Stanhope 2009 in Review

The Stanhope Conference continues to be a progressive learning experience for the Canadian police community. On October 6th and 7th, 60 delegates from 38 policing services and agencies across Canada gathered in Stanhope, Prince Edward Island to discuss and shape the future of online training for Canada's frontline police community.

"We continue to be impressed by the diversity of representation and level of engagement this conference produces," says Sandy Sweet, President of CPKN. "Despite the small-scale format of this event, we've found the size of the group is highly conducive to networking, sharing ideas, challenges, and issues."

Co-hosted by CPKN and the Police Sector Council, the third annual Stanhope Conference agenda covered a range of topics, from the practical challenges of implementing e-learning to a fast-forward look to the technologies and innovations that are coming down the line. As an added feature, a pre-conference 'e-Learning 101' workshop was delivered to provide an overview of the fundamental theories and development processes involved in developing online training courses.

"This conference has become widely recognized as a networking opportunity to openly share information and knowledge, to establish relationships with other agencies, and to exchange good ideas about online training for frontline personnel," says Geoff Gruson of the Police Sector Council. "It has become a key means of keeping services focused and up-to-date on the state of e-learning in Canadian policing."

Another major component of the conference is the identification and selection of priority training topics for e-learning development under the Police Sector Council's national e-learning program. This year, a new process was initiated whereby any policing service or agency could submit topic proposals for consideration. These topics were then voted on according to relevance, priority, and risk factors. Results of voting on the fourteen submitted topics are currently being analyzed; outcomes will be published on the conference website.

The second annual Black Socks Awards was also a conference highlight. Established to recognize leadership among Canadian policing agencies in the adoption of e-learning, the highly coveted Black Socks are bestowed upon those organizations who have demonstrated proactive attitudes and actions in making e-learning a part of their training curriculums. This year, three new organizations were inducted to the Order: Ontario Police Video Training Association (accepted by Jamie Saunders and Michael Knight); Ontario Provincial Police (accepted by John Tod); Halton Regional Police Service (accepted by Duncan Foot).

"There was a lot to take in over this two day event, but in the end, what struck me most was how far we've already come", says Sweet. "In the two short years since the first Stanhope Conference, the Canadian police community has made incredible advances in its adoption and uptake of e-learning. I believe it's the relationships and networks of knowledge sharing that are at the core of that progress. And while it's impossible to keep pace with ever-evolving technologies, I think we'll surprise ourselves in how much further along the continuum we'll be in another two years."