By Kevin Kelleher, M.Ed.

Immigrant Cops—Déjà Vu All Over Again

Our federal government continues to debate immigration reform. Our local, county, regional, and state police agencies, on the other hand, deal with a different set of tasks when it comes to local immigrant populations. We build trust with them, we establish relationships, we learn how to best deliver our broadening services, and lately, we have been learning how to hire them as officers, deputies, and troopers. Let’s just take a moment here and make sure we are all on the same page.

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Public Safety Hiring: The Perfect Storm

It’s been a tough couple of years with this economy. Many law enforcement agencies have vacancies waiting to be filled. Recruitment, selection and training — functions that have been idle — will soon need to be dusted off. In fact, we’re going to have to do more than dust off old skills if we are to survive what looms ahead. The private sector will see improvement long before tax dollars trickle down to our public sector budgets. Let’s take a look at how this overlap of good times/bad times will affect us. There are 5 factors that will place our agencies directly in the line of a perfect storm that will affect our ability to hire and retain good officers, and in some cases, even survive the storm itself.

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Seal of Good Housekeeping

Is there a seal of good housekeeping for field training programs? The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently investigated the New Orleans Police Department based on allegations of unconstitutional practices. The DOJ found that “…deficiencies in the way NOPD polices the City are not simply individual, but structural as well.” One part of that structure was the NOPD field training program. If you are looking for a seal of good housekeeping, the DOJ recommendations for field training programs are probably a good place to start.

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Learning Preferences in Field Training

We are all different in so many ways. One way is how our brains like to learn. Consider your brain to be the destination for new information. There are three ways to get that information in your head: through your eyes (visual learner), through your ears (auditory learner), and through your hands (kinesthetic/tactile learner).

One cause for an officer being rated NRT is that the information was presented in a manner that was comfortable for the FTO, but conflicted with the new officer’s preferred learning style. Learning preferences are so important; The U.S. Department of Justice recently recommended it be included in a major police agency’s FTO basic instruction.

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