The Theory of Andragogy Applied to Police Training

Michael L. Birzer, Washburn University
David H. McElreath, Washburn University

Police training is an important tool in the process of facilitating change within police organizations. With the further implementation of community oriented policing strategies in many American police agencies, the transaction of training becomes a critical centerpiece. Traditionally, the majority of subjects in the police-training classroom have been taught utilizing behavioral approaches which may not be effective when teaching evolving police curriculum which has been presented under the axiom of community oriented policing. Police trainers have also relied heavily on lecture-centered approaches when teaching both neophyte and veteran officers. Police trainers might benefit from a more student-centered instructional format when teaching many police related subjects. This manuscript examines incorporating the theory of andragogy in police training. Furthermore, the manuscript will identify particular characteristics about the learning transaction in the police-training classroom. Andragogical approaches applied in the police training classroom may help officers become more self-directed and in so doing reflect the trend towards community oriented policing.

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Updated 05/20/2006