OPVTA Authorizes National Distribution of Characteristics of an Armed Person

Recently, the Ontario Police Video Training Alliance (OPVTA), a non-profit organization that produces professional, high-quality video training packages for police services, authorized the release of OPVTA-produced content to a national police audience.

Until now, OPVTA videos have been available only to its membership. The release is part of a pilot project with the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) to explore the feasibility of online video-based training for the Canadian police community.

Earlier this year, as part of its internal training curriculum, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) developed Characteristics of an Armed Person, an online training course to help police officers recognize the behaviours and actions that identify an individual carrying a concealed weapon. In addition to audio- and text-based narratives and specific case law, this course incorporates segments of OPTVA-produced video to demonstrate concepts in ways that still images could never achieve. Recognizing that it could be used by other agencies to improve officer safety, TPS made the course available to a wider police audience via the CPKN online learning portal. However, at that time, due to the inclusion of OPVTA video, access was restricted to OPVTA members.

But as a result of recent discussions, OPVTA has now granted permission for the course to be made available to all Canadian police audiences through the CPKN portal. As part of this agreement, the course will continue to be offered free of charge to the OPVTA membership while non-members will pay a $25 registration fee for the 45 minute course. Furthermore, this course will be used as a benchmark to examine the technological aspects of delivering video training online to Canadian police officers.

"At present, OPVTA provides video programs to more than 24,000 Ontario police officers representing 90 Ontario police services," says Sgt. Michael Knight, member of the Aylmer Police Service and Chair of OPVTA. "But we recognize the potential demand for our training products extends to a much wider market and that new delivery methods that enable us to reach audiences more efficiently must be explored."

As a six time winner of the Law Enforcement Video Association's Award of Distinction and 150 other major awards, OPVTA is internationally recognized for its extensive, high quality video training catalogue. All programs, which feature the expertise, officers, citizens and locations from a variety of member jurisdictions, are shot and edited by members of the Niagara Regional Police Video Unit and are distributed by DVD to member organizations.

"OPVTA's decision to explore online delivery is nothing but good news for Canada's policing sector," says Geoff Gruson, Executive Director of the Police Sector Council. "It's just another example of how the sector is working to find new ways to collaborate to support the learning needs of every police officer in Canada."

Over the coming months, Sgt. Knight says OPVTA will continue to investigate the demand, technical aspects, and options for an online delivery model that would serve to benefit both its current membership as well as an extended national audience.

"This is new territory for us," says Knight, "but in order to keep pace with the demands of the training industry, we believe it important to explore new ideas and available technologies that help us to fulfill our mandate. And if we can find ways to share some of our resources with the larger community, it's all the better."