Advances in training

     Last month, the cover of our issue erroneously showcased a tactical officer with his finger on the trigger, instead of outside of it. Though you cannot tell whether or not the weapon is loaded, the image portrays an unsafe action. While I thank all of our readers who took the time to make us aware of our oversight, and greatly apologize for the error, the mishap got me thinking about the issue of training.

     When our editorial team does something wrong, such as selecting an unsafe image for the cover, it rightly generates a flurry of e-mails from a concerned readership. But when an officer makes a mistake in the field, he may pay a far higher price. This fact underscores the need to keep law enforcement's ranks as trained as humanly possible.

     Unfortunately, whenever the topic of training is discussed, two issues seem to arise. One, it seems there is never enough money to provide the training officers need. When organized by shifts and operating on limited manpower to save overtime pay, it's admittedly pretty tough to find the time and money to provide all the training officers require. Secondly, there seems to be a "what's in it for me" attitude regarding training, with supervisors bemoaning the fact that many officers won't take training unless they receive some kind of credit for it.

     A sheriff's deputy's shooting rampage in Crandon, Wisconsin; the case of Drew Peterson, a cop who allegedly killed his wife; and the case of Bobby Cutts Jr., an officer who admitted to killing his pregnant girlfriend; have turned a scrutinizing public eye toward law enforcement's hiring and training practices. The prudent administrator realizes the training his department offers will be more closely examined by others than it's ever been in the past as a result of these cases.

     Just as I had to ask myself how our cover photo selection process might be altered to avoid such a mishap in the future, the wise police administrator should be doing the same in regard to officer training. Ask yourself: What is the state of training in your department? Does it need a revamp? And if it does, how will you get it to where it needs to be? While our editorial team might avoid future oversights with a new process, advancing officer training in your department might just save a life.

Editorial Advisory Board

Chief Frank Sleeter
Sun Prairie (Wisconsin)
Police Department

Chief Donna Waters
Raleigh-Durham Airport Police

Chief Felix Moran
Stillanguamish Tribal Police

Chief Tom Casady
Lincoln (Nebraska) Police
Department Armorer and Weapons Trainer

Erik Gelhaus
Sonoma County (California)
Sheriff's Department

Sgt. Alan Green
Los Angeles Police Department

Sgt. Randy McPherron
Anchorage Unit of the Alaska
Bureau of Investigations

Warden Evelyn Seifert
Northern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
(West Virginia)