Working within the field of law enforcement how many hours of training have you attended, a hundred(s) or thousand(s), do you recall all of the instructor’s names, topics, and more importantly the content? On the flip side of that coin how many instructors’ names, and topics resonate with you? How many topics and leaders do you follow, review content or attend their trainings on a regular basis, even though you have seen them countless times before. What is your legacy as a trainer? What do you want people to recall from your sessions one, two or three ideas? How do you make the most out of the time you have with people who honor you by attending your class? There are three simple things that are important and can lead to a more enjoyable, fulfilling class, and avoid becoming obscure unknown instructor who has not had an impact.
The first and most important key to success is selecting a topic that you are an expert on. This might seem like a no brainer, but how many times have you seen an instructor who is not a subject matter expert, or a content expert speak on a topic that they know very little about. They think just because they have been an officer for 10+ years they can speak on a topic. This is not always the case, they might be a great officer, trainer, and instructor. But on the topic they selected they are worthless. This is sometimes a taboo topic to speak on, but there are a great trainers out there teaching the wrong topic. What is your topic? What do you do to stay fresh on the topic, and material?
Content is the most important curriculum decision. Curriculum (content) drives your class, too much you appear to be a know it all without practical experience, too little, and you are someone that just threw a class together. There is a balanced approach for getting your content into the right room with the right people sitting in the seats. There is a balance of learning objectives, media and anecdotal teaching moments.
Within your content area do you review professional journals, articles, and professional publications? How many classes have you attended to expand your horizon? For example how many interview schools have you attended if you want to teach interview/interrogation topics? Are you aware of the recent trends and case law pertaining to interview and interrogation? Can you recall verbatim the major case decisions that guide criminal interview and interrogation? So as you can see staying up on one topic is hard image if you are attempting to become a training guru with many things under your belt.
There is no substitute for passion – without these you cannot pass on your lessons and knowledge to the next generation. We have all sat in classes, and trainings where the instructor just reads the power point and has no passion for the topic. There is no light in their eye, there is no excitement for the topic. They haven’t kept up on the current research and practices. Passion is what ILEETA appears to be all about, everyone is looking forward to attending and going to training.
Of course ILEETA is always a great place to connect with new friends, colleagues and of course the “real Brian Hill”. If you happen to be there this year look me up.
Editor’s Note: The 2016 ILEETA Conference is March 13-18, 2016. It is one of our favorite conferences and we highly recommend attendance.
Dr. Matthew J. Stiehm has received an Educational Doctorate from Argosy University, where the focus of his research was campus safety and security. He has a Master’s Degree of Criminal Justice from Central Missouri State University, with his final paper which focused on the investigation of child abuse and finally a Bachelors of Science from Wayne State College, Nebraska. He has served as a police officer in three states (CA, MN and NE), he keeps current on law enforcement trends most recently he conducted an 8 month study with Columbia Heights Police Department (MN) on Community Policing. He currently is a member of ILEETA, an Associate Member of the IACP, Support, and Police Executive Research Forum Subscribing Member.