There has to be a benign expression for a training vendor that discovers a niche and becomes a sole source provider. You know, the kind of organization that "certifies" professionals to perform a skill or function, dangling in front of departments the cover of "liability protection." It's one thing when the subject is firearms. It's quite another when it is about a bike.
I tried to apply for an instructor class at an internationally-known bike training entity and.... The application package was more daunting than the one I completed for admission to the New York bar. Among the documents I needed to submit was the reccomendation of the geu who conducted the training class I attended in 2001, and proof that I passed the written test with a 90%.
Are they on crack? I have no idea where to find the guy, who has left law enforcement to pursue other interests. And how the hell would I know what I got on a written test eight years ago. I passed, okay? You gave me a certificate, all right? So, what's all the other stuff about?
It's about the sole-source scarcity mentality. It's about income for the organization. It's about elitism.
I have no quarrel with a company trying to be profitable. It employs folks and provides valuable services to consumers. That much I understand.
But, in this case, police departments are the consumers and by definition so are the communities we serve. It is a standing joke that the way to increase the price of something is to stencil "police" on it. I bought a pair of gray gloves at Home Depot the other day for ten bucks that are virtually identical to a pair of $30 dollar gloves I bought for work. The difference? My work pair are black and say "Police" on them.
I ride my road bike about 3000 miles a year, and spend ten or more duty hours a week patrolling on a mountain bike. It is in my department's best interest to have an experienced bike trainer to mentor new riders and provide leadership to officers trying to use the bike to effectively patrol their beats. It shouldn't be this hard to find the training necessary to accomplish the goal. The training organization should be finding ways to help.
How is this serving the greater good of policing a free society?