Author: Sidney Lopez, CEO/ Chief Instructor of Tactics & Operations Group-US (TOG-US) LLC.
Corrections tactical teams, Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), Special Response Teams (SRT), Special Operations Teams (SORT), Special Operations Group (SOG), Tactical Response Team (TRT), just the mention of any of these acronyms within the corrections field lets everyone know inside their facility that should something go horribly bad, these guys will come for you or make the situation much better.
Just like the counterparts in the street, Corrections Specialized Teams should under go some type of specialized training in order to justify their existence and maintain some sort of standard. In this article we will briefly go into two sections in the world of training. We will only go into it briefly due to the fact that we could go on and on for days on this subjects. The two areas we will touch are: to outsource training or to keep training in-house. We will look at some pros and some cons for both sides. Lets jump into it shall we?
Why start with the cons you say? Well, why not just jump into the more controversial section of the topic. Many department (s) one of the more predominant reasons that they like to maintain much of their training in-housed is because of budget constraints. So it’s said. Sending one trainer or two to a class in order to make them an instructor and come back to teach the masses is more cost effective than to bring someone from the outside once or twice a year to conduct training. The fact that you only have to pay lodging, food, travel, and their hourly salary to your officer/deputy vs. paying the instructor’s fee and course tuition sit’s better on command staff personnel because they now have someone in-house that can teach this subject any tome the office needs to.
Another con of brining an outsider to train your staff vs one of your own conducting the training is that your personnel should know all the departments policies, SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures). Having staff that know all the inner workings of the office is great because it makes it easier to shape training to the department’s standards vs is you had an outsider doing it, the training would be more generic.
Finally, keeping training in-housed and not outsourcing it makes it a lot easy to administratively reschedule a class is you have to without fear of any backlash or having to loose out cash. If you bring someone from the outside and you cancel on him most likely the department can loose that financial investment.
Much like the cons, the pros have their valid points. When a department sends one or two of their officers/deputies out to become instructors in any discipline, they are sending their people out to subject matter experts. This master instructor (s) is some who has had years of experience both in the matter, policies and legal aspects. Experience is something that you don’t gain once you complete a course and get a certificate issued. With that experience when you bring in a subject matter expert from the outside to teach your department you allow for the entire team to get the same quality training all at once. This also allows the team to train together at the same time. Many larger teams are spread among different shifts and getting all members together in one spot to train can be very hard at times. Bringing the instructor (s) to the department allows for team cohesion, by the entire team training together and undergoing the same experience it allows for the team to bond and come together.
By having the trainer come to the department it allows for the trainer to see first hand how the facility is designed and put together. This allows for the training to be shaped and tailored specifically to the needs of the team and the facility.
There are many more points that can be made either way. At the end of the day it is all a matter as to what is the ultimate goal long term. Many times departments take the short road when it comes to tactical training, this is especially for Corrections Tactical Teams. Unlike teaching an officer/deputy to be an instructor on any electronic incapacitation device, less lethal delivery system or even defensive tactics, teaching a team tactics in the use of less lethal, lethal tactics, should be done by someone who has experience in the field. A question all administrators who are looking to invest on the training of their Correction Tactical Teams are: how much liability am I willing to absorb? Will it be most effective paying now for training or paying later for legal litigations or even more serious issues?
The training of adult learners should be done by professionals who understand how to properly pass down information to adult learners in this case, tactical operators; teaching to mostly type “A” personality folks is something that not everyone is capable of doing. In conclusion, to the administrator who is looking to spend department funds in training a team. Use the money well, but use it! Ensure that your team is getting well rounded training and that the instructor that you bring over or if you have the ability to send the team out as a unit together to train, knows his subject well and is reputable. This very important because should you have to go to court and this instructor were to be called to testify, you want your training to be represented well.
Train hard, train smart, be safe, your buddy’s life and yours may depend on it one day!