The following blog post — humorous in its delivery, yet educational in its content — was written by a friend of mine who goes by the moniker, "Angryman." Angryman has been a member of law enforcement for 14 years, starting out as a local police officer and currently working as a federal agent within a governmental agency. As part of his blogging persona, Angryman likes to dole out virtual punches and swift kicks in the pants to those who drive him crazy. By day a mild-mannered crime fighter and by night a wise-cracking, witty, mad man. If you enjoy the following writing style, be sure to check out the Angryman Blog. In the meantime, enjoy the following post about training through the use of online conferencing tools.
The Impact of a Struggling Economy
Times are tough. The children do not grasp that water costs money and long showers are their father’s bane. The wife likes all the lamps on for the excellent ambience. We like it cold at the Angryman house; all summer long it seemed the air never turned off. We have to adjust and trim the budget elsewhere. Maybe we don’t eat out as much. Maybe I bypass the local gas station for wasted liquid calories in the form of Coca-Cola and the candy bar my heart desires. But you know these horrible life decisions are not limited to families. (For those not in the know . . . that last statement was “tongue-in-cheek”). Financial woes have reached into businesses, government, and even law enforcement.
Law Enforcement Cuts & Its Impact on Traditional Training
The publicized cuts in law enforcement are usually broadcasted as fewer officers on the street, less overtime, and even layoffs. It has gotten so bad that there are cities that have dissolved their local police and request their county’s sheriff’s office or the state police to perform policing duties in their community. There are many portions of the law enforcement budget not mentioned that receive cuts. One area that is always cut and I believe is a detriment to the mission of police work is training. Law enforcement has to receive training to keep up with changing times. Crime evolves. Criminals become smarter. Criminals embrace technology to do their “dirt.”
I don’t believe law enforcement is keeping up with the rapidly changing development of computers, social media, and smart phones. These methods of communication, sharing, and making life easier are also used to further criminal schemes.
Leveraging Webinar Technology to Reduce Costs
There are instructor fees, travel expenses, lodging, and meals. One of the newest tools that limits these expenses and is trying to offer much needed training to law enforcements is the webinar — a seminar on the “web.” Webinars are much better than classnet, intertraining, or compuschool. Two of the tools used by my agency and training tools I have used are GoToMeeting and Cisco’s MeetingPlace. Don’t use Meeting Palace, which is a restaurant in the UK. If there is a law enforcement agency going for training in London to use Meeting Palace let me know because I will switch agencies in a heartbeat.
MeetingPlace & GoToMeeting
Both online conferencing tools fit the bill. I have attended training using both. Both are easy to set up and easy to use. MeetingPlace is installed on our machines and integrates with Outlook for ease of inviting coworkers and calendar scheduling. GoToMeeting was able to work via the web on our write-protected machines (the I.T. guys frown on the installation of random software on our laptops). Both offer options to call in via phone if you lack speakers, microphone, or a headset. The training was informative and very beneficial to the work I do. Law enforcement throughout the nation was able to receive this training over the internet. The presenter created the PowerPoint and presented from Seattle, WA. The facilitator was in Washington D.C. I was in Michigan and the training was free to me. Obviously there are limitations. We can’t conduct firearms training, defensive tactics, or arresting drills through the internet no matter how great it has become. Only time will tell if the good folks at the App Store or Google Play are able to overcome that barrier and then will it be $.99?
Webinar Presenting Tip: Limit Unnecessary Distractions
My only suggestion is if you use one of these tools be mindful of you screenshots. The last presentation I observed had a distraction. The presenter was
a retired deputy. I always look at everything as I am trained to observe. The screenshots of his desktop displayed shortcuts and bookmarks for online gambling sites. I found it distracting and wondered what other bookmarks there might be. I was immediately thinking about this guy gambling online and no longer paying attention to the topic at hand.
Your Next Customer – Just A Click Away
As the world is brought right next door to you because of developing technology and the Internet, your next customer is just a click away. The use of online conferencing tools allows you to present your product, your service, and your dreams to that potential client – all without incurring travel costs and absences from your work or home.