Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Training Isn't Just Nice To Have, It's A Must

The Corpus Christi Caller had this story about Corpus Christi Police using seized drug money to pay for training for the crime analysts.
"We're going to be looking at crime on a much bigger level," Shannon said. "There's a real science behind it all."
He and three crime analysts recently attended a one-week training course learning the intricacies of the business software system Crystal Reports.
A Crystal Solutions instructor was flown from Utah to lead the session, which cost the city about $10,000, mostly paid for with seized drug money.
Regardless of the tools your agency chooses to use for crime analysis, I can't stress the importance of becoming proficient in using them. Most times, that means obtaining training. Part of what makes crime analysis a profession is that we keep developing our skill sets and improving ourselves as analysts.

Of course, we don't always have the money in our budgets to pay $10,000 to fly an instructor it. But there are other ways to obtain training. The International Association of Crime Analysts offers training from conferences to budget friendly webinars. Local colleges and school districts often offer continuing education courses in software such as Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint. I recently purchased a couple of computer software books from O'Reilly Media to improve my skill set with a piece of software.

It doesn't really matter what you do as long as you are seeking out training opportunities and growing professionally. What are you doing to improve your analytical abilities and increase your value to your agency?


  1. Scott,
    Police training in general tends to be hit and miss. Sometimes it's very worthwhile, but more often than not, it's war stories until 1530, the golf and drinks. (Training for crime analysts by nature tends to be much more practical.) What we have started doing recently is site visits to agencies that do things really well. For example, Redlands (CA) PD designs their patrol deployment solely around hot spot policing. They have for years, and I think that they are the only agency out there that does it that we. We are sending a couple of supervisors out there next month. When it comes to crime analysis and its practical application, what small to mid-size agencies are leading the pack?

  2. Tim, I saw some good things about Redlands. I think their proximity to ESRI gives them an edge!

    I've also heard some good things about Lincoln, Nebraska. Their former chief/current public safety director Tom Casady is a pretty forward thinking guy.

  3. We've been to Lincoln several times. Always come away impressed. Director Casady has an excellent blog as well. Since he took over as Driector of Public safety, it doesn't cover as much crime analysis and GIS as it used to, but it's still one of the top blogs I check every day.

    They have long partnered with The Omega Group for analytical software. Very impressive products. Wish we had them as a partner.


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