Economics of Policing: Summary Report of the Police Education and Learning Summit

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ISBN: 978-1-100-23096-2

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

On September 17 and 18, 2013, the Economics of Policing: Police Education and Learning Summit brought together, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, more than one hundred representatives from approximately thirty Canadian police services, the three national police associations, federal and provincial representatives, as well as academic organizations to examine efficiencies in police training. Co-hosted by Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN), this event was structured around the broader 'economics of policing' dialogue while specifically focussing on issues related to police training.

The economics of policing is not simply about reducing the cost of policing in Canada but ensuring existing resources are used efficiently and effectively. Police training is fundamental to ensure police officers have the knowledge, skills and tools to reduce crime and disorder in our communities. Police training must be cost efficient, relevant and delivered in an effective manner. The policing community must work collaboratively and in a forward thinking fashion to ensure police training meets its objectives, including taking advantage of innovative training methods and new technologies.

Led by facilitator Norm Taylor, the Summit agenda was structured in an interactive, discussion-based format in order to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To understand learning needs and opportunities for Canadian police services;
  2. To learn about technology-enhanced training and other innovative learning solutions from industry experts including academia and private and public sector trainer specialists; and
  3. To prioritize training needs, current and future, for the Canadian police sector.

The focus of the discussions was organized around the following three themes: Cost of Police Training; Landscape of Canadian Police Training; and Competencies in Police Training.  

Cost of Police Training

The cost of police training in Canada is poorly understood and is not tracked consistently across policing services. As such, there is a need to determine the total cost of police training in Canada and to demonstrate if that training is delivered in a cost effective and efficient manner. What is evident is there are other factors that impact the cost of police training that need to be considered. These secondary factors include: backfilling positions and overtime when an officer needs to attend training. In addition, a cost analysis of police training must take into consideration the effectiveness of the various styles of training, particularly the use of technology and e-learning, which have demonstrated a potential for cost savings.

A fulsome understanding of the cost of police training and collaboration among trainers could inform the identification of best practices and allow for the development of national training guidelines that are adaptable to jurisdictional needs. True collaboration between parties can exist when mutually accepted rules, memoranda of understanding, and strong and equitable governance frameworks are established. An evidence-based approach to police training would demonstrate to senior policing officials and other executives the importance of training and the need for prioritizing these resources.

Landscape of Canadian Police Training

The landscape of Canadian police training is one of technology and collaboration. The use of technology is bringing a new dimension to police training. We are seeing more trainers incorporating e-learning, blended learning and simulations into existing curriculum, and police learners are receptive to change. In a time of change, what appears to be lacking is collaboration among police trainers, and with outside training experts. Countries like Australia have broken through these barriers and are employing technology-based innovative training on a service-wide scale. This approach is now the standard practice to both operational and developmental learning. We are seeing progress in Canada and training is being delivered in the following innovative ways:

  1. Work is being done with e-learning specialists like CPKN, to develop electronic learning portals that can deliver the same training to many police services;
  2. Regional training centres have modified their training to be in line with local police services; and
  3. Capitalizing on the experience and knowledge of academics to develop and deliver evidence-based training in-house to new recruits and in service officers.

In order to identify best practices and continue to develop training that is innovative and technological, police trainers and services must engage with academia and be open to change. Universities and colleges can also be a partner in exploring academic accreditation for police training in the future.

Competencies in Police Training

The next generation of police learning may be more structured around competencies. Police competencies are a useful tool to identify core policing activities and a measure of the effectiveness of police training. Competencies also clarify demands on learning providers by identifying national benchmarks for police training, and efficient succession planning and leadership development. These are essential components in developing a well-trained, professional police service. Competencies can also be useful in the recruiting and promotional process, particularly when introduced at the beginning of a police officer's career. This provides officers with clarity around their responsibilities and what is required for advancement in the service. Competencies should be incorporated into current human resource practices even if it means drastically changing the structure of policing in Canada.

Future Training Needs

In the future, police trainers will need to fully embrace technology, e-learning and even more innovative education and learning styles and techniques.  There is a need to determine the baseline costing for police training in Canada so that police trainers can identify opportunities for cost savings through the use of technology.  Better collaboration between police services and training experts will support the development of national guidelines for police training. A true understanding of today's landscape of police education and learning, and an openness to innovative approaches, will shape the future of police education and learning in Canada.   

2. Purpose of the Report

This report records the proceedings and outcomes of the Economics of Policing: Police Education and Learning Summit that took place on September 17-18, 2013, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The report includes summaries of panel presentations, the keynote address, group discussions, and outlines the key themes identified throughout the course of the Summit.

The views expressed herein are those of the participants at the Summit and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada or the CPKN.

3. Purpose of the Summit

Education and learning are key factors in developing a professional police service and ensuring that officers have the right skills and competencies to deal with operational and community needs. Enhancing police knowledge and approaches is a priority under Public Safety Canada's Economics of Policing initiatives and CPKN plays a leading role in the advancement of technology-enhanced learning models in the Canadian police community.

The Summit brought together police leaders, training experts, frontline officers, academics, and industry representatives to explore and identify learning needs and priorities for Canadian police.  Together, we looked at what and how police officers learn and if current approaches are conducive to today's social, operational and technical environments.

The objectives of this two-day Summit were:

4. Summary of Presentations and Discussions

On September 17-18, 2013, Public Safety Canada and CPKN partnered to bring together 100 participants from various police services across the country, provincial representatives, police board members, frontline officers and union representatives to discuss police education and learning in the context of the Economics of Policing. As police services strive to be more efficient and effective, they must consider how they deliver all of their services including how they educate and train their officers.

The means by which training is administered is also part of the discourse. It is without a doubt that technology has changed the way society interacts and communicates, so it is no surprise that technology plays a large role in how officers are educated and trained.

The Economics of Policing: Police Education and Learning Summit was structured around theme-based discussions which focused primarily on presentations by individuals from the police training sector. These individuals 'set the stage' for broader group discussions by sharing their organizational initiatives, experience, and perspectives. The discussions over the two days focused on the cost of police training, how we educate police and how officers learn, as well as the role that technology can play in transforming training and the associated costs. The following is a summary of facts, ideas, and questions raised by the presenters. To view the full presentations, click on the active links below.

The following presentations provided context to the agenda, outlined the Economics of Policing issue, and laid the foundation for the Summit discussions.

Setting the Stage:  Training and the Economics of Policing

Opening Remarks
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs opened the Summit on behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Honourable Minister Julian Fantino opened the Summit by commending all in the room for coming together to discuss the important issue of police training. Minister Fantino stated that the Economics of Policing is not about eliminating certain activities in order to reduce budget line items but rather it is about finding more effective and innovative ways for the policing community to work together to address criminality and disorder, both now and for the future. He made note that the Government of Canada is committed to the Economics of Policing initiatives that will address these issues by fostering strong partnerships, effective communication, relevant research, and better information-sharing. Two of the initiatives mentioned by the Minister include the:

Minister Fantino emphasized that the most essential and fundamental aspect of the Economics of Policing is police training. As a result, there is a need to look at the true costs of police training and how police services are using technology to improve the delivery of training across the country. The Minister challenged all Summit participants to delve into this, and other training issues, to begin transforming how training is delivered to police across Canada.     

Minister Fantino informed Summit participants that, in support of the Economics of Policing initiatives, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety will be meeting this fall to discuss the Shared Forward Agenda; a strategy for the future of policing in Canada. FPT Ministers will examine activities under the Agenda that will guide the policing community toward efficient, sustainable, and effective policing in Canada.

Economics of Policing
Mark Potter, Director General, Policing Policy Directorate, Public Safety Canada

Mark Potter's presentation focused on the Economics of Policing and emphasized the need for a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing policing in Canada. He noted that the Economics of Policing is about the efficiency and effectiveness of policing and public safety more broadly, including areas like police training and education. Mr. Potter also mentioned that to better understand the changes in policing costs we must understand the context in which police are carrying out their duties. The world of policing has changed; officers are dealing with individuals who suffer from addictions and mental illness and police face new crimes and challenges such as cyber-crime and terrorism. In addition, the Canadian public is increasingly engaged on issues related to policing and aware of the increasingly diverse and complex nature of police work.

Mr. Potter provided an overview of policing in Canada, noting that one of the greatest challenges facing policing today is that both the cost and the number of police officers continue to increase while, at the same time, the reported crime rate and the crime severity index continue to decline. In 2012, Canada employed just under 70,000 sworn police officers and just over 28,000 civilian staff. In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that the total cost of policing in Canada was $12.9 billion or $375 per Canadian.
Since 1997, the cost of policing in Canada has more than doubled, outpacing the increase in spending by all levels of government. The average salary for police personnel alone has increased by an average of 40% since 2000 while the salary for all employed Canadians has increased on average by 11% in the same time period. In the face of such increases in police expenditures, the reported crime rate continues its downward trend, dropping 3% between 2011 and 2012, reaching its lowest level since 1972. The crime severity index also dropped in 2012 for the ninth consecutive year. In addition, recent polling indicates the majority of Canadians feel satisfied with their personal safety.

In order to address these issues, including the increase in police expenditures, Mr. Potter indicated that we must move forward in a focused and collaborative way on actions to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of policing and public safety in Canada. Governments and the policing community are already pursuing opportunities to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of policing through:

Mr. Potter informed participants that in the fall of 2013, Public Safety Canada will be seeking approval from FPT Ministers on a Shared Forward Agenda as a collective first step in shaping the future of policing in Canada. The goals of the Agenda are to:

  1. Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in Canada;
  2. Encourage learning, innovation and the application of best practices; and
  3. Contribute to improved public safety outcomes and social well-being.

Mr. Potter indicated that the Shared Forward Agenda outlines both early actions, ready for implementation following approval by FPT Ministers, and actions that require further consideration and consultation in the areas of research, information-sharing, efficiencies within police services, new models of community safety and efficiencies within the justice system. In order to implement these actions, Public Safety Canada will continue to collaborate with other governments, police services and stakeholders to flesh-out and implement the strategy.

Building Bridges: Lessons Learned about Training, Technology, and Collaboration
Sandy Sweet, President, Canadian Police Knowledge Network

Sandy Sweet outlined the benefits of collaboration in police training and how technology is transforming the industry. He also noted that factors such as changing demographics, technology, and economic realities all contribute to the need to change our approach to police training. Technology-enhanced learning has long been recognized as an efficient and effective means to train frontline officers. Evidence-based research and case studies also support the value of online and blended learning.

Mr. Sweet noted that a policing culture that resists new methods of police training remains the single largest barrier to building a national inventory of training resources. Mr. Sweet estimates that approximately $1 billion is spent annually on police training in Canada. With more collaboration and integration of training resources, as much as $300 million might be saved and could be reallocated to other areas of police operations.

Theme 1:  The Cost of Policing

Police Training Practices and Costs: What are the Essential Questions?

Through research and case studies, presenters outlined current police training practices, the known and national estimates on police training costs. Presenters also identified what information is needed to ensure police training is efficient and effective in the future.

Cost of Police Education and Learning in Canada
Rachel Huggins, Manager, Policing Policy and Coordination, Public Safety Canada

Rachel Huggins presented an overview of the available data on the cost of police training in Canada and suggested potential cost savings related to innovative education and learning approaches. Ms. Huggins indicated that there is a lack of information available regarding the true cost of police training in Canada. At this time, only a handful of case studies are able to quantify the cost of police training, however two of these case studies were able to demonstrate a cost savings potential through the use of online education.

National-level data on police training costs is required in order to determine:

Such data would not only provide a complete picture of the amount police services spend on training in Canada but would allow for cost comparisons between training delivery methods, including in-class versus online training, as well as demonstrate associated training costs.

Cost of Policing - Calgary Police Service
Roger Chaffin, Deputy Chief, Calgary Police Service

Deputy Chief Roger Chaffin provided an overview of the Calgary Police Service's (CPS) training costs, in-house training program, and what information is needed to ensure future CPS training is effective. Deputy Chief Chaffin noted that the CPS training budget accounts for approximately 3.5% or $10 million of the overall operating budget. The budget supports the Service's in-house and external training, including recruit training, Canadian Police College courses, university courses, conferences and executive development programs.

The Deputy Chief acknowledged that CPS has come a long way in its use of technology and is looking to future innovative techniques such as gaming and learning. The Service sees the benefits of in-house training and has developed the Chief Crowfoot Learning Centre to provide officers with on-site access to scenario/case-based and blended training. Officers also have access to a self-directed, online, 24/7 e-learning portal. He noted that this approach has been a tremendous success for the Service, with a high user rate as officers can access training on their own time.

Deputy Chief Chaffin noted that in order for CPS to ensure future training is effective and efficiently delivered, the following must be considered:

  1. The costs associated with taking police officers off the street for training;
  2. The effectiveness of various styles of training; and
  3. How critical thinking, reflective practice and engagement with learners can be incorporated into training.

The Deputy Chief went on to provide an overview of how e-learning is being used and where CPS wants to take training in the future, including collaborating with training partners and the further incorporation of technology into training (e.g. use of iPads and gaming).

Changing the Training Paradigm: Always applicable, but unique to each agency
Brent Shea, Deputy Chief, London Police Service

Deputy Chief Brent Shea discussed how the London Police Service (LPS) came to embrace e-learning. Senior management was initially opposed to the implementation of e-learning until, in 2008, the Ontario Police College was able to demonstrate significant cost savings using blended learning. He noted that blended learning accounted for an annual savings of $19,670 for the General Investigation Training Course and $23,973 for the Advanced Patrol Training Course. Today, LPS recognizes not only the economic efficiency of e-learning but the learning benefits that are being achieved.

LPS now has an annual line item in the budget for e-learning and is taking advantage of other innovative approaches to support officer training including a course re-imbursement program for self-initiated learning, a 24 hour on-site computer classroom and the implementation of the LPS e-Learning Portal which enables officers to access training remotely. Deputy Chief Shea noted that the next challenge that he wants to address is ensuring that police training in the Service's budget is seen as a commodity rather than an expendable expense.

Costs of Training - Saskatoon Police Service
Bernie Pannell, Deputy Chief, Saskatoon Police Service

Deputy Chief Bernie Pannell provided an overview of the Saskatchewan Police College's (SPC) Cost Reduction Strategy, the training cost of the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) and the impact new legislation has on police training.

Between 1992 and 2012 the budget for SPC increased from $318,340 to $1,162,000. As a result, the College is now engaged in the following efforts to reduce costs:

Deputy Chief Pannell noted that the overall operating budget for the SPS in 2013 is $80 million, of which $693,200 or 0.87% is allocated to training costs. Recent legislative changes, such as the new mandated Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) training, have impacted the training budgets of the police services in Saskatchewan. Even with the additional costs, Deputy Chief Pannell recognizes that the cost of not providing such training affects more than the financial bottom line and increases the risk of public complaints and the loss of public confidence. In response to these pressures, Saskatchewan is looking at more cost efficient ways of delivering training by taking advantage of: new technology and techniques; focusing on training for core police functions; and sharing training and best practices with other agencies.

Deputy Chief Pannell noted that SPC is looking beyond other police services and wants to increase provincial partnerships and collaboration between the government, police, corrections and educational institutions to address public safety research, education and training.

Summary of Group Discussion on the Police Training Practices and Costs

Presenters from the session Police Training Practices and Costs: What are the Essential Questions? identified major gaps in our ability to accurately account for police training costs in Canada.  During the discussions, it was agreed that the annual cost of police training, or how those costs are broken down, is unknown.  The lack of understanding around training costs could have many consequences, for example on the distribution of budgets and in other areas not so apparent.  For example, in the constant tug of war between training and operational demands, training may be seen as secondary to operational needs if the costs and benefits are not clearly articulated.  There was consensus on the need to develop a national template to collect costing data for police training.  In order to fill these information gaps, Public Safety Canada suggested that a sample of police services be examined to determine training costs and what is included in these costs.  Research around the cost of policing training will support the policing community in their efforts to find effective and innovative ways to address criminality and disorder.

The discussion went on to identify a need for national police training standards that are adaptable to the diverse jurisdictional needs across Canada and take into consideration issues raised by professional standard complaints.  At the moment, police services are duplicating resources by developing their own standards for training that all police require (e.g. use of CEWs).  Measurable outcomes of police training, such as skills retention, must also be taken into consideration when developing training standards, however, it is recognized that work still needs to be done around how to measure these outcomes.  There is also a need to partner with academia in order to develop evidence based training and identify how best to deliver this training.  It was suggested that identified best practices be shared through repositories of information that would be made available to the police training community across the country.  The group also recognized that in order to move any of these training innovations forward, there must be champions identified within all police services to support these efforts.

Keynote Address

Achieving Organizational Success through Technology-Enhanced Education and Learning
Andrew McKee, Sergeant, Victoria Police, Melbourne, Australia

Sergeant Andrew McKee provided an overview of how the Victoria Police in Melbourne, Australia uses technology to address the resource constraints with having to train over 12,500 police service members. The Victoria Police was experiencing a number of resourcing issues including a shortage of trainers, the overuse of equipment and facilities that were full to capacity. In response, the police service considered increasing their training capacity and capabilities by:

Instead of these big budget considerations, they implemented eLearning programs for compliance-based courses which realigned the training and shifted $20 million back into the operational sector every 6 months.

According to Sergeant McKee, the ultimate goal of the Victoria Police was to provide quality theoretical training that met the needs of both employees of the police service, governments and the community, while meeting quality assurance standards.

In developing training courses, the Victoria Police examined a number of factors. The Trend Analysis Unit determined the organizational demands to which training had to respond. Input was also sought from coroners, psychologists and others who are responsible for reviewing officers' actions in the field. The review concluded that e-learning provided opportunities to better adapt training to police officers' learning styles, improve efficiencies, partner (where appropriate), while addressing operational and budgetary demands.

The Victoria Police implemented a new training delivery model in 2012. The Victoria Police, Media and Online Learning Unit (MOLU) rolled out its first two training packages: Critical Incident Management and Critical Incidents Involving the Mentally Ill, using a blended courses model of online training backed up with a practical application component. Sergeant McKee noted that management buy-in was essential to the change management that was underway in the police service, not only to secure the financial resources but to ensure that the service was accountable for the delivery of that training.

The current approach of the Victoria Police has proven successful for many reasons, including skills retention. However, the program coordinators are cognizant of future challenges such as ensuring the integrity of the programs, changes in technology, mitigating the effect of turnover within the training delivery teams, as well as process issues and continuous improvement requirements. Sergeant McKee noted that the Victoria Police is also interested in mapping the effect of this new training model against crime rates and other factors to further identify benefits of e-learning.

Theme 2:  The Landscape of Canadian Police Training

State of the Nation: Challenges and Opportunities

Presenters provided an overview of the frontline perspective and training research related to police education and learning.

State of the Nation: Challenges and Opportunities (no presentation available)
Tom Stamatakis, President, Canadian Police Association

Tom Stamatakis provided an overview of some of the gaps in our understanding of police training. For example, how do we: establish accountability to ensure that officers complete required training; ensure program effectiveness; get program buy-in from upper management; and link training to performance measures and breakdown of costs?

In order to address some of the gaps, Mr. Stamatakis noted that we must first define what "core policing" consists of, in the Canadian context, and how these core functions change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction so that appropriate training can be designed. He also noted that we need to begin to link training to performance measures and measure our training successes and use these measures as standards. Furthermore, online education needs to be properly resourced, evaluated and compensated. There is a general need to ensure, through evaluation and research, that training itself is effective and we are not only looking at the medium through which training is delivered.

In conclusion, Mr. Stamatakis advocated for a national approach to police training. He suggested establishing a national committee for police education and training composed of representatives from police services, governments, colleges and universities. This committee could establish a framework for police training in Canada through consultations, collaborative partnerships and a commitment to excellence. A key deliverable of the committee would be to determine clear evaluation measures for training, as well as a definition of the "effectiveness" of training.

Building Efficiencies through Collaboration

Presenters provided examples of innovative and sector-wide collaboration around police training.

Collaboration and Efficiencies: OPC/CPKN Partnership
Jon Schmidt, Deputy Director, Ontario Police College

Jon Schmidt provided an overview of the collaborative efforts between CPKN and the Ontario Police College (OPC) to create an online Front Line Supervisor Training course. Originally this course was delivered in a classroom format by OPC with little use of technology. In the process of modernizing this course, OPC and CPKN worked together to examine the different delivery methods for the course and determined that a blended learning approach with a self-study component would be the most beneficial. Mr. Schmidt noted that in order to properly implement this model, the existing in-class program was suspended for nine months while the framework was developed for the self-study, online and in-class aspects of the course. An evaluation component was also developed to ensure knowledge transfer and information retention through the use of exams. Today, the training modules developed by the OPC can be used by any police training organization and are compatible with the skills required for frontline officers across the country.

"A great group of presenters… everyone was very open to discussions and freely shared information…"
Edmonton Police Service: Investigative Skills Education Program (no presentation available)
Jamie Clover, Staff Sergeant, Edmonton Police Service

Staff Sergeant Jamie Clover discussed the requirements for successful collaboration among police training coordinators. He noted that true collaboration is a difficult process but is achievable if the parties establish mutually accepted rules, develop memoranda of understanding and implement strong and equitable governance frameworks. If what needs to be achieved is accurately defined, true collaboration will occur. Staff Sergeant Clover noted that e-learning is another version of collaboration as it requires the input of police, educators and IT services.

Staff Sergeant Clover stated that policing is a craft and the standardization of that craft must include collaboration among police services. He was also of the view that in order to standardize the policing craft in Canada, the policing community must identify both the aspects of the policing craft that are consistent across the country and how policing can be adapted to meet specific jurisdictional needs. He also emphasized that just as there is always a cost for training, there are also costs and consequences associated when training is not carried out.

Summary of Group Discussion on Building Efficiencies through Collaboration

The discussion following the Building Efficiencies through Collaboration presentations was centered on two primary questions:

  1. What courses would police services like to provide but cannot?
  2. What are the obstacles to providing this training?

The group made the point that police training must be developed not only for today's learners but to meet the competency needs of future police learners.  In relation to question one, participants noted that there is a lack of leadership and executive training, as well as Masters and Executive programs specific to policing.  Participants also raised the need for more on-the-job training for new recruits given that in some police services the time that they spend with more senior officers (training) on the road has decreased.

Participants stated that resources are a large obstacle to delivering training.  At a time when police trainers are struggling to meet the current training needs, collaboration around resources is being considered as a viable option.  In addition, it was stated that an increase in the consistency of training standards and collaboration across different police services would likely lower the costs to deliver training.  However, it was noted that there are obstacles to overcome even on standardizing training, such as the gaps that exist between the police service requirements of provincial ministers and those of the police service acts.  It is difficult to standardize training across police services when governments can't agree on what is required of police officers in the field.

Another obstacle to training delivery is the lack of interest on the part of police officers to participate in training, particularly non-mandatory training.  A question was raised as to how training can be promoted to officers so that they want to take courses available through CPKN.  Some of the options provided by participants included streamlining career training, allowing officers access to training for future career opportunities (not just training for their current position) and mandating training that would support career advancement.  In Australia, the completion of mandated training is always required in order to apply for higher level positions.  There is a need to change the perception of training from a requirement to something police officers want to complete in order to advance their careers. 

The discussion also focused on issues around delivering incident driven training.  This type of training usually occurs after the actions of a police officer have been found to be ineffective or inappropriate and additional training is required to prevent reoccurrence.  Rudimentary training courses can be seen as demeaning to experienced police officers who have been dealing with similar incidents for years.  The group concluded that this issue requires further examination.

Finally, participants indicated that the policing industry is changing the way it does business in order to match the capabilities of new technology.  It was argued that the reverse is required and that technology should be adopted in order to meet operational and business needs within the police service.  Police services must first determine if new technology will actually meet their needs before establishing training requirements for their police service.

Police Education and Learning Needs

Presenters provided an overview of how police training is delivered in each of their organizations in order to meet the learning needs of police officers.

OPPLearn: Lessons Learned and Future Direction
Hugh Stevenson, Superintendent / Director, Ontario Provincial Police Academy

Superintendent Hugh Stevenson provided an overview of the lessons learned following the implementation of OPPLearn, the e-learning platform of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Academy, as well as future direction for the project. In 2007, the OPP Learning Management System (LMS) was implemented in order to track the training of OPP officers. In 2010, OPPLearn was also launched as the OPP e-learning platform. Since the implementation of OPPLearn, the OPP has witnessed an increase in course completions and has saved about $1 million on training. Additional benefits to the implementation of the LMS and OPPLearn include real time access to training stats and individual training histories that can be used by management when making staffing decisions.

When adopting e-learning and a LMS, Superintendent Stevenson indicated that the police service must be cognizant of the availability of the following:

  1. Organizational acceptance;
  2. Supporting infrastructure;
  3. Implementation costs;
  4. IT support; and
  5. On-going program support and maintenance.

According to Superintendent Stevenson, the OPP is now addressing a new wave of issues that has arisen with the implementation of the LMS and OPPLearn. These issues include getting police officers to "come off the road" to do training. Many feel that the operational requirements of the job outweigh the need to train. OPPLearn also lacks the infrastructure to allow self-enrollment in training. The OPP Academy also needs to align training with officer performance plans and link courses to job competencies in order for the service to plan training effectively. Superintendent Stevenson noted that although there are new challenges, the service has come a long way in improving training and reducing overall costs.

Economics of Policing - PRTC
Michel Legault, Superintendent, RCMP Pacific Regional Training Centre

Superintendent Michel Legault provided an overview of the RCMP Pacific Regional Training Centre (PRTC) training program and the challenges, successes and future directions for the Centre. One of the priorities of the PRTC is to harmonize RCMP training with that of other law enforcement agencies in British Columbia. He noted that this is about efficiencies, as well as establishing consistent training practices at a provincial level. The harmonization of police training programs must focus on better collaboration and innovation.

"Very Informative"

In moving forward with police training, Superintendent Legault indicated the PRTC harmonization efforts are also about comparing the role that academic institutions play in delivering police training versus training provided by law enforcement training centres. In addition, Superintendent Legault suggested that governments should be more involved in police training and can play a role by investing in research opportunities to ensure financial and human resources are targeting the appropriate training and learning needs of police.

The Journey Ahead: Defining Our Academic Direction
June MacDonald-Jenkins, Dean of Police Education, Durham Regional Police Service

Dean June MacDonald-Jenkins provided an overview of the Durham Regional Police Service's Police Education and Innovation Centre (PEIC). The focus of PEIC is to provide accessible, appropriate and affordable training to the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS). Dean MacDonald-Jenkins noted that officer training times vary depending on the technology available. As a result, the PEIC provides 24/7 access to e-learning. It has been noted that the vast majority of learners work between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

Dean MacDonald-Jenkins noted that what has evolved out of the changes at PEIC is a focus around three core fundamental elements to training: accessibility; appropriateness; and affordability. Any course that does not include all three of these elements is not considered essential training. The PEIC has also incorporated the following themes into all of their training courses: professional development; mental health; and crisis management. These themes are relevant to all police officers from the constable level to the chief of police. As noted by Dean MacDonald-Jenkins, evaluation and education standards are also considered very important to successful training outcomes as they ensure knowledge transfer.

PEIC is employing many innovative approaches in their police training model. The Centre has recently moved to a specialist model where trainers are kept on to deliver training but are also sent out to the front line for 100 hours every summer. The PEIC has determined that it is not possible to develop a specialist in a three year time period usually allocated to most police service positions. The model adopted by PEIC allows trainers to stay connected to the front line while preventing the usual training staff turnover seen by other police services. In addition, the PEIC has been able to demonstrate the benefits of incorporating online training into their police training model. The Centre has been tracking the soft costs of online training on five portfolios and found e-learning provided significant cost savings.  

DRPS has recently been approached by police services in British Columbia to duplicate their police training model in that province. This is a testament to the overall success of the PEIC approach to police training.

"The networking is invaluable.  Wonderful to have individuals from different sectors and disciplines (i.e. policing and educators)…"
"We understand the issues; we are living them every day… let's find some solutions!"
Summary of Group Discussion on Police Education and Learning Needs

The cost of police training varies greatly between police services.  In order to address these discrepancies, there is a need to examine how police services calculate the cost of training, which must include anything that does not make money for the police service.  When examining the cost and value of police training, the impact training has on the front line must also be taken into account.  Police services must improve the methods used to track and measure the cost of police training in order to prevent police training costs from inflating to a point where it is no longer affordable.

Dean MacDonald-Jenkins was asked what process was used in consolidating police training courses for the DRPS PEIC.  She responded that her team began by looking at the qualities of the courses being delivered (content, subject matter, level of difficulty, learning audience, length of the course, etc.) and found redundancies.  The courses were cleaned up in order to ensure the DRPS had a training pathway that did not unnecessarily repeat course content.  Some of the other reasons for the success of the DRPS approach are:

The PEIC typically receives requested funding because they can measure and demonstrate the value of the work put into creating the PEIC training programs.

It was argued that the human resources required to make the necessary changes to police training appear to be a large undertaking, especially in these tough economic times.  Participants suggested that these resource costs be offset through the use of sharing and partnering.  It was also suggested that local universities be engaged to support planned curriculum changes within police services.  Police services often look to partner with other police services, rather than other training providers such as universities.  The result of not engaging with universities and colleges is that police are not getting credits for training within academic institutions.  A question was then raised as to whether academic institutions should take over some front line police training from police services.  In Australia, all policing courses provided through academic institutions result in credits towards official diplomas.  In Canada, some academic institutions, like the University of British Columbia and the University of the Fraser Valley, offer credits in police training but there is no diploma program for policing except for police foundation programs.  Summit participants questioned whether police services would be willing to give up some control over police training to academic institutions.  It was agreed that educators outside police services need to be better integrated into police training plans.

Theme 3:  Competencies in Police Training

Mapping Learning to Police Competencies

Presenters demonstrated how police training can be mapped to police competencies.

Competencies in Policing
Cal Corley, Assistant Commissioner / Director General, Canadian Police College, on behalf of Geoff Gruson

Assistant Commissioner Cal Corley provided an overview of the Police Sector Council's National (Learning) Qualifications Framework. The Framework outlines the training required to meet standardized competencies of police officers from the Constable level through to Chiefs. Assistant Commissioner Corley noted a number of benefits with using the competencies. This framework clarifies the demands on learning providers by identifying: national benchmarks for police training; efficient succession planning and leadership development; and national training standards set by educational institutions. The goal of the National Qualifications Framework is to ensure training and skill requirements are consistent across all police services. Assistant Commissioner Corley noted that human resource planning in police services needs to be modernized through embracing the use of standardized competencies.

Police Recruit Training Curriculum Mapping
Steve Schnitzer and Nora Houlahan, Justice Institute of British Columbia

Steve Schnitzer and Nora Houlahan of the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) provided an overview of how they plan to use the Police Sector Council Police Competency Framework to map recruit training in British Columbia. Mr. Schnitzer argued that there is a need to make recruit training defensible, affordable and accessible. The three identified goals for the mapping project are:

  1. Map training to the constable competency profile;
  2. Develop a searchable curriculum database; and
  3. Map training so that it can be assessed.

Mapping recruit competencies to training will provide proof of the standards to which officers are trained and allow for the examination of police core competencies. Competencies will be mapped to discipline objectives and then session competencies can be examined and mapped to objectives.

Ms. Houlahan concluded by noting that using these competencies will ensure trainers are using strategies that are tied to outcome objectives. All training and competency information will be available and accessible to all police officers and services.

Mapping to Competencies: York Regional Police (no presentation available)
Tony Cummins, Sergeant, York Regional Police.

Sergeant Tony Cummins provided an overview of how the York Regional Police (YRP) has mapped competencies to the officer promotional process. In 2011, the promotional system of the YRP was examined and a competency based management (CBM) system was implemented.

As a result, an independent panel was added to the promotional process to review promotional applicants against competencies. Sergeant Cummins noted that YRP has since run seven processes over the past years based on CBM. He also indicated that if an officer doesn't achieve a promotion, the CBM can create a development plan for that member so they may achieve success in the future.

YRP is now implementing competencies within job descriptions and will consider how competencies can be integrated into performance appraisals at the sergeant and constable ranks.

Summary of Group Discussion on Mapping Learning to Police Competencies

During the discussion, Sergeant Cummins was asked if YRP had mapped competencies to training.  He indicated that this was not yet underway, however, in order to do this, the competencies need to be defined in the YRP context. 

It was the opinion of some participants that starting with mapping competencies to performance appraisals may not be the best use of the competencies.  Others questioned how to rectify organization missteps when applying competencies.  The panel indicated that different police services are going to utilize the competencies in different ways to meet the needs of their service. 

A member of the Sudbury Police Service indicated they developed competencies for all levels of officers, including auxiliary police officers.  It was stated that identifying competencies from the beginning of a police officer's career ensures officers understand and are comfortable with the idea of competencies.  In the Sudbury Police Service, special constables, communications officers, recruiting practices and the coaching program all have competency profiles.  Officers are aware of the competencies from the beginning of their career and the importance they play in the promotional process.

The panel unanimously agreed that the policing community should incorporate competencies into current human resource practices even if it means drastically changing the structure of policing in Canada.  Participants did note some of the risks facing police services that chose to overhaul their structure to incorporate competencies profiles, including police officers placing a greater emphasis on attaining competencies rather than police performance.  In order to avoid this situation, there is a need for consistent and regular documentation of performance to ensure competencies are demonstrated all the time, rather than just prior to the promotional process.  There is also a need to recognize how competencies are measured in the promotional process or risk missing certain competencies during candidate assessments.  For example, individual performance assessments often look at what the individual has done in the previous few weeks and what was done prior to that is not recorded.  There is always a requirement for supporting documentation of competencies in promotional processes so regular evaluation is essential.

The Next Generation of Police Learning

Presenters examined learning and innovation through the eyes of the next generation of professional police in Canada.

Synthetic Training vs. Live Training Environment: A Better Way to Train
Greg Kratzig, Innovation and Research, Depot Division, RCMP

Greg Kratzig of the RCMP Depot Division presented on the innovative training approaches being employed at Depot. The RCMP has undertaken a case study to examine the benefits of using a firearm simulator vs. live firearms in training. According to Mr. Kratzig, the results of the case study show that by the final firearm qualifying reshoot test, the mean score of those trained on the firearm simulator was actually higher than the mean score for those trained using live firearms. This evidence supports synthetic firearms training; a bullet does not need to come out of a gun in order to develop proper shooting skills.

Academic and research literature supports the perceived benefits of simulator training. Past research has demonstrated that performance is enhanced when cadets are exposed to a dynamic training environment, with innovative technology. There are also other benefits to using simulators in training: they can reduce instructional hours because the technology is programmed to deliver instruction and there is a lot less wear and tear on equipment.

Mr. Kratzig noted that the RCMP is using simulation technology in other areas. Depot has eight driving simulators that are being used for defensive driving training for new recruits. In cases where experienced officers have been found to be driving too fast when responding to calls for service, these officers are re-trained on driving simulators. It was found that the approach improved the officers' driving skills.

Simulated training allows for the transferability of skills for basic decision making. RCMP Depot is currently working on using simulators in a number of projects including to test police officers in the field using virtual worlds.

Training for Future Officers and Integration of Technologies, Current Reality, and Future Perspectives in Quebec
Danielle-Claude Bélanger, Director, École nationale de police du Québec

Danielle-Claude Bélanger provided an overview on ow technology is integrated into the training continuum followed by policing students at the École nationale de police du Québec (ENPQ) in Quebec. Technology is integrated at various stages of a trainee's curriculum. The ENPQ is currently using a MOODLE portal, a free software platform used by their academic partners, to house learning materials and activities for their students, as well as resources for their instructors. Students may access training modules 24/7. Ms. Bélanger noted that in the near future, ENPQ will be offering multimedia courses through MOODLE and multimedia PowerPoint presentations online.

According to Ms. Bélanger, ENPQ has been looking to integrate simulators into various aspects of their training programs. ENPQ is already using cockpit driving simulators to allow recruits to learn in a dynamic real world environment. They are hoping for some technological changes that would see lightweight, table top simulators used for independent learning by students in order to optimize learning time. This would be followed up by coaching and supervised training using the cockpit simulators.  The goal is to ensure independent learning and knowledge transfer in a dynamic format.

ENPQ has had a centre for research in place for the past two years. The research centre is currently examining the best method to assess and follow up on student performance so the best recruits can be identified to police services. Ms. Bélanger noted that every competency included in a learning activity is evaluated in order to support trainers in their efforts to develop students. ENPQ has made it easy for students to track their performance and obtain immediate feedback on progress. Soon, student evaluations will be made available on the ENPQ Moodle portal, which will allow instructors to track the performance of students in real time. This will also reduce the administrative burden of calculating grades and managing the distribution of results to students.

Enhanced Education for Police Recruits in Ontario (EEPRO)
Angela McGonigal, Issues and Special Project Lead, Ontario Police College.

Angela McGonigal provided an overview of the Enhanced Education for Police Recruits in Ontario (EEPRO) project. The project began with input from the Ontario Police College's (OPC) Advisory Committee regarding the future of policing and how to professionalize policing. The Advisory Committee asked that the EEPRO project be carried out in two phases:

The EEPRO project included an examination of whether or not recruits should be required to have a post-secondary degree in order to be a police officer. A literature review was conducted as part of the EEPRO and focused on the benefits a post-secondary education has on police officer job performance. The review found the most significant benefit of post-secondary education for police officers is enhanced communication skills, as the ability to communicate effectively is integral to all police work.

Police recruits across British Columbia are already required to have more than a secondary school education. In the USA, police recruits require grade 12 or some form of post-secondary education.

Ms. McGonigal noted that there are several drawbacks to requiring all police recruits to have a post-secondary education, including increased competition for promotions, and limiting the diversity and inclusiveness of the policing workforce. Others have argued police officers should all be required to have a post-secondary degree because of the high salaries they receive; other professionals making comparable salaries are required to have at minimum a post-secondary education. It was also noted that there may not be a reason to make post-secondary education a requirement as 80% of today's recruits have attained this level of education.

Based on this information, the following are possible options for recruit education requirements:

  1. The OPC would become a degree-granting institution and the basic cadet training would provide credits towards an undergraduate degree;
  2. Competencies of the job would dictate the minimum education requirements of recruits; or
  3. Recruits would be required to complete two years of university and two years of college.

Ms. McGonigal noted that the OPC is also considering whether police should be self-governed in Ontario. There are various benefits to self-governance including allowing police to have the autonomy to control standards of practice and entry requirements of recruits without an act of parliament. At the same time, the oversight of complaints and discipline are already well regulated through the Police Service Act, Office of the Independent Police Review Director and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and there appears to be little reason to change current practices. Self-governing policing must be considered in the broader context of the future of policing in Ontario if it is to be implemented.

Summary of Group Discussion on The Next Generation of Policing Learning

The panel noted that although we have a good sense of the educational levels of police officers, there is currently no data concerning the education levels of police chiefs in Canada.  Some police chiefs have indicated that police officers are often required to have a post-secondary education in order to be promoted.  The group noted that if we were to impose post-secondary education as a requirement for police officers, we may have to pay them a higher salary.  It was also noted that some human resource policies prevent imposing levels of education for a given position.  It was argued that the requirement for a university degree should be imposed on chiefs first and then placed on other ranks of police officers.

"This conference was definitely worth my time… the information sharing is extremely valuable."

The Way Forward Discussion Summary

The Summit concluded with a discussion around the next steps for police training in Canada. The discussion was structured around the four overarching themes raised during discussions at the Summit:

  1. We do not appear to have a clear or consistent handle on the true cost of training. Can this continue to be justified in an Economics of Policing world?

    There was unanimous agreement that we do not know the cost of police training in Canada. What is included in these costs must first be agreed on in order to ensure calculations are consistent across the policing industry.
  2. We have years of evidence that technology-enhanced learning and blended delivery can produce equivalent or better learning and/or performance outcomes at moderately to greatly reduced costs.  Are we seizing upon this opportunity to the full extent available to us?

    While it was agreed that police training has come a long way in adopting new technologies and training delivery methods, there was consensus that more could be done. The actual cost savings of these methods must be determined before other opportunities are exploited. The development of more technology-enhanced learning depends greatly on the availability of appropriate funding and support from management.
  3. The Victoria Police experience demonstrates what can be achieved when truly faced with the power of consequence.  There is significant innovation occurring across the country in police training and education, but, innovators need broader support and the collective policing community needs to benefit more fully from these innovations.

    The Victoria Police stated that operational expectations could not be met unless their approach to training changed. Questions were raised as to whether the cost of not adopting technology-enhanced learning is truly understood, if the power of such consequence can be conveyed and how the understanding of these consequences can be measured.

    The functions of the police training industry must be clearly outlined. The importance of education and the long-, medium-, and short-term outcomes must be communicated effectively. It was suggested that a multidisciplinary approach be taken to address issues with the bureaucracy.

    Innovation isn't about one bright person who has a great idea; it's about a whole system recognizing it. CPKN is taking steps to rejuvenate its Advisory Committee in order to address issues of police training efficiency and effectiveness in Canada.   
  4. We all seem to recognize that the demands for continuous learning among police officers, civilian specialists, and police leaders continue to grow and strain the energies and capacities of individuals and agencies alike. At the same time, we appear to still accept obsolete methods within our education and training systems and in our finance and accounting systems... because change is difficult?

    It was agreed that the policing industry is generally resistant to change and old methods often die hard. If changes are to be made to the policing system as a whole, financial and accounting experts must be engaged in the conversation.

5. Deliverables and Next Steps

As a result of this Summit, two clear deliverables emerged:

Research

Public Safety Canada will pursue research around common language and the cost of training.

Continuing the Conversation

CPKN has committed to providing a means for delegates and others in the Canadian police community to continue the conversation about the economics of policing and emerging issues around police training and education.

To that end, a LinkedIn group, The Economics of Policing: Police Education and Learning Group has been established. All delegates will be sent an invitation (via LinkedIn) to join the group. Members are encouraged to use this forum to ask questions, share knowledge, and generate discussions on the issues impacting police training in the context of the larger Economics of Policing dialogue.

CPKN's National Advisory Committee will also play a role in engaging the community in further discussions on this topic.

6. Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Norm Taylor, Larry Smith, Christina Wright, and Annick Lauzon for providing presentation summaries, identifying key themes, and generating notes throughout the Summit.

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