Training by definition is a learning process that involves the acquisition of knowledge, sharpening of skills, concepts, rules, changing attitudes and behavior to enhance the performance of employees. I say this because it is clear that Community Policing will continue to be central to the future of policing during the Twenty First Century.
We all recognize that the main resource for delivering services is people. Therefore I will evaluate the current training model and make the necessary adjustments as needed. Careful consideration must be given to the skills that are necessary to carry out the policing function. Since law enforcement agencies do not control the educational system, they do not have the ability to impact the educational system of those we hire. We must, therefore, deal with those that come to us based on their previous educational backgrounds.
My view of training is that it must be restricted to provide deputies with a foundation that will allow them to utilize inherent intelligence. Deputy Sheriff’s should be conditioned by their training to think. In fact law enforcement would be better served if officers were allowed to raise issues and suggest improved ways of doing things. Officers should not be discouraged from thinking coherently about better ways to deliver services and resolve neighborhood problems.
The ability to think coherently is something that can be taught in the sheriff’s academy. As an example, in law school lawyers are taught to think coherently. If deputies are trained in a manner that prepares them to use their intelligence and creativity, it would also provide them with the skills that are necessary to function better as problem solvers. This would also broaden their perspectives on life and their views of society.
There needs to be a change in the academy training process because today’s deputies find themselves in an unusual position. If a deputy is college educated they are given a liberal education. They are trained to think for themselves. They are taught to be aware and to analyze what is going on around them. They are trained to form their own opinions based on their prior learning and objective evaluations. Their position is unusual because when they enter the field of law enforcement, they are told not to get themselves involved in community activities. As I was told, you are a deputy sheriff 24 hours a day. I think it is time to loosen that thinking.
I think a part of training should be presented as a concept of being an activist for the community. If we train deputies in the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to be activist for the community, they would be revolutionaries of the activist concept. We would be taking a giant step into the future. In fact activism for the community and the people they serve must be a role that law enforcement in the Twenty First Century must adopt. I feel they should become ombudsmen tor communities. They should be community activists, knowledgeable and skilled in getting things done. For that to happen, policing in the Twenty First Century in San Bernardino County must include training on an ongoing basis as an integral part of career development. Effective training is critical not only at the entry level, but also on the supervisory and management levels.