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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

September 2022 | Volume 15 | Issue 9

This fall, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) will celebrate the five-year anniversary of the COPS Office Training Portal, which, since launching in 2017, has become the cornerstone of its training program. Now serving more than 27,500 public safety professionals and community partners representing over 5,600 agencies nationwide, the Portal is a trusted and accessible web-based learning platform that exists to support your ongoing and ever-evolving training needs.

“Building the Portal from the ground up has been one of the most rewarding projects we’ve worked on in our 25-year partnership with the COPS Office,” said Lynda Schwartz, Executive Director of the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI), the organization that developed and manages the Portal’s daily operations. “The explosive growth we’ve seen over the past two years alone has allowed us to reach the nation’s public safety community on an unprecedented scale, and we’re excited for the impact we know the Portal will have in the future.”

The Portal is a no-cost gateway to multimedia community policing resources. It provides unlimited access to interactive COPS Office-funded e-Learning programs, developed by organizations throughout the United States. Many of these course developers have been recognized for their leadership in creating public safety training, and new courses are regularly added; this year and next, several new courses will become available through a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The content housed in the Portal goes through an extensive, in-depth development process that typically takes 18–24 months to complete, including several rounds of internal review, external peer review, vetting by the Department of Justice, and intensive testing for functionality and user experience.

The evolution of the Portal’s features since launch have strengthened its capacity to support the work you do. Everyone from individual officers and deputies to entire agencies can train simultaneously or asynchronously, at their own pace, and achieve substantial learning outcomes. With a constantly expanding library of courses and flexible digital resources such as downloadable videos and facilitator guides that you can implement in whatever ways work best for you, the Portal has something for all agencies seeking to increase knowledge, improve skills, and continue making an impact.

Today, the Portal attracts audiences from the whole of the criminal justice system, not just traditional law enforcement agencies. Partnership is critical to effective community policing, and the Portal enables cross-disciplinary training in a way that is virtually unmatched. There are courses and resources relevant to those working in drug courts, probation and parole, public health and human services, schools and universities, children and family services, mental health and addiction providers, NGO community service organizations, rehabilitation, and corrections.

Training topics focus on critical public safety challenges facing our nation’s communities such as mental health, school safety, substance-abuse and the opioid epidemic, traffic safety, veterans in crisis, crime reduction, community engagement. New topics to be added soon include non-confrontational interviewing, serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and establishing crisis intervention teams.

Moving forward, the Portal will seek to serve more than just the officer who independently seeks out education. To some stakeholders, the usefulness of the Portal may be dependent on their ability to obtain in-service credit for training they complete. To facilitate this, Portal learners will soon see some updates and enhancements throughout the site that may increase confidence in the integrity of the learner’s experience within the platform, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Implementation of an Honor Code learner agreement prior to accessing course certificates
  • Standardization of course completion guidelines and settings
  • Standardization of 80 percent post-course assessment pass/fail criteria

With demand for its training and resources at an all-time high, the Portal has never been a more vital resource to support the evolving and critical educational needs of individuals and organizations. “We hope to encourage more departments and more states to either automatically accept or give significant deference to courses on the Portal, knowing that they go through an extensive review process and are regularly evaluated to ensure they are providing accurate and timely information,” said Robert Chapman, Acting Director of the COPS Office. “We recently partnered with the Arizona POST to provide credit for all certificate-awarding courses, and we are already beginning to see results from that partnership that support our longstanding belief within the COPS Office as to just how valuable the COPS Office Training Portal is to our women and men in law enforcement.”

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