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!