The pandemic. Increased public scrutiny and oversight. Political tensions. Economic concerns. These are just a few of the many challenges faced by today’s law enforcement organizations. Regardless of your particular perspective on the future of law enforcement, no one can deny that this is a transformative time for the public safety industry.
Staffing is also a major problem, with many agencies either understaffed or barely at minimum staffing requirements. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), an independent research organization that focuses on critical issues in policing, stated that the police department staffing shortage is “quite consistent across agency size,” with large and small agencies experiencing similar shortages. A survey they conducted in May 2021 of 194 police agencies nationwide found that during 2020-21, agencies on average experienced a 5% decrease in hiring, with an 18% increase in resignations and a 45% increase in retirements when compared to the previous year.
These trends, combined with the recent increased focus on law enforcement training, has resulted in additional attention being paid to professional development initiatives at agencies around the country.
Ongoing training, or the amount of required time officers spend brushing up on skills like de-escalation and firearms training, is one form of professional development. However, additional training that focuses on career development, leadership training, or other relevant skills that could benefit an officer looking for additional opportunities within law enforcement is just as important.
Beyond ensuring a smooth succession, which is a critical need with so many officers with decades of experience recently retiring, the next generation of officers are looking for more out of their careers. Offering those opportunities is key to ensuring they don’t transition out of law enforcement and into the private sector if a better offer arises.
While an agency may understand the value and importance of supporting professional development, doing so can often be more difficult than expected. Like other fields within public safety, law enforcement is a 24/7, 365-day job and finding time to squeeze in additional training, on top of what is already required by overseeing entities, can be exceedingly difficult. This is true even when agencies aren’t already dealing with challenging staffing shortages.
To help agencies support their officers' professional development and ensure proper documentation, Vector Solutions offers the Vector Learning Management System (LMS), the industry-leading training management system. Built with unique features and functionality to fit the training needs of the public safety industry, it provides one convenient place for everything training-related—from assigning, tracking, and reporting on course completions, to tracking license and compliance requirements, to identifying employee skill gaps.
While Vector LMS offers numerous benefits for ongoing law enforcement training, it can also be a vital tool for ensuring the success of professional development initiatives:
Vector Solutions also offers its own library of training courses, with over 250 courses for law enforcement, including a course on Servant Leadership and recently added courses focusing on improving communication inside and outside the agency.
With Vector LMS, agencies can track, monitor, and generate reports on online training, but what about the training that happens in the field?
That’s where Vector Evaluations+ comes in. As an extension of the Vector LMS platform, Evaluations+ offers a customizable application for managing skill sheets, measuring competencies in key areas, and digitizing in-field evaluations.
Through the app, instructors can fill out evaluation forms, capture a video recording of an individual’s performance, sign off on the evaluation via eSignatures (with multiple eSignatures supported to meet additional supervisory sign-off needs), and then store the assessment in the LMS training management system to keep all training records in one place. Files can then be reviewed, commented on, and reported on—without the time-consuming manual pen-and-paper methods.
By combining the power of the Vector LMS platform with the added benefits of Evaluations+, an agency can record and manage their entire training ecosystem in one place.
Learn more about what Evaluations+ can offer your law enforcement agency by clicking here.
When it comes to officer performance, it’s more often the negatives that are documented than the positives. However, positive recognition is just as important to document, especially for agency morale, performance reviews, promotional opportunities, and retaining your top talent.
Guardian Tracking, an early intervention and performance management system, offers a way for law enforcement agencies to improve agency culture and catch potential officer issues without adding onto the already heavy burden that agency supervisors and leadership carry.
As shared by the Chief of Police at Suwanee Police Department, “Under conventional systems, the bad seems to always get documented and many of the good positive events do not. Guardian seems to level the playing field so that not only negative events get documented, the positive events get documented also.”
By offering consistent feedback, tracking exceptional performance, and referring back to these notes during performance reviews when considering candidates for advancement, agencies can improve employee retention, boost morale, increase job satisfaction, and keep officers interested in furthering their careers within law enforcement.