Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 by

Law Enforcement Learning the Millennial Way

Editors Note: CopsAlive.com welcomes a new contributor: Sgt. Brian Cain.

Knowledge. We all strive to attain it. We read books, police trade journals, law enforcement industry-specific publications, online articles, and attend conferences. We will spend thousands of dollars in our lifetime pursuing knowledge. Some people will even go on to continue their education by getting a degree. All of those are great ways to gain knowledge. While those traditional means of gaining knowledge have worked for decades, I can’t help but wonder if they are still the best ways.

I love learning. I love studying leadership. I love technology. Those three things have combined to revolutionize the way that I consume leadership material. I get books and download digital copies onto my Kindle. I subscribe to websites via RSS to get new posts from leaders in the public and private sectors. I find leadership centered podcasts on iTunes and download them to my iPod. I download audiobooks and put those on my iPod. I truly learn the millennial way.

If some of those terms, like RSS and podcast, sound a little strange and unfamiliar, don’t worry. I am not going to try to shove a bunch of technology lingo and explanations down your throat. I just simply want to… ask you this question:
Are these new methods of education any less valuable than the traditional methods?
I think the answer to that question is “No.” With the digitalization of many forms of communications comes the ability to more easily access these mediums.

Our Department just received 6 new Dodge Chargers for the Uniform Patrol Division. Every single one of them came with an auxiliary port and a USB port. The radio is “iPod ready”; which means that all you have to do is plug an iPod into the USB port and it can be controlled through the radio.

Technology is changing the face of Law Enforcement. I have long said that those who fail to adapt will perish. I can listen to an entire leadership book while in my Patrol Car. With the explosion of the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, people are taking learning, music and internet radio with them wherever they go. No longer are Officers limited to the traditional means of learning. With audio devices and elearning systems, no one in law enforcement has an excuse to be behind the time in police work any longer.

Access to leadership advice used to be limited to those who could afford great coaching, or to those who had discretionary time to sift through complicated leadership books. That is not the case anymore. Dave Ramsey recently wrote a book called “EntreLeadership.” It is directed towards entrepreneurs and teaches them how to lead their organizations. He also offers that book as an audiobook. I, like most of you, have a few minutes of drive-time to get to work. If an audiobook is 2 hours long, and you have a 15 minute drive to work, that means you can “read” an entire book in 8 working days.
I know what you are thinking. “Well, I like to be able to go back and look at what I read.” Or maybe you are thinking, “Well, I like to highlight something in a book that catches my eye.” That is understandable. So let me ask you, how many books do you have that have highlights in them? Maybe a handful? Why couldn’t you just write them down?
There will always be objections to change. Everything won’t always work for everyone. But something will always work for someone. Be open to new ways of learning. Maybe we millennials are on to something.

Brian’s Biography:
Brian Cain has been in Law Enforcement since 2000. He is currently a Sergeant with the Holly Springs, GA Police Department. Brian offers leadership training through various forms of New-Media. You can subscribe to his blog and get a free leadership course at http://briancainonline.com

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