by Sgt. Chuck Humes

Ask yourself: Is my current level of training as good as, better than or inferior to what’s being utilized across the country? Everyone would like to believe that the training provided to him or her is state of the art. After all, your life and the lives of those you protect depend upon it. But the million-dollar question that everyone should ask themselves in regards to assessing the quality of their own training is: “How do I know?” What have you compared it to? Unless you’re exposed to outside training to compare your own to, how can you possibly know if the training you are receiving is as good as you’ve been led to believe?

When law enforcement agencies (or any organization) remain secluded from other outside resources, it creates a form of unconscious incompetence that I call training incest. Seriously, there really is a reason you shouldn’t marry your sibling and have children. It’s the same reason agencies need to be exposed to extramural training genes (i.e., outside principles, concepts, techniques, methodologies and training drills).

When an agency retains and secludes the same in-house training “genes” passed down from generation to generation of training officers, you can end up with training that’s the human equivalent of the supporting cast of Deliverance. With no new ideas, concepts or tactics ever entering the picture, you’ll get less than optimal results. Isolated agency’s training officers will pass on the same techniques and principles they were taught. Doing so in a robotic fashion that rarely, if ever, reaches the training standard that they could achieve with exposure to different perspectives and fresh ideas. Law enforcement training has some incredibly talented people, but no one knows everything about any particular aspect. However, by sharing our collective knowledge, we can keep the training “gene pool” from stagnating.

For some individual officers that read this, you might be stuck in a fishbowl of inbred, stagnated training, and have never even thought about it until now. Such inbreeding is created by agencies that seclude themselves from the training gene pool. In such a case, it’s up to you to climb out and see if there isn’t a better, (particularly if that means safer) way to perform different aspects of your job.