Training Needs of the Department week four discussion 1
For this discussion, indicate how training programs can mitigate the exposure to liability and how available technology can improve training. In your discussion, address the following:
Investigate at least three (3) areas of training that require continuous planning and updating due to vicarious liability concerns.
Compare and contrast the needs and foci of the training designed to address these areas of concern.
Research and explain three (3) forms of training that utilizes advanced technology which is designed to meet the training needs of the department.
Our discussion, the individuals response, list reference bad and good of post
(Ra) Three of the largest expenditures in a department’s training budget from my experience are Use of force (firearms), emergency vehicle operations, and policy updates. The long term ramifications of a failure to train by the department in those key areas has cost millions in liabilities. Through deliberate indifference, Supervisor’s failure to properly supervise or failure to act, vicarious liability often rears it’s ugly head, costing the department not only money, but flirts with the devastating consent decree. Vicarious liability does not apply to a department or supervisor for merely employing an individual who fails, rather it is the failure to properly instruct and knowingly fails to address illegal behavior that subjects the supervisor to liability. (Unkelbach, 2005)
Any department who authorizes an individual to carry a gun and drive a vehicle has an inherent responsibility to ensure that the same individual is proficient and up to the professional standard with that type of equipment. It has been proven through countless lawsuits that the old standard line shoot qualification is insufficient. There have been numerous training scars inflicted by this type of training, including failure to move to cover, the automatic firing of the gun every time it comes out of the holster, sympathetic gunfire, to name a few. The benefit to the old line shoot is it is relatively inexpensive and quick to run 50 officers through the qualification twice a year. Courts have ruled that firearms training must be relevant and realistic. Standing on the 25 year line and firing 3 rounds in 20 seconds is anything but realistic to modern day use of force situations. F.A.T.S. training systems are extremely expensive, but highly valuable training tools. They are essentially a life sized, fully interactive video game, with real firearms that are modified to interact with the system, using simulated recoil for added realism to the scenario. The training can be modified as the scenario progresses to create a truly challenging experience for even the most experienced officer. (Spivack, 2011) The only downside to this training is there is no way to get shot, therefore instilling a possible sense of invincibility. The stress levels and movement that is essential for real combat survival are truly benefits of this training. I have trained with these systems several times in my career. They can range from a portable system that can be set up with a projector in any room, to a dedicated trailer, to a full room set up with cover, obstacles and lighting variables. This training is fun, but also very valuable to the officer.
Another type of firearms training for firearms that can simulate combat is Simunition training. I am an instructor for Simunitions, and they involve modified weapons that shoot small colored soap projectiles. You can use dedicated weapons for this, or purchase conversion kits to use your own duty weapon. This version of paintball on steroids also introduces a combat situation, that is realistic because you can (and will) get shot a lot, and they really sting. This form of training is also valuable because you now have to use tactics to determine justification for pulling the trigger, as well as real consequences for getting shot, thus teaching to move and find cover and use tactics, instead of standing there and pulling the trigger at a set target.
In both types of training, after action reviews can be valuable in identifying areas of needed improvement, as well as monitor officers progress.
Another hi-tech solution to reduce liability through training is through the interactive vehicle pursuit training system. These are like the FATS system in that it is essentially a video game type set up for emergency vehicle operations with a realistic vehicle cabin area with 3-5 computer screens to simulate driving through any number of scenarios. They too can be tailored to challenge every skill level with varying weather, and road conditions, as well as other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals entering and exiting the roadway. The vehicle controls are identical to actual vehicles. (FAAC.com, n.d.) I have also trained on one of these systems, it came in a large trailer and was on loan from the state. The controls were just like sitting in a early 2000’s model Ford Crown Victoria, complete working speedometer, light bar and siren controls. The biggest drawback to this system is it subjects the operator to motion sickness. Everything in it is so realistic that your brain tells you that you are moving, because of the screens and controls on the car are just like you are driving around town, but your body isn’t feeling the same gravitational and movements that your brain is telling you that you should be feeling. I could only be on it for about 5-10 minutes at a time before I became very dizzy. Other officers actually vomited. It was fun, but you were very limited in the amount of time you could spend in the simulator. Cost is also a huge issue with it, but for realistic training with zero chance of accident or liability, this is the way to go for vehicle operations.
Adherence to policy unfortunately falls directly on supervisors, and training in policy updates is difficult to implement and gain cooperation with. Policy is boring. There are hundreds if not thousands of pages of policies that we are all expected to be familiar with. There are several formats I have used recently to attempt to help teach policy to my subordinates. Currently we use a monthly test where they must fill in the blanks through finding the specific policy and locate the missing words. We have used crossword puzzles in the past, as well as oral exams, and “gameshow” type formats. Our new recruits must read the entire policy manual within the first month of their employment and pass a test on policy. There really isn’t much that can be done to make policy training more exciting, but it is vital that all officers are familiar enough with it that they can follow it, and their supervisors must be ever vigilant in ensuring compliance with policy, to avoid the vicarious liability.
FAAC.com, (n.d.) FAAC: Highest Rated Driving Simulator FAAC Incorporated
Retrieved from: http://www.faac.com/policesimulators.htm
Spivack, S. (July 11, 2011) F.A.T.S. – FireArms Training Simulator
Ammoland Shooting Sports news
Retrieved from: http://www.ammoland.com/2011/07/fats-firearms-training-simulator/#axzz3cov8S3y3
Unkelbach, C, (July, 2005) Chief’s Counsel: Beware: Supervisor Individual Liability in Civil Rights Cases The Police Chief