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Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

As the POLICE Web editor, Paul Clinton contributes posts about patrol cars, motorcycles, and other police vehicles. He previously wrote about automotive electronics as managing editor of Mobile Electronics. Prior to that, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter.



William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.
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Self Study Gives You the Edge

Don't wait and get dull, keep the edge sharp on your own time.

January 04, 2012  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

Photo: Mark W. Clark
Photo: Mark W. Clark

I recommended a website to an officer recently for suggestions about online training. He told me that if his department wanted him to study a topic, they would send him on their dime and time.

Really, young lad? When does a warrior pass up time to sharpen their edge? Better yet, why would you pass up good, free training? Let's review some points about this.

It seems that most of the officers who don't get promotions are the ones who started preparing for it, when the promotional announcement was posted. You've got to plan for the future for your own benefit. But then again there are also those officers who only go to range when the department sends them. It never hurts to drop a few bucks and work on your pistol craft. This goes for hitting the gym or doing some roadwork; strap on your shoes and hit the pavement. So don't tell me you can't burn some midnight oil and sharpen your most potent weapon of all—your mind.

Every state is different. Some of the chiefs of police associations, training standards councils, and associations have online courses available for their members and staff. Most of these courses are not for certification but rather for member benefit. Don't forget to check the Federal Emergency Management Institute's website for ICS courses.

One of the tenants I've always lived by is that you must be technically and tactically proficient in all aspects of your chosen profession. Waiting for the sergeant to assign you training is not living up to this moniker. Invest in yourself! Don't swing at the softballs either. You know your weaknesses and what you need to work on. If you're not as a sharp as you should be in forensics, do some independent reading. You're only as strong as the weakest chink in your armor.

Don't know where to start? Contact your academy staff for suggested reading or websites to get started. Who do you look up to? Ask for their reading list, I keep some of my best reading material in the office as loaners. If the books are clean and pages fresh, they're not the ones you want. The ones you want have dog-eared pages, are underlined with good points, and have been worn by use.

It's unfortunate that some view training as a necessary evil in their life. Training is more than a bad taste of medicine. For a warrior, it's like the necessary life-sustaining vitamin. You need it and should desire it for your survival.

Set aside some reading time. Bookmark your favorite professional websites (like this one)! Read professional periodicals such as POLICE Magazine. Once you set into a pattern of personal reading time, it's easier to expand it to more articles and online training courses. Before you know it, this will be a part of your mental arsenal. Bad guys beware; you will be dealing with an intelligent warrior who will win the battle!

Tags: Mental Training, Cops Online, Online Education


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

AlbanyGA @ 1/18/2012 7:50 AM

Excellent article and very true! Yes, some departments are lax on training, or when budgets are tight the first item cut is training. If you choose to stay, as long as you are there, you are still primarily responsible to ensure you are able to perform your duties as best as possible to protect yourself, your partner and your community. All of the avenues mentioned in this article will help you do that AND will help prepare you for promotion if that is what you want. If you believe you only get promoted by who you know, or you don't feel valued by your community or your agency because they don't offer enough training, you should probably seek another agency or even another career before you choose to simply remain in untrained limbo. That choice will make you miserable at the very least or get you or someone else killed at worst. I've been at this for over 30 years and the frustrations and disappointments were too numerous to remember, but the rewards have been great and I am still excited about the job. We know you'll meet some people at their worst, but you'll also meet some of the finest people on the planet - and you'll be working shoulder-to-shoulder with many of them. Keep training and learning. Keep the faith and be safe.

Random @ 3/25/2012 2:42 AM

Thank you for the free training.

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