APD Academy pushes online training increase

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – After the Feds criticized the Albuquerque Police Department for its training techniques, the APD Academy is already working on a plan to change the way it does things.

One of the biggest components it’s working on right now will likely push more officers to learn online. But some are questioning if that’s the right move.

The online training goal is among several goals Albuquerque City Councilors are considering as they go into budget discussions. The goal itself though comes from APD’s Training Academy.

Academy Director Joe Wolf said he believes putting a robust training system online will save the city thousands of dollars and help train officers more efficiently and effectively.

“By delivering as much of the lecture based stuff as we can online that time we have can now be converted to scenario based training, one on one, experiential learning the kind of stuff especially a 21st century student responds to better in an adult learning environment,” said Wolf.

Wolf said the online system should be ready to launch this summer. Classes will cover a wide-range of topics including use of force policy and procedure to Constitutional law and more. Wolf said officers will then take what they learned online and be able to more effectively apply it to one-on-one training in the classroom and in a mentorship program Chief Eden is looking to create.

However, in the wake of the DOJ report, where the Feds criticized the department for its lack of effective training, councilors are divided on whether or not more online training is the right step.

City Council President Ken Sanchez says the online training goal is one that councilors first heard about in 2012. He believes that with the DOJ report, the Academy should be careful of which direction to go.

“This objective is 14-months-old and what we’ve seen now from the Department of Justice you know we need to work with the DOJ, with the courts to assure the community that they are getting the very best training for the men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department,” said Sanchez.

The DOJ did support Wolf’s initiatives on the whole though, saying in its report quote:

As we expressed to then-Chief Schultz during our meetings with him, we believe that the director is taking the training program in the right direction, and we commend the department for all of the support it has shown for the new director’s efforts.”

On the other side, Councilor Dan Lewis says he supports the push as one of many ways that it could adapt to the DOJ’s findings.

“It’s responsible certainly to discuss these kinds of options, if they might be more effective, if they might be cost efficient and if they might be a better way to train some of the ways that we training our officers,” said Lewis.

The councilors are taking up the online training goal and several others in a resolution before the city council’s committee of the whole. If it is passed, there is no guarantee anything will be concrete, however, the goal calls for at least two status reports on the program.

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