Law enforcement agencies can reduce costs through online training, says educator

By Ashley Bennett, Government Security News | Fri, 2 May 2014

“For the law enforcement industry as a whole, money is tight because the tax bases have decreased significantly throughout the U.S. due to the economic crisis,” said David Salmon II.

Salmon is the training coordinator at the OSS Academy. He has a B.S. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University and over 30 years of experience in security and law enforcement training. As a Persian Gulf War veteran, he also served in military intelligence in the U.S. Army for several years.

Although state requirements can vary, most law enforcement officers are required to complete mandatory, elective, or professional development courses. Many of these courses are exclusively offered in person, but some agencies are beginning to explore online training options or blended courses that include both an instructor led component and online course materials.

Salmon explained that offering online training courses can significantly reduce overtime expenses and training costs for law enforcement agencies. “When an agency hires a trainer for an in-person program they have to not only pay the fee for the training program itself, but also cover the trainer’s transportation and housing expenses to come to the facility. This can easily add up to anywhere from $5K-$9K per course, depending on the trainer. In comparison, our online courses start at $15 per hour.”

He went on to discuss the challenges of scheduling training courses for an entire department. “A police department might have to provide training for officers working three different shifts, which means they would probably have to offer at least two iterations of the course,” he said. “They would also have to pay overtime to their officers to stay after work to complete the training programs in person.”

According to Salmon, law enforcement agencies should keep digital records of their training courses instead of relying on hard copies that can be easily lost. “Anytime there is a lawsuit, training records always come up. There is always a discussion of what type of training took place, when did the officer take the course, what was the content of the course, and did the officer successfully complete the course.”

Despite some reluctance from the law enforcement industry, Salmon is optimistic regarding the future of online training courses in the field. “The industry can be rather slow to evolve, but many agencies are beginning to move in that direction.”

The OSS Academy offers both instructor led and online training programs for law enforcement and correctional officers throughout the country. It has courses on topics such as the use of deadly force, bloodborne pathogens, emergency management, and homeland security.

About OSS Academy

To learn more about OSS Academy® contact our Training Coordinator at 281-288-9190 ext. 205.