CFP to Fund National CFRO Learning and Evaluation Period

The RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP), formerly the Canada Firearms Centre, recently announced that it will be funding a preliminary delivery and evaluation period for a new Canadian Firearms Registry Online: A Tool for Officer Safety course. Following release of the course later this month, CFP will sponsor a four month learning period which will be free to all frontline police and law enforcement officers in Canada.

First launched in 1998, the Canadian Firearms Registry Online (CFRO) system provides officers with immediate access to firearms license and registration information. This better prepares officers for service calls involving, or potentially involving, firearms and significantly contributes to the safety of officers and the general public. CFRO is also critical to the investigation of firearm-related crimes and the identification of lost or stolen firearms. The system is accessed on average 9,400 times per day by policing agencies across the country.

In 2007, as part of an initiative to understand how CFRO could be improved to better assist police services and to identify training needs, CFP conducted a survey of police officers from across Canada. Results from that survey indicated that while general duty police officers value the information provided by CFRO and it has a significant impact on day to day operations, many officers who employ it have never had formal training in its use. While an officer may know how to query the system, they may not fully understand how to interpret the results, which could possibly lead to an inappropriate intervention.

"Police departments have dramatically increased their use of CFRO in recent years," says Jeff Brandt, Registrar of Firearms at CFP. "The challenge now is to ensure police officers have received the necessary training to correctly use CFRO query results to improve their own and public safety."

Based on that survey and its mandate to develop a formal training program for CFRO, CFP, in collaboration with CPKN, have now created a one hour online course that focuses on query processes within the CFRO system, the various statuses associated with firearms, licenses, and certificates, and, using scenario-based exercises, instructs learners on how to interpret query results. The design and development of this course was funded by the Police Sector Council and CFP will fund an initial learning and evaluation period where data on learner feedback, completion rates, learner satisfaction, and recommendations for course improvements will be gathered and assessed.

"Without online delivery, we would never be able to provide frontline officers with this training in such a timely and cost-effective way," continues Brandt. "As we explore new offerings for online training, the evaluations from this course will allow us to directly assess learner response and incorporate that input into future courses."

This is CFP's second online offering through CPKN. The first, Firearms Identification for Public Agents, was released in 2008 and has had tremendous response from the police and law enforcement communities. Other courses in Firearms Verification and Firearms Safety are scheduled for development later this year.