Pillar 5: Officer Training and Education
By Mary O’Connor
Assistant Chief (retired), Tampa PD
Subject Matter Expert, NC4 Street Smart®
The recommendation of Pillar 5 in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report focuses on the importance of the training and education of our police officers. In this pillar, the focus on enhancements to recruitment and in-service training are discussed, as is the need for our police force to have incentives for obtaining higher education. The need for specific training as it relates to 21st century issues is addressed; for example, the need for officers to be educated on implicit bias, responding to mentally ill individuals, and interaction with diverse communities are all highlighted in the report.
NC4 is committed to assisting law enforcement agencies to make progress towards implementing the recommendations included in this report. NC4 Street Smart® strives to provide officers with the information and support that they need to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Part of this effectiveness includes the ability for officers using NC4 Street Smart to be surgical in their policing efforts. Being armed with the ability to identify and prioritize the “W.I.N.” – or What’s Important Now, allows for decreased time from offense time to clearance. The more informed and educated on real-time information our officers are, the safer they and our communities will be.
Pillar 5 mentions the need for officers to be informed and trained on various concerns impacting today’s society. One of these subjects is addiction; specifically, the opioid crisis has devastated many regions in the United States. Educating officers on locations on where overdoses occur, locations of opioid arrests, and locations of opioid Narcan deployments, can all give officers situational awareness of the problem and help them address it accordingly. This practice is currently in place in Tampa, where the police force's active awareness of the opioid crisis helps them respond to this crisis better and be more prepared for the next time they are faced with an addiction matter.
This graphic represents locations in Tampa, Florida where officers can see where overdoses and Narcan deployments are taking place in true real-time.
The author of this blog series, Mary O'Connor, is a recently retired Assistant Chief from the Tampa Police Department (TPD). She spent 20 years with the TPD working her way through the ranks and has experience in most areas of the department including Patrol Commander, Detective Commander, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Officer, Economic Crimes Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Major, and Deputy Chief. She also serves as a special advisor to the board of NAWLEE (National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives). Mary was instrumental in the end-user design of Street Smart and is the subject matter expert on the solution.
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