Consistent Training Standards Met in Law Enforcement
A Wisconsin curriculum alignment initiative ensures law enforcement
officers statewide consistently meet basic law enforcement training
requirements set by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Law
Enforcement Standards Board. Now, the aligned core of training courses
share the same competencies and standards no matter where they are
delivered in Wisconsin.
The core group of aligned courses, called "Advanced Standing" is an
embedded element of police science associate degree programs offered in
14 Wisconsin’s technical colleges. It is the result of a collaborative
effort by those colleges, the Worldwide Instructional Design System
(WIDS) and the DOJ’s Training Standards Bureau.
Before this re-design, courses and standards varied from college to
college, making it more difficult for students to transfer and for
employers to know how future law enforcement officers had been trained.
Now all law enforcement officers receive the same training to meet the
same standards, according to Dennis Hanson, Director of the Training and
"Using WIDS to develop the aligned curriculum ensures the core
courses of Advanced Standing have the same standards as those taught at
any certified training academy," says Hanson.
In order to qualify for certification as a law enforcement officer in
Wisconsin, the Standards Board requires completion of 60 college credit
hours and 400-520 hours of basic officer training. Students can qualify
for certification one of three ways: by mandatorily attending training
after employment; by completing 60 college credits and then attending a
13-week training academy as a civilian student; or by completing an
associate degree in criminal justice with an embedded Advanced Standing
The associate-degree option allows students to kill two birds with
one stone, saving them time and making them marketable for law
enforcement positions sooner, according to Hanson. "Many employers give
priority to students who’ve gone through Advanced Standing," says
Hanson, "because those students don’t have to take the 13-week training
academy after they are hired."
Administrators and instructors from each of Wisconsin’s technical
colleges worked with the Training and Standards Bureau and WIDS to pull
the new core curriculum together. In the fall of 2003, the new Advanced
Standing core became part of every criminal justice associate-degree
program offered in Wisconsin. The result is a curriculum that better
facilitates transfers between schools; meets rigorous Law Enforcement
Standards Board basic training requirements; better prepares officers
for law enforcement work; and simplifies time spent on curriculum at
Both instructors and deans saw the need for a re-defined curriculum.
They were motivated to share resources, wanted a seamless integration
between campuses, and were sensitive to students crossing district
The old Advanced Standing core, developed in 1990, lacked modern
performance assessments in which students were asked to demonstrate
skills and knowledge, according to Hanson. The new core, developed using
WIDS software, includes highly organized content and quality
performance assessments, including simulations, evidence collection,
role-play and more, he says.