The 102nd Legislature passed LB 817 (rolled into LB 1046) that mandates all Nebraska law enforcement officers receive a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education annually. The bill was signed into law. To implement our processes for executing continuing education compliance, the Police Standards Advisory Council adopted Chapter 17.
In essence, the law requires all Nebraska certified and reserve officers to obtain a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education in the areas of criminal justice or law enforcement annually. This includes Nebraska agencies that use special deputy state sheriffs. The reporting period will run from January 1 to December 31 each calendar year. By law, only 10 hours of continuing education credit can be counted from classes taken on “the internet” towards the 20 hour minimum.
Law enforcement agency police chiefs and sheriffs decide what law enforcement related training counts towards the continuing education requirement for their own agency. Existing agency in-service training programs, any training at a police academy, regional law enforcement training opportunities, professional conferences and seminars, internet or web-based training programs, and university or college courses count toward the annual requirement.
The agency head determines if training:
- is delivered by local resources or away,
- is classroom or practical application based,
- consists of watching a video, using web resources, or a combination of any training delivery systems,
- involves partnering with other agencies, such as local fire, EMS, Emergency Management, or other law enforcement agencies,
- any combination of the above excluding shooting the annual state firearms qualification.
The rule does not require travel to attend any training, mandated minimums in specific topical areas, use of ‘state certified instructors’ (except firearms instructors for the state qualification shoot), or submission of classes or lesson plans for pre-approval. The agency head determines agency training needs and implements the training plan for his or her agency.
The annual continuing education report to the Training Center has been incorporated into the existing firearms report that agencies are already familiar with. An on-line reporting option for both firearms and continuing education is available using your NCJIS account. The annual reports will contain a check-off and attestation from the agency head that each officer has received the minimum 20 hours of training. Agencies have the option and can use either the paper firearms report with the check off boxes or the new on-line version.
The rule provides for waivers to the continuing education law for the same reasons as is used to waive the annual state firearms qualification shoot. One waiver can be used to excuse an officer from one or both the continuing education and firearms requirements. The Council would review these each February following a reporting period, the same as is currently done for firearms. A copy of the waiver is enclosed or available on-line.
To ensure the training is being delivered and properly documented in training files, the rule provides that the training center director shall audit a random number of agencies annually. The director is also required to conduct a training needs assessment survey every three years. Sheriffs still must comply with the reporting as they have done in past years to document their continuing education until such time as their requirement is incorporated into this reporting process. It will require a change in Crime Commission Operating Instruction (50-31).
Opportunities for training and web-based training can be found on our webpage under the training calendar tab.