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Lynne Doucette

Lynne Doucette

Lt. Lynne D. Doucette is a patrol supervisor and defensive tactics trainer with the Brunswick (Maine) PD. Prior to being the first female promoted at BPD, she worked as an undercover detective assigned to the state narcotics task force.



Patricia Teinert

Patricia Teinert

Patricia A. Teinert has been a Texas peace officer since 1984. She has served as a patrol officer, investigator, and member of a juvenile gang and narcotics task force. She is currently a patrol officer with Katy ISD Police Department.
Women in Law Enforcement

Conventional Training Fails Today's Officers

Law enforcement training doesn't always take into account the dynamic individuals who arrive at the academy.

August 17, 2011  |  by Sandy Jo MacArthur - Also by this author

Photo: Paul Clinton.
Photo: Paul Clinton.

It's a complex topic, but I believe conventional police training fails many recruits, including females.

First of all, the old style of training ignores the fact that recruits are arguably the cream of the crop, after passing all the tests and background to get the job offer. They come in all sizes, and have the skills and valuable experiences for policing. Conventional training, like military boot camp, almost always assumes recruits know nothing, have few skills and must be built from the ground up. This way of thinking is unfortunate and relatively ineffective.

Conventional training doesn't recognize that people come in all sizes with varied learning styles. Forget for a moment about the question of how this impacts females; our current generation of young officers are tech-savvy and very visual.

Conventional training doesn't address this reality. To meet the needs of multiple learners, conventional training needs to shift.

Agencies need to involve the learner in their education. Tap into their previous life experiences, so they connect new information to the old and build on it. It's important that we make training interactive and challenging. The classroom must be a good interactive learning environment.

Look at the Royal Mounted Canadian Police Academy or the Los Angeles Police Department Academy. You'll find a sharp focus on fitness, discipline and providing an interactive and positive learning environment in the classroom. These agencies no longer take a one-size fits all approach to learning, which positively impacts the women who go through the academy.

Women generally do have a disadvantage in conventional training environments, because the one-size-fits-all approach is set up for the 6-foot-tall male recruit. This can create a problem for many women.

The LAPD now ensures the weapons we issue fit the person. We hit all learning styles. And we understand people come in various heights. Additionally, we value the experiences of our recruits who have done so much to get into the academy. This philosophy gives them the best chance to graduate from the academy.

It's a new century, and time for law enforcement training to take on a new look.

Related: One-Size-Fits-All Training

Tags: Training Academies, Customizing Equipment


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Mark Tarte @ 8/19/2011 11:07 AM

This is a good article and it is very true about updating education and training. However, though officers come in all sizes, shapes and colors they will be facing the same advesaries on the street and there no one cares who the cop is. That cop, who ever they are, man or woman, bir or small, better be prepared properly and thoroughly, or all of the innovated training techniques will be for naught.

Tom @ 8/21/2011 7:57 AM

The author states that people come in all sizes and have the skills and valuable experiences for policing. From my experiences from almost 30 years in LE, I would say this is false. The reality of police work is that it can and most likely will be a violent and stressful vocation. There are standards for strength and shooting ability etc. so that the officer can survive, he or she can effectively back up another officer and carry their own weight. A midget might be able to write a great report, shoot like
Wyatt Earp, be a great interviewer but fail when it comes to effectively
dealing with bar fights or other physical demands. Lowering the standards to fit the recruit is not doing them a favor, their fellow officers or the public and will likely subject them to situations that they can not handle.

A Borth @ 11/11/2011 8:21 PM

Tom, I think you are getting the wrong idea on this. The article is talking about tailoring training not standards. Tailoring training might mean training a shorter person a different way to climb a wall or take down an attacker though they are still required to take the same wall and attacker and are able to because of the training.

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