Improving Learning Outcomes in Police Academy Training

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Published by the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), this report describes the results of the Academy Innovations project, a COPS Office supported initiative aimed at studying ways to improve the methodology for delivering basic police training content. Recruits’ ability to learn and retain material presented during and after basic police academy training is a genuine concern for academy directors, police administrators, recruits, officers, and the community. Since much information is delivered relatively quickly, police training professionals must understand and employ instructional delivery methodologies which help recruits learn and retain information. Led by IADLEST, the project conducted a randomized controlled trial in five US police academies to determine whether students who participated in an in-person or online integrated curriculum performed better than those who participated in a traditional in-person or online lecture. The report briefly reviews the literature on integrated curricula and retention intervals, discusses implications for the field, and provides eight best practices to guide the implementation of integrated curriculum elements in the police academy.

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