LEAPS.TV About LEAPS.TV
LEAPS.TV was founded by Jim Cavanagh in December 2008. Jim is a career telecom and networking veteran who has designed and implemented corporate, national and global networks for over 30 years. He worked extensively with traditional telephone networks, added the early X.25 networks to his skill set and quickly adopted IP networks and the Internet when they came into fashion. Jim has also worked with an array of other networking, communications and computer technologies, has become widely recognized for his network and physical infrastructure security skills as well as his ability to communicate the most complex information clearly and unambiguously to a wide range of audiences. Jim is the author or editor of six books and hundreds of articles. He has appeared at dozens of trade shows and conferences. He has trained thousands of persons.
Jim was scheduled to teach a VoIP course in Plano, Texas in June of 2005 and through a scheduling error it turned out that the one and only student was a technical manager for a Texas 911 District. Ever-focused on customer service Jim went ahead with the class of one but also invited two other 911 people to round out the training. Jim made a point that, as a Knowledge Transfer Agent, Jim doesn't do training, as such, but, rather, carries on a conversation with slides in which all parties gain knowledge.
Jim learned a lot that day, as did the class participants. Subsequently Jim noticed that attendance by 911 personnel in his Texas VoIP classes was growing and when he looked at the end-of-class evaluation sheets the ratings were consistently high and often included the comment that the class would be better with more 911-specific content.
Jim added 911 content and eventually was drafted by APCO as a collaborator and source of unbiased, vendor-independent knowledge on VoIP as it relates to public safety. Jim consulted with the APCO Board of Directors and made numerous presentations at national, regional and state conferences including a key note address at the first APCO Winter Conference in Orlando in January 2005. Jim also did numerous presentations for NENA conferences at the regional and state levels. All of this was done at no cost to APCO, NENA or any other organizations.
At this point Jim felt he had made his investment and decided that sufficient interest and demand existed so he created the Training Institute for Public Safety (911 TIPS). Under the 911 TIPS banner Jim did traditional training, continued to write articles and did webinars on technical topics of interest to 911. Jim also added Australia to his regular destinations, presented at APCO Australasia (APCOA) conferences and the Australian equivalent of the FCC and otherwise established good relations down under, resulting in a sole-source contract to provide IP and VoIP training for all of the New Zealand emergency calling, police, fire and emergency services.
The Birth of LEAPS.TV
In the fall of 2008 the great momentum the Training Institute for Public Safety (TIPS) had developed began to slow and then to nearly cease entirely. Clients went mute, training bookings fell to a trickle and even attendance for online webinars dropped substantially. What had happened? Dozens of calls and emails confirmed that training budgets were largely exhausted for the year and had, in many cases, been slashed for the following year. Training was no less needed but the money didn't exist for back-fill, overtime or travel. In many cases funds weren't even there for the training itself. Additional research showed that the situation was not much better beyond 911: while some law enforcement and public safety agencies were not hit so hard the majority were suffering and even considering reductions in force, lay-offs of non-sworn staff and other measures.
What could be done? Jim began to ask everyone he could: What solution would they wish for if they could wish for anything? He asked PSAP managers, 911 supervisors and board members, police and fire chiefs, sheriffs, training officers and other individuals within law enforcement and public safety and very quickly a pattern emerged. What they were consistently wishing for was effective, information-rich training, at the desk, available twenty four hours per day, seven days per week and, if possible, free of charge or at least very inexpensive. Was there such a solution?
Jim collaborated with Tom Johnson - Jim's long time friend and a producer of computer-based training with whom Jim had worked for many years - and they brainstormed on a solution. The effective, information-rich training was not difficult. The computer-based training tools that Jim and Tom had used for many, many years would meet those requirements. The at the desk 24x7 part wasn't a problem because the Internet could replace diskettes, CDs and VHS tapes as a delivery mechanism. The remaining question was the free or very inexpensive aspect. Inexpensive might be possible if enough learners shared the cost of the training - quite possible with the large scalability of the Internet - but the free part seemed unachievable. A search for a solution to the free part caused Jim to suggest the use of the television model: sponsors pay for the programs and the viewers can view for free. The Law Enforcement And Public Safety ... TV (LEAPS.TV) channel was born.
LEAPS.TV Start Up Phase (December 2008 to December 2009)
LEAPS.TV has no outside investors or share holders and is, therefore, answerable to no one but ourselves and our law enforcement and public safety audience. In order to prove that our concept was viable LEAPS.TV acted as the sponsor for all early programs, and even today we self-fund many programs that we feel are of particular value to our audience.
Three very fotunate hiring events occured during the early days of our operation. Tom Kelly joined the staff as our Sponsor Relationship Manager, bringing with him a substantial skill set from having built, operated and sold a very successful web business and working on the I LOVE NY campaign and soon added the role of Syndication Manager. The second fortunate event was the addition of John Kies to the staff. John became our first liaison, the Sheriff & Police Liaison, US East. Tom subsequently took on the role of Sheriff And Police Liaison, US West, in addition to his two other roles and together Tom and John worked tirelessly to assure that LEAPS.TV was providing our audiences with the content that they need and providing guidance and collaboration on a wide variety of programs. A third event occured during the first two years of operation that was noteworthy and this one occured very slowly and deliberately. The Training Institute for Public Safety (911 TIPS) and then LEAPS.TV had an excellent and improving relationship with a 911 professional in Wisconsin. This individual worked with both APCO and NENA, had the respect of his peers and is a very creative and resourceful individual. Eventually, and one might say inevitably, Al Blencoe joined the LEAPS.TV team. Vernon Brokke, John Graves and Tom Steele also joined the LEAPS.TV team late in the second year.
LEAPS.TV Year Two (December 2009 to December 2010)
By Year Two the LEAPS.TV channel had evolved into the LEAPS.TV network, a network of eight separate channels, serving the needs of Sheriff & Police, Fire & Rescue, Emergency Calling, Emergency Management, Public Health & Emergency Medical, Homeland Security & Border Protection, Jail & Corrections and Campus & School Security. Through these eight channels LEAPS.TV's reach was growing to new audiences and LEAPS.TV continued our never-ending mission of delivering free and low-cost law enforcement and public safety training: 100% online. Year Two was an exciting year of growth and development as the number of agencies using LEAPS.TV programs as a source of training grew and the libary of programs grew in parallel. And, along with the growth of the program library LEAPS.TV made another important decision which would influence programming from that point forward: LEAPS.TV began using Program Advisors and program ratings jumped nearly a full point. LEAPS.TV programs were now at the target level of content quality - on average 4.4 to 5.0 on a 5 point scale - and began focusing on cosmetic aspects of the programs and ease of access. Another landmark event occurred in spring of 2010. Jim received a call from the US Department of Justice on a Thursday morning asking him to be in Washington, DC for a meeting at 1000 hours the following Tuesday morning. Jim accepted the invitation and called Tom Kelly, asking Tom to join him. TomK, as he is known within LEAPS.TV inquired as to the topic of the meeting. Jim said he didn't know and that any invitation to the US DOJ had to be good news. The ever-prepared TomK made some additional inquiries and determined that the meeting was with the DOJ Bureau of Justice Affairs Suspicious Activity Reporting Program Management Office and assured that one of LEAPS.TV's partner organizations was also in attendance. Jim and TomK learned that LEAPS.TV had a lot of fans within DOJ and that DOJ was considering LEAPS.TV as the sole (later changed to prime) online delivery mechanism for the SAR training with a target of 800,000 front line officers. DOJ made a point of the fact that LEAPS.TV is not an overly commercial site, there are no pop-ups, no tracking cookies, no Google ads or any other distractions from learning. LEAPS.TV was given the sole-source contract, based on the uniqueness of our approach to delivering knowledge, and the DOJ SAR Prgoram was launched on LEAPS.TV in August 2010.
Another important relationship that had been nurtured by John Kies, a relationship with the National Sheriff's Association (NSA), began to bear fruit. LEAPS.TV co-produced a program with the NSA featuring NSA's Medical Advisor on a topic on the NSA's list of top 5 objectives for the following year. The program is entitled Fit to Serve - Obesity and Other Health Issues for Law Enforcement And Public Safety which debuted simultaneously on LEAPS.TV and at the NSA annual conference in Anaheim. And, while the program was a cooperative effort of LEAPS.TV and NSA the program featured segments for 9-1-1, police and fire in addition to the sheriffs and their deputies.
The year ended for John Kies with one final major event, the establishment of the DeKalb County Public Safety Private Training Channel, the first Private Training Channel, the goals of which, as DeKalb County Public Safety Director William Wiz Miller pointed out, were to drive down costs, drive up the quality and consistency of law enforcement and public safety in DeKalb County and enhance retention by emphasizing training as a key component of the job as opposed to some mandated add-on.
LEAPS.TV Year Three (December 2010 to December 2011)
Details of Year Three will be provided after December 2011 when the results of 2011 have truly been assessed and put into their proper perspective.