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Police Sector Council Funds National e-learning Initiative

The Police Sector Council (PSC) and CPKN have signed an agreement to develop four e-learning courses. Funded through the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program, each course has been selected for relevance to a nationwide police audience and will be delivered in both official languages. Furthermore, during the initial months after release, each course will be offered at no cost to members of the Canadian police community for a designated introductory period.

The first course in this series, Firearms Identification for Public Agents, has been completed and is available free of charge to police and other public agent organizations across the country until November 30th. In the coming months, Recognition of Emotionally Disturbed Persons, Introduction to Aboriginal and First Nations Issues, and Police Ethics and Accountability will also be released.

"Enhancing the scope of skills development and learning opportunities for police are core components of the Council's function," says Geoff Gruson, Executive Director of the Police Sector Council. "e-Learning has proven to be an effective means of delivering consistent training to front-line officers across the country and has potential to alleviate some of the significant training challenges facing the sector today."

PSC and CPKN first tested the concept of pan-Canadian online learning last year with the CPIC Query/Narrative course. Developed in collaboration with the Canadian Police Information Centre, this course was piloted nationally during the fall of 2007 and attracted thousands of learners from the law enforcement community. PSC-subsidized courses like CPIC and Firearms Identification for Public Agents present a very cost effective means for police services to provide essential training for their members. With development costs already covered, these courses can be offered at no charge for an introductory period, then continue to be accessed for a minimal administrative fee - CPIC, for example, is available for $25 per user.

"The Police Sector Council is playing an increasingly vital role in facilitating accessible police training," says Sandy Sweet, President and CEO of CPKN. "The Council recognizes the looming demands facing the sector and is taking a proactive approach on behalf of all stakeholders. For CPKN's part, we're extremely pleased to apply our experience and expertise to support the Council's mandate."

A national e-learning Steering Committee has been put in place to oversee this initiative. Comprised of individuals from organizations representing various segments of the Canadian policing sector, this Committee will provide direction on each project and input on course selection for future projects.

"This Committee's advice and guidance is not only an important part of this particular initiative," says Nadine Sutcliffe, VP and Manager of Operations at CPKN, "but also extends to other CPKN projects. We rely on the continual input of the sector to ensure the content, design, and delivery of courseware is meeting the needs of the Canadian police community."

"This initiative demonstrates a great partnership and a newfound level of collaboration among police agencies," says Mr. Gruson. "Each course features one or more Content Provider organizations that are willing to share expertise and knowledge with the wider community, an informal peer review process whereby subject matter experts across Canada contribute feedback on course content, and the multi-organizational Steering Committee to oversee the entire project and ensure the courses are successfully implemented to the benefit of all police services."

The three remaining courses in this series are at various stages of development and are scheduled to be launched throughout the summer and fall. During the free introductory periods of each course, data collected from learners, primarily related to demographics and attitudes towards course content and delivery methods, will be used to evolve future e-learning training opportunities.