Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network (PAVTN)

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): PA

Grantee Agency: See below

Subgrantee Agency: Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2009/$300,000; FY 2010/$443,642

About the Program:

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's FYs 2009/10 and 2010/11 budgets included drastic funding cuts for law enforcement training. Similar reductions also occurred with many municipal budgets.

These fiscal cuts spurred immediate interest in developing and providing web-based training as a way to supplement current law enforcement mandatory and elective training efforts. Online training and/or distance learning is used extensively in many educational entities including accredited colleges and universities and even with other state and federal entities such as the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency formed a steering committee of stakeholders and began the process of developing the Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network (PAVTN) in late 2011.

As a result, the PAVTN opened in January 2012 with strong partnerships including the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To date, 12 courses were developed and are available online. About 5,367 officers have completed coursework totaling 7,245 hours of instruction. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), when asked questions about user satisfaction, 4 or higher has been the average score.

In January 2013, the PAVTN will open two additional courses. This will allow completion of the four courses required by municipal police officers to maintain their certification from the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission. These two courses, "Legal Updates 2013" and "Search & Seizure" are anticipated to increase the number of PAVTN registered users to as many as 10,000. These courses will be followed with four more: "Understanding Protection from Abuse Orders," "Stalking Cases," "Using PASAVIN," and "Using the Commonwealth Facial Recognition System."

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Benefits of the Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network include: the ability to keep records and report the results not just after a training but to historically see what the training provided, who received the training, and how well they scored on test and exams. Another benefit of the Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network is its ability to survey the trainees to understand who is taking the training, how they perceive the training, and measure some of the cost savings. In terms of travel to training cost savings, it was calculated that almost $70,000 was saved in the first 6 months of operation. The result of these surveys shows that users of the Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network are very positive about this online training, and 99 percent of those surveyed indicated that they would recommend online training to fellow officers.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Christopher Braun
Technology Coordinator
Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association
Phone: 717-236-1059


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