Generally, most cops have grown up with computer hardware. A mouse doesn't throw anyone for a loop. However, cops have to learn how to use new software. It changes constantly. The 100+ agency consortium I mentioned earlier: they are on the cusp of deploying a 4th new report writing system in ten years. So far, each attempt has been a miserable flop that the cops had to endure. Wish 'em luck - but their track record isn't very encouraging.
Some software is absolutely wonderful for use on the street: large boxes, labels, fields light brightly on entry. Others, not so much. (ugh) To be sure: software designed for mobile computers is vastly different from the stuff used on desktops. It is deployed, used and trained very differently.
In addition to how the technology works, we MUST TEACH the tactical implications of using it in various settings. That's where our failure is greatest.
Trainers should be required to demonstrate that they are skilled with the technology and its tactical use. We must develop curriculum, standards, course materials and certifications. Our failure has cost us the lives of 5 cops and 1 civilian. There will most certainly be more if changes are not made.
A five minute discussion in the locker room while getting dressed for the shift can no longer be considered acceptable training for technology.
Most of us have been exposed to class offerings from Col. Dave Grossman, Street Survival Seminars, etc. Is there anyone among us who believes that you could send a cop or two off to one of these seminars and then expect those attendees to reliably provide the same experience to everyone else on their return? Of course not. Such a notion would be pure hogwash.
Why then, do we think that we can get away with it when it comes to technology?
Cops use their computers more than anything else at their disposal. They need to know how to make them work. They need to know where it is safe (and more importantly not safe) to use them. They need to be taught specific methods for maintaining situational awareness. They need to learn how to use the computer safely while they are driving.
The training gap, i.e. our failure to properly train is resulting in funerals, losses, and grieving families. We absolutely must begin to provide training that meets the needs, is structured, and holds the instructor accountable for producing students that are both proficient and safe.
It comes down to this simple goal: save just ONE LIFE. Keep just ONE NAME from The Wall in D.C.
It is now the time to take action. YOU can play a role in closing this training gap - TODAY. I am happy to help you save a life. Feel free to contact me by email (click on my name below). I am able to spend some time with you talking cop-to-cop about your specific situation.
I am aware that there are a couple of technology vendors who have stepped up to meet this need. I'm happy to share their identity with you. ASK BEFORE YOU BUY: What will this device or training do to directly improve officer safety?
Any technology that does not directly help in getting us home safely has no place in my car or on my belt.
That's my .02 worth. Your mileage may vary. As always, your comments are both welcome and appreciated.