Instructor Development

Scenario Development


Michael Warren

May 19, 2022

May 19, 2022

The day for reality-based training is quickly approaching. And you have been tasked with developing the scenarios that will be used on that incredibly important day.

But you, for lack of a better term, have writer’s block. You want the training to be impactful, but you are at a loss. If you’re like most of us (me) this is the point where you reach for last year’s training scenarios. Or maybe from a couple years ago. That is if proper records are kept - but that’s a topic for another blog.

Instead of reaching for last year’s material or simply doing the same old scenarios over again let me encourage you to reach someplace else. The policy manual.

I know, I know. In most agencies you can’t “reach” for it because it is in electronic format. But you know what I mean.

As a trainer you should be intimately familiar with it in the first place. Your training should be designed to influence behavior to adhere to the contents of the manual. Even so, take a deeper dive with a different perspective.

What actions and activities does your manual demand of your people? Pay special attention to the word “shall” - those activities are non-discretionary. But don’t neglect “should” either.

For example, many (most) agencies have a “duty to intervene” policy. If an agency member observes unethical and/or illegal behavior on the part of another member, they “shall” intervene. One scenario that should be part of every agency that has a “duty to intervene” policy is one that requires the student to intervene. The sooner the necessity for intervention is identified and undertaken the less “force” will be required.

While we are on that topic, if your agency requires “all” members or any member other than sworn to undertake intervention activities, those folks must be a part of intervention training. We can’t demand action without providing the training on all aspects of that action.

What does your agency require post-Taser deployment? Or when dealing with a member of the press? Or while providing perimeter security at the scene of a high-risk search warrant?

Remember: policy alone doesn’t direct activity. Policy coupled with training does. So, when you’re looking for an impactful scenario to use, be sure to look in your policy manuals for ideas. There are lots of them there. You just need to find them.