View Full Version : Training with limited resources

04-06-2004, 04:08 PM
I work for a small(4 full-time,3 part-time) Sheriff's Dept. in central PA. We are severely underfunded, to the extent that our training budget is almost non-existent. I am the firearms instructor and a part-time Deputy along with working as a full-time corrections officer in another county; I donate my time and materials (targets, etc.) for our annual qualification, with the department supplying the ammo. Our deputies are not paid for the time they spend qualifying and our budget simply does not allow paid in-house training. We get bi-annual (soon to be yearly) update training via the Sheriff's Association and the State, but that is the extent of our in-service training.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can motivate my people to train? I am willing to donate my time and whatever materials I can for the training, but with the exception of a couple of guys, nobody wants to train unless they are paid for it (Not that I blame them!)
We recently had 2 deputies killed in PA during a "routine" warrant service, and I am hoping this will spark some interest in training, but I fear our dept. is deeply into the "it can't happen here" syndrome. Any advice from instructors who have faced similar situations would be deeply appreciated.

Deaf Smith
04-06-2004, 05:36 PM

I'm impressed with YOUR motivation. There are three kinds of people in the world. Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that wonder 'what happened'.

You make things happen!

Here is an idea. Can you talk to local businesses to kind of donated something that your fellow officers like. That may be a case of beer, or a fishing rod, or new gun, or just something that the other officers like.

Then have a 'combat match'. The prize being whatever the businesses donated! The match can be IDPA style (you might even contact any local IDPA clubs and see if they will help out with scoring and setting up the targets.) Have the IDPA club set up the match to be very 'tactical'. Force the officers to not race through the stages but do it right or be penalized in points.

This could be a quarterly thing, or even monthly (maybe a case of beer one month, a top-of-the-line fishing rod the next, etc..)

Might even get other local police organizations in on this to. Then it could be your department .vs. another (pick other local small departments that also don't have much of a budget. If you get some big city dept. they many seed a ringer in the match!)

That's one idea.

Another is getting more training through schools.

You might get the business to pony up some money to allow one of you now and then to attend a top-flight school!

Or maybe get some business to donate something that can be raffled for money to again send one of you to a school.

Whom ever goes to the school teaches everyone when they get back.

Why, you might even get a trainer to come down and teach you all that way! Just don't get the Swedish Bikini Team to come down, as I don't think anyone will pay attention, sort of.

Hope that helps.

04-06-2004, 06:01 PM
You may also want to look into federal grants. There is alot of money out there in the federal system. I wish my dept. would be more proactive with writting for grants. I have also attended schools put on by the military that are free for Law Enforcement. If i can find the info I'll send it your way. I commend you on your desire and willingness to sacrifice to see your guys get the training they need.


04-06-2004, 07:02 PM
Deaf Smith has some excellent ideas and that should raise some funds. Locally, I know that some of the churches have raised money to supply officers with vests, so maybe they might do the same for training, if they see how badly it is needed.

The grant idea is also an excellent one. I work for a small Sherriff's Dept too, of about 40 officers. We have gotten many grants from the Dept. of Homeland Security. They are practically begging depts. to take the money, so you should definitely look into that. Something that I used to do when I was a full-time Sgt. was to do roll call training on a regular basis. It's amazing how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes or so if you do it often enough.

04-08-2004, 05:28 PM
One of the problems I encountered when I took over my department's firearms training was the reluctance of street supervisors to allow the troops to train during their regular scheduled shifts. I found that making up short (less than one hour) courses of fire or short training exercises helped keep up the staffing on the shift and still allowed the offficers to make it to the range.
A useful short training session I learned at the 1999 ASLET conference was the one-shot course of fire. You can supplement a short course of fire like that with a lesson on a technique (like malfunction clearances) or tactics (this works better with two or more officers).
The downside to my method is since I am only training one or two officers at a time, I spend most of a day at the range rotating the officers off the shift through the training. Of course I make good use of the time between officers. Not a second is wasted on my range.

Other avenues you may want to explore are funding sources that have a financial interest in your department. Our insurance carrier is a league of municipalities that paid for decisional shooting training for the officers they cover. Maybe your insurer would pay your way or at least defer some of the cost?
Have you worked with any instructors from surrounding agencies? I have conducted training and qualifications for our sheriff's dept. In return, their instructor has been a big help to me as line safety and running some qualifications for me. Would a neighboring agency cover your calls during a few hours training time in return for a similar favor? Maybe that could keep up your staffing during training time?

If you are motivated to do this training you can make it happen. Your officers are lucky to have someone that cares running their firearms training.

04-08-2004, 05:34 PM
I see you are just south of Pittsburg. FYI the IALEFI Annual Training Conference is going to be held in Dayton this year.

The info is here;


Download the brochure for a list of classes.

04-14-2004, 03:42 PM
I thank one and all for the kind comments and advice. My Sheriff just came out on top of nasty little bit of political in-fighting, so our dept. now has a bit more funding. I'm going to an advanced instructor development school next week, and also have 2 other courses scheduled for later in the summer!! So things are looking up. If I can only get the others guys as excited as I am, we will be in fine shape!

04-16-2004, 04:38 AM
Sounds like things are getting on track. While at your advanced school you might want to hit your instructors up for info on the pitfalls of undertraining... The liability word looms large there.

If your guys aren't training realistically, training at night, at moving targets, etc... and maintaining a reasonale proficiency, there is a huge liability factor. The court cases have already happened and municipalities have paid the price for underfunding their training.

As far as motivating the guys? Some may never be motivated to train hard - some folks don't care to sweat and shoot or get physical. Regards, Guy

06-04-2004, 06:25 AM
I am new to this forum and enjoy reading the posts. Thanks to the creator.

You have some excellent suggestions there possible you could host a course through one of the major training companies.

Additionally use some of the real world experiences in your training don't dwell on Cops loosing use the ones they win in also.

Explain to your Sheriff/ Government officials about vicarious liability.

Keep Training

06-16-2004, 06:18 AM
The NRA offers free spots in some of their training classes. Go to the LEO section of www.mynra.com . Contact them and see what is available in your area.

James Yeager
06-16-2004, 01:33 PM
I have a class in Hollidaysburg PA August 9-10. I'll give you a free slot.


06-16-2004, 03:12 PM
Ok Yeager this bites. I had to wear a dress to his class to get a free spot. :D (Paid for by another shooter on a bet not Yeager).

Seriously take Yeagers class. I learned a lot. He and Gabe are on the cutting edge of training. I hav ebeen to a bunch of schools and their stuff is first rate. Now if there is a short sort of round shaped assistant instructor names Tase (pronounced Taz) do not let him behind you. He is ex Navy and waas his boats "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Officer if you know what I mean. :p

Seriously you will learn more from James in 2 days than you will probably learn in a weak at those other places.

Oh and bring a Glock if you can.


Steve Camp
06-16-2004, 03:37 PM
Oh and bring a Glock if you can.

Nah! Bring a 1911... you'll get more practice on your pistol failure / clearance drills... :D

James Yeager
06-17-2004, 06:12 AM

Leave your dress wearing out of this. :eek:

06-18-2004, 01:09 PM

Leave your dress wearing out of this. :eek:
Speaking of dresses (well skirts actually), what is the deal about you in that sketch on another forum?:p

James Yeager
06-18-2004, 01:14 PM
That's what you get when you piss off chinese american computer geeks. :confused:

06-18-2004, 01:57 PM

Jus tyou wait. I am going ot hit some thrife stores this weekend and see if I can find a wedding dress that I can dye OD and Coyote. I think BArry was really sweet on that last one.

MAybe that evil chinese american geek can modify it for me.



06-18-2004, 01:59 PM
or matbe I will suprise you and just wear jeans. :D

06-18-2004, 06:49 PM
That's what you get when you piss off chinese american computer geeks. :confused:
Sounds like some of your students have "issues".http://www.glocktalk.com/images/smilies/icon38.gif

06-20-2004, 11:49 PM
All American men like plinking. Can you afford a couple of Airsoft pistols for the station house? There must be a back hallway where you can set up a target, and just encourage everyone to do a magazine of firing one shot from the draw before their shift, just to sharpen themselves up.

And with two pistols, they can dual to see who has to go out for the coffee.

Hopefully, eventually, they will start to think that some range work or airsoft FOF would actually be FUN to do on their own time.

06-20-2004, 11:51 PM
Oh, and to avoid the eventuality of someone drawing their real gun and blowing a hole in the wall, get a dedicated belt & holster, spray-painted orange.

06-29-2004, 08:00 AM
i am in the same boat that you are, small dept, no fund and nobody willing to train. in our last dept meeting i was told that if they arent going to get paid then they arent coming out. i personally go to all of the classes i can and take advantage of every opportunity to talk with someone like gabe or james and just soak up what they have to say.
just a few ideas for you:
i dont know what your depts regs are but i maintain our small range using inmate labor and supplies donated by the local hardware store.
i understand where you are coming from with a dept that wont budget for training but you can probably at least get them to buy some targets and a few other small things like target stands.
call the nra, they just gave our county a good chunk of money for a rifle range.
if you have a range that is big enough host a class! you usually get a free slot. take what you learn in these classes and impart the knowledge to your guys.
right now i am trying to work on a training day that ends with a bbq. wont cost the dept anything and get everybody to throw in a few bucks to cover the cost of food. go out and train, break for lunch and then if you can keep their attention train some more after lunch. if you time it right you can lead into some lowlight stuff.
hope this helps somewhat... oh yeah TAKE YEAGER UP ON HIS OFFER!!!!

07-07-2004, 05:28 AM
Thanks to all who have replied. I will take up Yeager on his kind offer if I can. I am currently at Ft. Indiantown Gap in PA getting some FREE training (on my own time, of course) at the Northeast Counter-drug Training Center. I can't reccomend this place too highly...the training is first-rate, meals and lodging are FREE. If your are in the Northeast or Midwest check out their web-site. www. counterdrug.org

07-16-2004, 06:28 AM
Hello all
yes new member and posting first timer here.

As for all the suggestions that the other members have posted I thought to add my past experiances as well.
I have in the past while networking at various schools while training, have given away gear to officers whom needed it. By giving away I mean that I suggested that they contact DRMO either through the internet or local military base to see what they have available that thier dept. could use. Alot of times this included tactical vests and ballistic vests that the good ole government was going to toss away or auction off. In some cases communications gear was procured through these agencies as well to help boost current department short falls.
I was once "viewing" a department conduct training and noticed that they too suffered from the it could never happen here..... and watched as officer's would show up on the range shoot a magazine to do a fam/qual. Now I know that supplies are short but it just seemed a waste of time and ammo becuase this was not put to good use but was a dept. standard. The training Officers would try to conduct purposeful training but the officers just didn't want to get involved. This saddened me greatly.
The following week I made it my mission to help this dept. I went to our armory and came up with a plan to help them. I aquired several bull horns, targets, target stands, trashed magazines, anything i thought would add to the TO's in that dept. All items were either turned in as worn out or DRMOed so i donated these items to that dept. Needless to say the TO's were happy to recieve new to them supplies.
I went to the local junkyard and they donated 2 car/truck doors, and seats. I worked with the TO's to help set up thier ranges(it was a long weekend for all involved) Through DRMO they aquired a well used laptop, several outdoor speakers and wire/cables. Our ranges/training areas were going to "toss" several steel pepper poppers that once determind still had some life in them I aquired for that dept. We made a crude yet effective movers range with the cable and "made" mover target stands. I guess I had a higher interest as I had 2 close friends who were in this dept...... The ballistic vests they had well what can I say they were very poor and I just couldn't see how these guys could go to work the streets with confidence. I set up the TO's with a DRMO account they managed to procure several newer vests and then found an agency that would take on trade w/ cost difference paid by the dept for new vests. Tactical vests were procured and issued much the same way.
While I was at a school training, I always would leave or donate the remaining ammunition that I had not fired (this wouldn't happen today though as yes as unbelievable as it may sound we are running low on munitions) so that the officers had training ammo available to them of course the depts would sign for it so I could keep out of hot water. For one particular tac-team I managed to supply enough flight suites to outfit them yea some of them were well worn but hell they didn't care. When the DoD decided to switch to a new gas mask DRMO was full of new yet not issue-able gas masks I contacted several depts i knew that could bennifit from this and they made arangments for procurment.
Getting local stores to supply or donate is an awsome thing.
I once went into the local G-store and spoke to the manager who was more then happy to donate already made lunches for the weekend training session, that same manager then called the other stores in the area and got us water / sodas. The same manager then delivered the lunches both days. Of course we let him shoot various controlled stages during the lunch break but he didn't ask we offered. He was more then happy to show the state agency that said G-store supported the state and local LE agencies. Having good people skills and speaking face to face is a must. It is far to easy for a person to say no over the phone. Use your skills. The dept. I was working with now has an active training schedule tho it is in my opinion that they hold the training enough but the resources they have gained was enough to get thier guys active in training again and the officers no longer just show up and shoot they train! Do not let the limitations become stumbling blocks use them as stepping stones. I know I know easier said then done.
Well now that i have talked your ears off I just want to add that I think this forum is GREAT! just what I needed to get involved in and I hope that I add to it as much as I can through this medium. I have often been told that we in the military are on the front lines ect.... but I often turn it around. It is YOU guys and gals in LE who are our first line of defence you do it daily and you protect my family while I am away doing my part overseas, and for that you have my heart felt thanks and support.

07-16-2004, 06:58 AM

Thank you for your efforts.http://www.glocktalk.com/images/smilies/thumbs%20up.gif