Michigan Approves Online Training Academy

By Rebecca D’Armond, Lansing Daily | Mon, 3 Jun 2013

Today in Lansing, the state regulatory commission overseeing law enforcement standards and education confirmed that a Texas academy is authorized provide basic and advanced training for Michigan police and corrections officers.  The state agency Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, referred to as MCOLES manages academy standards and training throughout the state.

Approved to provide instructor-led and online training to Michigan county deputies and city police officers is the OSS Academy® located in Houston, Texas.  A search of records, shows that this agency has been providing classroom training to local Michigan agencies for several years, with state oversight and reporting being processed by their Michigan based instructor.  Now OSS’ Academy has direct reporting access to MCOLES through the agency’s data link.  A review of their academy website www.policetrainingcenter.com revealed that this academy, in addition to their instructor-led training courses, has an extensive library of online police and jail training course offerings.  The average cost appears to be $15.00 for such courses as vehicle pursuit, use of force, jail medical services, and the like.  Officers can take these courses from any internet enabled device.  What is especially interesting about their approach is that information retention rates for students online, using reading and audio/visual skills is four-times greater than the traditional lecture mode of police training.

This innovative approach arrives at an interesting time in Michigan, as Governor Snyder and the Republic controlled legislature grapple this year with a projected state-wide negative balance of $1.85 billion.  Faced with reducing this imbalance, there are diminishing funds for such necessities as officer training, and other critical projects.

Currently, officer training that is MCOLES approved is reimbursed by the state.  The problem appears to be the amount of time and the expense of officers as they are away from the job for days at a time and often at time-and-half pay.  One Lansing area police chief we spoke with said his average compensation cost was $34.45 per hour, and he could save the cost of officer replacement on the road, and overtime costs by using e-learning to meet most of their agency training needs.  A major exception is the annual hands-on firearms training required by MCOLES.