Checkbox Training

Checkbox Training

We have all been there. The training that everyone is mandated to attend. No one is really sure why it’s necessary. Heck, even the instructors question the need for it. But, deep down we all know why we were there – because there was a box to be checked.

Checkbox training – we’ve all attended it. If we were to be honest with ourselves many of us have delivered some. It’s certainly nothing to be proud of but it is sometimes necessary. State mandates, departmental policy, etc. sometimes dictates some information be provided to agency employees.

But, let’s be very clear, training should be about influencing, improving, or changing behavior. People should perform better as a result of training that is provided. Truth be told, we simply do not have the resources – time, money, or motivation – to waste them on meaningless, ineffective programs.

One of the most common topics added to the law enforcement training regimen over the past several years is implicit bias training. In the aftermath of Ferguson, many states made implicit bias a mandatory training topic for law enforcement.

Except, no one bothered to see if this training would change behavior. Not to mention that no one troubled themselves to see if there actually was a widespread problem either but that’s another blog. Because even the experts say there is nothing that shows such training changes behavior.

The New York City Police Department spent $5.5 million to provide implicit bias training for all of their officers. A recently completed study showed that the training did increase awareness of implicit bias. However, the same study found that the training did not change the behavior of those who attended. Nothing changed. Despite these results, the curriculum developer continues to defend the training as effective.

The law enforcement profession is truly at a crossroads right now. There isn’t a single member of this group of brave women and men who believe that there isn’t room for improvement. So, let’s get about the business of improving it – with training that actually works. Training that makes our officers better and safer. They deserve it.

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