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Goal-Oriented Training

For effective instruction you need to follow a focused plan that incorporates specific short-term and long-term goals.

May 20, 2011  |  by Amaury Murgado - Also by this author


Each objective is a part of the whole, one step toward completing the goal. The objective is also a succinct statement describing what you want to accomplish. But whereas the goal is more of a broad statement, each objective needs to detail a specific part of that overall task. Let's add some objectives to the goals stated earlier to further clarify the examples:

Example 1

Goal: The student will demonstrate the three basic blocks used in police

Objective 1: The student will demonstrate the use of the high block in a combatives situation where an assailant throws a strike to the area above the student's shoulders.

Objective 2: The student will demonstrate the use of the middle block in a combatives situation where an assailant throws a strike to the area between the student's shoulders and waist.

Objective 3: The student will demonstrate the use of the low block in a combatives situation where an assailant throws a strike to the area between the student's waist and middle thigh.

Example 2

Goal: The student will demonstrate how to write a basic police narrative.

Objective 1: The student will use the police style of writing by following the writing sequence of how he got the call, what was said, what he saw, and what he did.

Objective 2: The student will use the journalistic approach by answering who, what, when, where, why, and how questions in the narrative.

Objective 3: The student will write three hand-written reports and three reports written on her computer for evaluation and critique.

As you can see, goals and objectives go hand in hand when establishing any type of training. You can't have one without the other. Using goal-oriented training is the compass you need to keep going in the right direction.

Executing Short-Term and Long-Term Plans

Planning training doesn't end with goals and objectives; that's just the beginning. After you've established these guidelines, you need to create a lesson plan to tie them all together. The lesson plan further details the "how to do it" part of your training. It explains how to accomplish each objective; gives administrative instructions including the location, conditions, uniform, and equipment; and sets the tone for instruction so that each instructor is teaching the same core material. It is imperative that all instructors maintain consistency throughout. The war stories can change but the core material can't. Even if you are conducting training for the lowest common dominator, it has to fit both immediate and long-term goals.

In addition to immediate goals, you need to look at training your section for at least 12 months out in advance (roll call training, table top exercises, spot policy quizzes, etc.). If you are in charge of training for your entire agency, I suggest you accomplish long-term goals by creating a one-, three-, and five-year training plan. 

Regardless of what management level you work at, the training questions will always remain the same: What is it you want your officers to accomplish and what are the steps needed to for you to get them there?

Best of Intentions

You can always tell who makes the training decisions in your agency. If it's someone whose main focus isn't effective techniques, it shows. Even if you're not the person in charge, make an effort to prevent certain misguided people from derailing a good training plan.

You can smell a bean counter or non-trainer a mile away. The bean counter emphasizes using the same free training that hasn't changed in 20 years because for this person it's a funding issue. On the other hand, the non-trainer makes decisions based on politics. According to this type of person, training should be about busy work or the bare bones minimum to meet requirements for state standards or accreditation.

The third type you have to watch out for are the Gadget Bobs of your agency. They value having the newest and best above everything else. They spend precious time and money in an effort to always change things for what they believe is the next best thing. Why are you buying something new if the old one is working fine? Worse, if you are always changing things and have no long-term goals, no one ever retains anything. All the pretty gadgets and expensive training will get you nowhere if no one remembers it a month later.

That's the purpose of following a well thought out one-, three-, and five-year training plan that focuses on training essentials. It is much better to be proficient at five things than just familiar with 20.

Much to my agency's credit, we have been following our focused training plan and we can see the results in our yearly block training and bi-monthly firearms range work. In our case, the end has justified the beginning.

Amaury Murgado is a retired Army Reserve Master Sergeant with more than 30 years of experience in martial arts. He currently serves as the Special Operations Lieutenant for the Osceola County Sheriff's Office in Kissimmee, Florida.

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Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Robert @ 6/14/2011 4:18 PM

Excellent! I have taught at the police academy and I have also always drifted back to Patrol after numerous assignments and promotions. Leadership and back to basics perspectives were foundations that helped me traverse through the politics, bean counting, and gadjets to want to help my peers and great subordinates do what they came to do. Be the Best and be proud of being that person who will protect. Thank you for your article. I am from a PD of 1,750 officers in a Central Town in Texas. But I have admired agencies as big as Chicago and as small as 10 Officer agencies.

DaveSAM25G @ 6/16/2011 9:48 PM

Well Done! Behind every gadget is the needed and required human interaction necessary to accomplish the mission, just like you cannot have auto-pilot families or children - and the same applies to Law Enforcement one-on-one is best!

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