Promueven uso de Internet para entrenamiento policial

In 2002, the Department of Criminal Justice conducted a needs assessment survey of over 300 law enforcement agencies in the State of Virginia in order to identify their greatest needs and also list the types of services that would most benefit them in the next 3 years.(1) Not surprisingly, personnel, facilities, vehicles and communications comprised 75% of the most needed items. Training ranked a mere 2%. But, when these same officers were asked to rank the services that were most in need, training was first at 37% followed by the next closest service request (assistance with crime prevention programs and services) at 17%. It’s not too much of a reach to imagine that every other law enforcement agency (LEA) might have similar results even today.
But why the apparent discrepancy in needs versus services priorities? First, the needs assessment list reflects the chronic shortage of funds that has always existed for even the most basic tools for law enforcement agencies. Without the basics (sufficient officers, operating facilities, etc.)LEAs can’t function, so training has to take a back seat. Secondly, while the need for training is greater than ever, the methods used have drawbacks described in the services responses:
Insufficient training funds: Training costs money, not just for the training itself be also for all the “hidden costs” of sending an officer to training.
Proximity: With few exceptions, training sites are not within easy reach of most officers.
Equipment: Equipment costs can range from the hugely expensive to next to nothing. But the one training aid most mentioned was the need for computers and network bandwidth to conduct training via the internet.
One partial solution to all three of these obstacles is to provide home-based computer video training.
Video training in law enforcement has been popular for many years and has been shown to be effective in many areas of training beyond law enforcement (2). But recent studies show that over half of all video training by all organizations is still done using Video Cassettes or DVD(3), requiring the ordering of either a large number of copies of the videos or showing “roll call” training films periodically when the officers are assembled.
A far better solution is available today using the internet. Training companies can now offer their training videos, complete with testing, certificates and course evaluation surveys, on hosted services sites designed for that purpose. All that is needed is a broadband connection (DSL or cable) to access and view the videos, take the tests and receive certifications (if applicable).
Not only is this a less costly alternative for the training companies, but for the users as well. Even if the LEA facilities have bandwidth limitations (which most do), officers can watch from their homes over secure, encrypted connections to these site. Nearly 75% of U.S. home users will have access to broadband in 2006 at monthly rates that continue to decline in the face of growing competition, so only the most rural agencies will have to make do with tapes until the infrastructure finds its way further out from the cities.
Under the guidance of training officers within each organization, officers can get needed training from counter terrorism tactics to the latest techniques for illegal immigrant interdiction, all at a convenient time and at a pace best suited to their learning abilities.
It’s a lot cheaper than any other training alternative, and a lot smarter to at least try it rather than ignore the problem.
Sources:
(1) May 2002 Law Enforcement Needs Survey Analysis, Department of Criminal Justice Services, Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention Services Section
(2) August 2005, “Forum Facts”, WGBH/Boston Forum Network
(3) October 2002, TRENDS video learning survey

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