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Assessing Law Enforcement In-Service Training Needs on a Statewide Basis

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2002 Pages: 128,130-132,133
David R. Hobson; Terry L. Mosser
Date Published
October 2002
5 pages

This article discusses how to determine law enforcement in-service training needs on a statewide basis.


The state agency, Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT), is responsible for providing training to approximately 8,000 law enforcement officers representing over 400 agencies. One of its main functions is to provide annual in-service training to those law enforcement officers. One of the obstacles of providing statewide training is developing courses that will meet the needs of as many agencies as possible. The agency’s clientele is diverse in type, size, location, duties, and problems. The agency must train all these officers with limitations on its budget, the number of instructors, and the time to schedule courses needed. The methods used to determine the type and content of statewide in-service training include the use of job task analyses, current trend research, and course critique comments. The DOCJT uses job task analyses (JTAs) for course development for entry-level law enforcement officers, first-line supervisors, public safety telecommunications, telecommunications supervisors, and law enforcement executives. The agency also uses focus groups to determine the list of training needs to be evaluated by the various law enforcement agencies through a survey. The In-Service Training Branch and Staff Services and Planning Section uses training needs assessment to determine the in-service training needs of law enforcement agencies. The intent of the needs assessment is to provide a road map for in-service staff to follow in developing courses for the next 3 to 5 years. In-service law enforcement training courses are offered in administration, investigations, management, patrol, supervision, sheriffs, and traffic. Information gathered from focus group meetings from every discipline was entered into a database and a final list of training needs was the basis of the training needs assessment survey. The top five training needs in each discipline were identified. “Applying for, writing, and managing grants” was ranked in the top five for four of the seven disciplines. There was also an emphasis on drug investigations in the patrol discipline. A report will be generated for each of the seven disciplines to assist in-service instructional staff in determining training needs on a regional basis. 2 figures, 2 footnotes