How Much Training Does a Police Officer Need?
Chris Davis, Envision Board member and Green Bay Chief of Police
High-profile incidents involving police use of force over the past several years have increased scrutiny of police policy, culture, and training. A February 15 piece on ABC News highlights the stark difference between police training in the United States and that in other developed nations. For example, the average length of a basic police training program in the US is 22 weeks, compared with 15 to 21 months in Japan and 2 ½ years in Germany.
A recent report by the Police Executive Research Forum discusses the lack of standardization of training across the nation’s 17,000 municipal, county, and state policing agencies.
A likely future trend in policing will be greater standardization of training, as well as increased basic and ongoing training for police officers. This trend will benefit communities in terms of better police service. It will, however, significantly increase the cost of operating a police department. This may very well combine with a trend toward consolidating smaller police departments into larger agencies serving numerous political subdivisions.
Improved training standards for American police officers will definitely be a trend to watch in the future, as it will have significant implications for public policy and finance while offering the promise of improved public safety service in our communities.