

1 = Low Preference, 5 = High Preference

  • Analysis:

    The highest preference was for scenario-based training, followed by virtual reality. Executives showed a relatively low preference for online and classroom lecture formats for officer safety training. The pattern of response from the executives was similar across agency size, region, and type.

Section III Takeaway:

In light of the challenges agencies face in delivering training in preferred training formats, there is a need for engaging officer safety training approaches that will mitigate the significant challenge of not being able to pull officers out of the field for extended periods of time.