During a budget briefing session in the mid-80s, State Senator Robert Presley commented that there seemed to be something missing in the POST training: a training program for criminal investigators.
Then POST Executive Director Norm Boehm directed a needs assessment to determine if such a program was necessary. The training needs assessment confirmed the need, and actions to design an investigative training program began.
There were several planning meetings in 1988, and the Core Course curriculum was created in 1989 and subsequently piloted. A key feature of the pilot presentations was the inclusion of fictitious criminal cases which students worked on throughout the course. All courses must be completed within ten years of the application date (excluding the Core Course).
In addition to the Core Course, foundation specialty courses were developed. To receive an ICI Certificate of Achievement, a student is required to complete the Core Course, a Foundation Specialty Course, and three Investigative Electives.
A decision was made in 1993 to train all of the instructional cadre and course administrators in experience-based learning in order to maximize skill development and retention. The facilitators for the ICI instructor training program are all POST Master Instructors.
In 1994, the Institute was formalized via P.C. 13519.9 which states "the Robert Presley Institute of Criminal Investigation will make available to criminal investigators of California's law enforcement agencies an advanced training program to meet the needs of working investigators."
Throughout the growth of ICI, there was no organized effort to revise the Core Course curriculum. Additionally, individual presenters implemented modifications that were based upon student evaluations and discussions with course instructors. The result of these changes was that the curriculum varied statewide. The effect of this variance was the possibility that officers from the same agency might get a different training experience by attending the core course in different locations. These concerns led to the decision to conduct a formal study examining the training needs of follow-up investigators.
In April 2002, the process of updating the Core Course curriculum began. In May, POST staff conducted a series of focus group meetings with follow-up investigators and investigative supervisors to determine current training needs. Ten focus group meetings were conducted involving a total of 104 individuals from 18 sheriff departments, 35 police departments and 4 other law enforcement agencies. The focus groups contributed valuable suggestions for updating the Core Course curriculum. Since that time, all ICI courses are updated on a regular basis and standardized throughout the State.
Since its inception, the motto of the ICI Program has been "Excellence in Instruction, Contemporary Curriculum." This operational philosophy is the driving force of the program because it focuses on providing an instructional cadre equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools to deliver training using methods that maximize understanding and retention. These skills are coupled with cutting-edge courses and a developmental process that is necessary for keeping abreast of rapidly changing criminality. The end goal is a highly trained and competent investigator who is able to meet the investigative challenges of the future.