An overview of the discussion of the value and components of a police recruit training

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An overview of the discussion of the value and components of a police recruit training

Many police chiefs believe that it reinforces the mission of the organization, adherence to policy and procedures, and the ability to resolve moral dilemmas. This article examines ethics training among police chiefs throughout the United States. The frequency of training, content, and instruction, as well as perceptions of the value of ethics training, are addressed.

Results indicate that preservice ethics training among recruits is typically four hours or less. The content of instruction includes a variety of tools representing a student-centered approach.

Ethics training in law enforcement has received considerable attention for a variety of reasons. First, many police departments are participating in voluntary accredita- tion through standards set by the Commission of Accreditation in Law Enforcement Associations, and ethics is often included as a component of required training.

An overview of the discussion of the value and components of a police recruit training

Second, organizations such as the National Institute of Ethics benefit by promot- ing the need for ethics training in law enforcement. Third, police departments experiencing incidents where officers have violated organizational policy, have been accused of excessive use of force, or have engaged in questionable conduct want to prevent further damage and future incidents.

Finally, the administrators of many police agencies believe that ethics training reinforces the mission of the organization and adherence to policy and procedures, and enhances the ability to resolve moral dilemmas.

This article examines ethics training among a sample of law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. The frequency, administration of training, content, and instruction, as well as perceptions of the value of ethics training, are addressed.

Public Integrity, Winter —10, vol. As public servants, law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard—when officers behave unethically, it is a violation of the public trust and damages the image of law enforcement everywhere. Numer- ous civil lawsuits have been filed against police agencies as the result of unethical conduct Trautman Supreme Court ruled in City of Canton, Ohio v.

Many professionals and organizations in the law enforcement community hold that ethics training bridges the gap between written policies and actual behavior by introducing or reinforcing rules and expectations of behavior.

The committee noted that several factors, such as increased litigation, professional and personal destruction, public perception, and even suicide among officers, necessitated this kind of training in law enforcement. Based upon a needs assessment conducted by an independent consultant, the IACP offered several recommendations, including: Com- munity leaders, police chiefs, and officers met in Washington, D.

The symposium recommended a national workshop facilitated by representatives from the premier law enforcement leadership programs to address an ethics curriculum for training programs for both preservice recruits and in-service officers.

The symposium also recommended the identification of best practices among law enforcement agencies to develop, maintain, and address issues of integrity Gaffigan and McDonald One should not expect officers to step into the role of ethical behavior without having appropriate training, just as one should not expect them to automatically know how to perform a technical task.

Therefore, training must include scenario-based activities and include officers at all ranks. These real-life examples help officers understand how to respond to dilemmas and enable supervi- sors to better distinguish between insubordination and legitimate intervention in a challenging situation Robinson Following a similar line, Paul Whisenand59 identifies three important components of ethics training: Leadership by example is important because subordinates pay attention to the actions of leaders and model their own behavior accordingly.

Value orientation is the process of establishing an ethical culture and making sure the members of the organization understand the rules associated with the culture. Whisenand believes that organization personnel should be taught that the law is limited, and it is not enough to follow the letter of the law; one must also abide by the spirit of the law.

As a secondary component of the limitations of laws, there is too much reliance on rules and regulations that describe restricted and required behaviors.

These should be replaced with learned ethical values, behavior that extends Most states typically require that law to the higher purpose of the law and not the enforcement personnel have some regulation itself.

Whisenand notes that law enforcement agencies often view ethics exposure to the subject of ethics during instruction as a single training block, when it their preservice academy training. In addition, ethics instruction should avoid the lecture approach, which is the typical method of delivery, and emphasize small group discussions.

These discussions should focus on group decisions, not the motivations that led to them. Frequency and Administration of Training Most states typically require that law enforcement personnel have some exposure to the subject of ethics during their preservice academy training.

The literature indi- cates that there is significant variation in the length of preservice academy training, ranging from twelve to twenty-six weeks. However, little time is devoted to ethics training—typically two to four hours Delattre ; Gaffigan and McDonald ; Kleinig ; Marion According to Johnson and Cox, the proper placement of ethics training in the preservice academy has also been an issue for decades: Where to place ethics in the curricula has been an ongoing discussion since at least There are two problems to this.

First, by the time ethics training is presented, the officers have already, for the most part, been indoctrinated into the manner in which the department wishes them to act. Second, if and when ethics instruction occurs, cadets are not listening to the lecture because of fatigue from a long training period filled with numerous activities.The Academy is generally hosted at the LAPD Ahmanson Recruit Training Center (ARTC) on Saturdays, between am and pm.

Recruits typically begin Academy mornings at their cadet posts, where they meet with their Youth Services Officers (YSOs) and are driven to the Academy training facility in passenger vans; however, some recruits .

Selection Process Overview. The selection process is very competitive, consisting of an initial application, physical qualification test, written examination, a comprehensive background investigation, and in-person interview.

The Police Training Program (PTP) was designed in as an alternative to the Field Training Program (FTP) model through a grant funded by the Department of Justice Office of Community Policing Services (COPS).

According to BJS, the median duration of basic recruit training - excluding any field training component - was 21 weeks across all academies with a range anywhere from four weeks to six months.

Following is a summary of training topics, the percentage of academies providing each, and the median number of hours. United States Army Basic Training (also known as Initial Entry Training, IET) is the recruit training program of physical and mental preparation for service in the United States Army, United States Army Reserve or Army National Guard.

The influence of socialization is enormous: it can erase the positive influences from training and introduce the recruit to the darker side of the police subculture (Ellwanger, ; Volti, ).

Ironically, within law enforcement the negative aspects of the socialization of officers are also, at times, positive.

Training Summary (By Week)