In March 2004, John Arnold, Chief Scientist, Canadian Police Research Centre, convened a meeting of 20 police training leaders from across the country to discuss plans for the launch of policelearn.com (PLC). PLC did not survive the meeting, but something better was born.
This was a room full of like-minded individuals who believed technology enhanced learning was a tool needed in police training. However, none of the organizations represented had the resources and know-how to do it themselves. They were highly motivated to forge a national eLearning service provider, based on a collaborative model.
By the end of the three-day meeting, PLC had joined the Justice Knowledge Network (JKN), a research and development project operated by Prince Edward Island’s Holland College. Together, they created the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN).
By October 2004, CPKN launched its service, using a brand-new Learning Management System with four courses in the catalogue.
It was an exciting time. The landscape was completely different back then and e-learning was the epitome of disruptive innovation.
Fast forward 20 years, and here we are.
In some ways, it seems like the blink of an eye. I have no doubt John Arnold and that group of 20 training leaders would say CPKN surpassed our wildest dreams. CPKN has assumed an extraordinary role as part of the fabric of the policing community in the country.
CPKN is a pan-Canadian success story. It’s a business-like not-for-profit that has proven financially viable while providing products and services to the police community at much less than the market-based costs. The collaborative nature of CPKN allows it to be more effective and efficient than any one service could do on their own.
More importantly, CPKN is no longer that start-up stand-alone organization. It has become a network of relationships, with highly competent and productive staff at its core, governed by a Board of Directors made up of police leaders and a National Advisory Committee consisting of training practitioners from across the country. The Network also includes all the police services and related public safety partner organizations that comprise CPKN’s user base.
CPKN exists today because the police community felt it was needed and they put in the work to make it happen. ‘For police, by police’ was the motto. There are too many people who were involved in the success of CPKN to single anyone out but we stand on their shoulders. They are the stars of this anniversary.
20 years. Simply amazing.
Now, what does the next 20 look like?