Confidence in Training for Law Enforcement Leadership. What is the Missing Element?

Confidence in Training for Law Enforcement Leadership. What is the Missing Element?
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-11-04
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Confidence in Training
Unit 2 Transcript: Confidence in Training
Unit 3 Workbook: Confidence in Training
Unit 4 Recording: Confidence in Training for Law Enforcement Leadership

The issue of training and its efficacy has been brought up in an attempt to address the use of force issues law enforcement has encountered in the not-so-distant past. This webinar aims to explore the challenges that the law enforcement profession is experiencing in the intersection of training and use of force and ideas to address these.

Leading the discussion is Dr. Shawn Williams. He is currently an assistant professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where he runs the Professional Peace Officer Education program. He has 17 years of police officer experience serving in various roles including SWAT officer and lead trainer. He led the use of force training at Minnesota’s largest SKILLS training facility.

Points he tackled in this session are:

  • Questions that those in law enforcement ought to reflect on in terms of proficiencies and the training required to be confident in specific capabilities.
  • The value of officers demonstrating confidence and proficiency in their jobs to be able to secure public safety and the different lenses in which we view training.
  • A glimpse into a few job announcements from agencies in different regions across the US and the apparent disparity in the duties of a law enforcement officer amongst these.
  • The two things that a law enforcement officer does every shift, and the lack of training provided for these specific areas.
  • The concept of teaching confidence first before even teaching the skill.
  • How hands-on use of force and martial arts training influences officers’ confidence and self-efficacy.
  • The perishable quality of firearms and hands-on use of force techniques and instruction.
  • Issues stemming from leadership that impacts the hands-on use of force training.
    • Failure to train due to liability issues.
    • Ineffective training driven by leaders’ sentiment on training which is then reflected in the workforce.
    • Lack of insights from leaders on which specific topics to train in and how the officers must be trained.
    • Not enough resources allocated to training.
    • Lack of mastery due to the absence of good and intensive practice and insufficient time dedicated to training.
    • Inability to integrate effective training styles and methodology.
  • Challenges posed by state standards on hands-on use of force training.
    • The varying state standards on mandated training, hours of training, and training practices.
    • The need for a science-based approach to learning and education.
  • Nuances that exist across different communities that hinder hands-on use of force training.
    • The knowledge gap and lack of mechanism to understand the communities’ expectations in terms of the training of the officers serving them.
    • The different stakeholders that have a say on what gets to be included as part of training.
  • Ideas to consider in hands-on use of force training.
    • Defining reasonableness and the things that need to be addressed in hands-on interaction.
    • Getting law enforcement instructors to take the time to advance their knowledge and take educational courses on adult learning principles.
    • Reviewing the agency’s training practices and aligning it with what officers actually deal with daily.
  • The missing piece: The honesty to recognize the challenges in terms of hands-on use of force training and taking the steps to have the conversation and action plan on how to best address it.

Questions and comments from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Who’s actually responsible in training.
  • How the reactivity of officers to uncertainty and uncomfortable situations impact their receptiveness to training.
  • The disconnect between practices taught in the Academy and the application and reinforcement of these practices in the field.
  • Reluctance to hands-on training due to liability issues and potential training injuries.


Audience Comments

  • “Everything was helpful and knowledgeable.” — Chantel
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed this webinar and providing key points to consider with regards to my organization.” — Marcella
  • “Mr. Williams was a passionate and sincere instructor. I can’t wait for this webinar to become archived so I can encourage our Command staff to watch it. Very well done, THANK YOU for your information and time!” — Ruth
  • “I really liked the mix of survey data, self-assessment, and questions for the community on the use of force.” — Christopher
  • “Dr. Shawn was great. Please bring him back. I could talk with him for hours on improving training and skill development and retention. Loved the question method as it requires looking inside before looking outward.” — Thomas
  • “All of the concepts he discussed. His presentation style is fantastic. He doesn’t tell you what to think, but he causes you to think. — Great presentation. One of your best.” — Virginia
  • “Being involved in training and accreditation, this was very informative and the resource page helpful.” — Tracy
  • The entire Webinar was well put together.” — Allen


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