Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems and incorporated mobile police software technology have revolutionized the services public safety organizations provide to their communities. Training police officers and other first responders in the use of mobile technology initially offered a series of challenges. Many of those challenges can be overcome when law enforcement dispatch software developers combine training criteria into their products. Engineers can develop the latest and greatest tool for policing, but it is of little use if law enforcement and 911 dispatchers cannot, or will not, learn to use it properly. This holds true for mobile technologies, police dispatch software, and CAD systems for first responders. Fortunately, applying instructional recommendations from mobile police software developers and customizing them for an agency’s training model can help avoid implementation challenges.
Getting Law Enforcement to Embrace Mobile Dispatching Software
One of the keys to effective training is getting the recipients of the knowledge to want to learn about a particular topic. For many subjects, that interest can remain elusive. Let’s face it, not many police officers are excited to sit through a report writing or budgeting class. The use of technology, especially mobile technology, however, can be a skill set sought out by law enforcement officers when presented with its advantages.
Perhaps most beneficial to first responders using mobile technology and computer aided dispatch software is law enforcement safety. An area of importance which can be universally agreed upon by law enforcement professionals world-wide, law enforcement safety can be a motivator to learn like no other. When mobile tracking software is integrated into CAD systems for law enforcement, a police officer can help pinpoint the location of another police officer in need of help and as a result the desire to learn the software’s capabilities is innate. The ability to use silent dispatching features to keep two-way radio traffic to a minimum, can motivate law enforcement officers to want to learn more about these mobile technologies and dispatching software for law enforcement. Using the mobile CAD system, law enforcement officers can discover if a subject is wanted, has a violent history, or may otherwise pose a threat. All of these and more officer safety advantages stemming from mobile police software will undoubtedly encourage law enforcement to embrace mobile technologies. Once the mobile technologies are embraced, learning logically increases.
In addition to safety issues, CAD systems for law enforcement and its mobile technologies can simplify the officer’s workload. Rare is the police officer who is excited about writing a detailed report. Most got in the profession to respond to calls for service, conduct traffic stops, catch criminals, and help people. This is what most officers refer to as the fun stuff. By embracing both mobile technologies such as computer aided dispatch systems for law enforcement and the training to properly use them, officers can reduce the time they spend on paperwork, including modern digital paperwork, and get back to the streets for the fun stuff.
Mobile technologies and law enforcement dispatch software can also increase productivity by reducing time consuming research. Both detectives and patrol officers in the field have experienced the need for expedient information to complete a task; details necessary for a search warrant, the call history at a specific location, a key piece of information from a wanted person bulletin in another jurisdiction. These are examples of data that law enforcement officers can access at their fingertips when using mobile technology. This reduces the need to wait on others to research and provide the desired information. Instead, the ability for officers and detectives to rapidly access this vital information in the field, stands to increase the desire for learning to get the most from mobile technology.
Learning Styles and Mobile Police Technology
It is often believed that younger officers, by sheer virtue of their age, automatically gravitate toward technology. Conversely, an officer with a few decades on the job is prone to be perceived as resistant to change. While a little of that may be true for each group, modern educational theory tells a different story. Learning styles play an important role in training law enforcement from every generation. Those styles can often say as much about how someone learns as it can about how motivated one is to learn.
Training users of mobile technology and computer aided dispatching is no different than any other form of education. It is important to recognize that not everyone learns the same way. More specifically, not everyone learns to their maximum potential if only one style of teaching is used. In-service law enforcement training professionals and quality field training officers know this and try to avoid a one size fits all curriculum. Partnering with mobile and computer aided dispatch software companies, trainers can use a multi-pronged approach to get the most from the technology their students will be using.
While many there are many pedagogical approaches, the most common forms of learning are as follows:
Visual learners: When teaching mobile technology to a visual learner, a combination of classroom with visual aids, demonstration, and hands-on training is a wise approach.
Auditory learners: The sound of the police radio and its use in or complement to the mobile data terminal would pair nicely with an engaging lecture format of learning for this student.
Kinesthetic learner: Get out of the classroom and into a patrol car as fast as practical for this learner. While some form lecture and presentation will be necessary, the kinesthetic learner will retain more of what they did than what they heard.
Reading and writing learners: This group will want both the agency policy and CAD software company’s user manual. They are also likely to take thorough notes during any classroom or demonstration portion.
Of course, budget and manpower restrictions do not allow law enforcement agencies to offer four different training sessions, one for each type of learner. Instead, organizations can develop their training sessions to combine aspects of each learning approach. When done in conjunction with mobile police software companies, the technology is far more likely to be embraced by users. As the advantages become apparent to those users, the desire to increase one’s knowledge comes naturally.