Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy (POST)
Training is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining a professional and ready workforce in high liability agencies. Law Enforcement officers are not only charged with keeping the peace and protecting the rights of citizens, but must also continuously update their knowledge, skills and abilities to meet the ongoing challenges of their dangerous jobs. Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) organizations track these immense and detailed training records for thousands of officers state-wide to ensure compliance with legislative mandates for certification.
Disparate, stove-piped systems and a lack of strategy to manage the entire training ecosystem (recruitment to retirement in one comprehensive enterprise system) create incomplete, inconsistent, or incorrect training records and can lead to undesirable consequences. These include increased training costs, paper volume, mailing and storage, compliance issues, inaccurate reporting of certifications, and ultimately, to arrests being dismissed if the certification of the arresting officer has lapsed.
The Utah POST Academy provides professional standards and training, leadership, and certification for peace officers to protect the rights and privileges of its citizens. The POST is required to maintain all training, certification and employment records for the 9,280 officers who are part of 210 law-enforcement and related agencies. In addition, the Utah POST supports continuing education through satellite programs at six Utah colleges and universities and provides online training via a learning management system for officers to access the training required to earn various advanced certifications.
After successful completion of basic training and initial certification, all officers must complete a minimum of 40 hours of in-service training annually to maintain their status as a certified law enforcement officer.
Training reporting was threatened by numerous, disparate systems: State agencies counted six (6) different data management systems, which fragmented officer data and led to inconsistencies in reporting. This was compounded by the law enforcement agencies and institutions throughout the state, which maintained their own training records and followed non-standard data collection procedures. This led to inconsistency in data reporting and redundancy in data collection. This inconsistency threatened the tracking of legally defensible training and certification records, thus putting officers at risk of not being trained effectively and arrests at risk of dismissal.
Because of the threats inherent in their processes and inconsistencies of training data and certification, the POST sought a distributed, web-based solution to track comprehensive training records for all officers and provide agencies throughout the state with an online in-service reporting option.
“We had no consistency or consolidation in our record keeping,” said John Jacobs, POST academy training manager. “We had many ways to track things and everyone used them differently. We even had K-9 names and breeds in the system at one point.” The cost of collecting and reporting training data was increasing (paper, mailing, storage), as the accuracy of data was decreasing. Further, there was no way to report statistics on training and certifications for Utah law enforcement officers. That was when Jacobs knew the critical record-keeping function had to be brought under a comprehensive single enterprise system to ensure legally defensible training and certification records against POST-defined (re)certification requirements.
The non-standard processes used to manage the training records of so many agencies, institutions and individuals became less systematic the larger it grew. Solving this challenge seemed a daunting task. But Jacobs knew it was critical that the reporting process be changed: the POST had to standardize training recordation and distribute the in-service data collection via the Internet. After investigating a number of systems, the POST selected Acadis Readiness Suite because it is designed specifically for law-enforcement and public safety training institutions.
To solve its immediate problem, the POST first implemented the Acadis Training Management System. This module provided the ability to track all law enforcement agencies and officers, including employment, training, and certifications in a standard and legally defensible manner. Further, it provided the foundation for development of the Basic law enforcement curriculum and tests required to ensure that all cadets graduate the academy with the requisite skills and knowledge to practice law enforcement.
The POST then implemented the Compliance Management module to support user-defined (re)certification and training criteria. It now tracks candidates’ training against defined certification, recertification and job-task criteria. The Compliance module is then used to plan appropriate training events for groups of personnel with expiring certifications. The Acadis Compliance Management module ensures the POST’s workforce fulfills all certification and recertification requirements.
Finally, the In-service Reporting portal was deployed to allow law enforcement agencies to report in-service training events for their officers. This reduces redundant data entry and costs of paper, mailing and storage by providing a secure, web-based reporting vehicle to agency representatives to report training for all their officers. The tracking of training events is critical to ensure that all law enforcement officers have met the training re-certification requirements defined by the POST.
The implementation of Acadis Readiness Suite has significantly increased the accuracy of training data by distributing the data collection to training coordinators at each law enforcement agency. Further, costs have been reduced for the POST’s training reporting compliance by cutting law enforcement agencies’ paperwork volume, while providing easy-to-use tools to report training, in a consistent format, securely over the Internet. Agencies can easily report mandatory in-service training as it occurs and have gained real-time visibility into current training and certification records for officers.
Acadis automates the time-consuming process of managing certification application information and tracking complex recertification requirements. The POST staff can monitor compliance in real-time with training and certification policies to ensure state-wide training compliance. Now the POST has access to summary training information for each law enforcement agency, so it can monitor whether training policies are met and essential certifications are current. In this way, the POST can be certain officers across the state meet their compliance requirements.
“The Acadis Readiness Suite and portal infrastructure let us collect secure and accurate data from our constituent agencies across Utah by distributing the collection of it,” Jacobs noted. “With the Compliance Management module, we can finally match collected training records to our requirements and ensure officer compliance. Ensuring officer certification is critical to readiness and increases public safety knowing every officer is certified in their job requirement – an investment with an immeasurable ROI.”