I love teaching cops.
There are three kinds of training: Feel good training, liability reduction training and useful training.
Feel good training ranges from the lecturer who leaves the students feeling pumped and convinced they are ‘warriors‘ to the hands-on training that makes people feel safer but does nothing to make them safer.
Liability reduction training is for the bosses– they can either go, “Can’t blame us, you were trained. Must be your fault.” Or courses specifically designed to lower liability (like concentrating solely on lower levels of force) regardless of whether the system works.
For useful training, you must know the job and know the people and know your stuff. I’ve taken courses from people who were masters at what they could do and had no idea of the policy or law that we worked under. As such, a third of their stuff was ineffective or impossible to apply and a third would get me brought up on charges. They didn’t know the job.
I’ve seen instructors try to play ‘big man.’ It may work with civilians, it may even work with rookies, but there is no faster way to earn the contempt of a room full of veteran cops than to talk tough. They know a punk when they see one. You teach different people in different ways. Adults vs children; pros vs. interested amateurs. If they don’t listen, you can’t reach them and they learn zip.
And you have to know your stuff. Further, your stuff has to work. Under pressure. Outmatched in size and strength. For the big officers and the small officers.
And there is an element of leadership to training as well. Consistently, good leaders push the power down. Every leader you have ever had that you truly respected trusted you. Told you that you were trusted. And you were given as much responsibility as you could handle. Being loud and aggressive and telling people they are wrong may feel like leadership, but from the outside we all recognize that an insecure prick is not a leader.
Got to play with some good kids (rookies) last night. Loved it. In the rambling conversation with their head instructor afterwards we talked about a lot of these things. Method of teaching, but responsibility as well. When your students are going into harm’s way, teaching is much more like being a father than a professor. These are not underlings, but colleagues worthy of respect. Moreover, someday, on the worst day of your life when you hit the orange button or put out the call, these are the kids that will be coming to save your ass. You are literally training your own rescue party. Look down on them at your own risk.