Training the 21st Century Officer
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Training the 21st Century Officer

By Scott Donaldson, Director of the Collin College Law Enforcement Academy

Scott Donaldson, Director of the Collin College Law Enforcement Academy

People say knowledge is power; however, it is really the application of knowledge which generates power.

Our world and the people living in it are rapidly changing. Today, more than ever, it is critical to provide innovative training to police officers. The current trend in law enforcement education is to move students out of the classroom to apply their knowledge by utilizing reality and scenario-based training.

Dynamic Training Landscapes

Today’s law enforcement cadets can learn in optimal training settings which are designed to be continually changed. A dynamic cityscape, complete with street signs and lamp posts, lends realism to scenarios. Modular walls fabricated to simulate storefronts such as a school, bank, diner, store, and two-story apartment allow cadets and law enforcement personnel to practice countless skills and tactics. Creative building design affords instructors prime viewing options via a catwalk.

One priceless advantage of these trailblazing facilities is that the scenes are continually reconfigured. This allows the training to be life-like. Students never know what will come next.

"Comprehensive training is the cutting-edge answer to retention issues. Students are much better equipped to recall information if they have the opportunity to practice skills repeatedly"

Shooting ranges can also be optimized for elite training. Individual monitoring stations, coupled with a distinctive design which allows 180-degree shooting capability provides unique training options. These modern indoor ranges offer day, night, and red-and-blue strobe light shooting scenarios. In addition, on-site police cars offer students the opportunity to shoot from the vehicle and use the vehicle for cover.

Progressive Training

Historically, law enforcement cadets walked into the same classroom day after day. In that sterile setting, they practiced scenarios with instructors who put their acting skills to the test. Today, students grasp concepts in classes with real-world scenarios ranging from dementia to hostile minors while working with volunteers they have never met. The situation dramatically changes when students work with people they do not know. It brings a whole new realism to the scenario.

Comprehensive training is the cutting-edge answer to retention issues. Students are much better equipped to recall information if they have the opportunity to practice skills repeatedly. Firearms, defensive tactics, and physical training are elements that can be incorporated into each class, starting in the first week. By the time these students reach firearms week, they have already fired live rounds, and instead of learning basic elements, they enhance their proficiency.

Safety with Live Simunition

It is critical for future police officers to train with realistic equipment. With a weight similar to their real-world counterparts, simunition guns allow students to develop muscle memory that will help them when they draw real weapons from their holsters. Simunition guns shoot simunition, or sim rounds, reaching 350 feet per second. The use of this reality-based training with force-on-force options allows for stress inoculation which enhances officers’ training experiences. 

The latest trend in law enforcement incorporates new pedagogy, elite facilities, and cutting-edge equipment. Unique facilities not only train local cadets but also provide paramount training for local and national law enforcement officers, creating a safer environment throughout the nation.

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