Our Policy Management System Saved a Police Department

Lowell, Massachusetts is a U.S. city with an estimated population of 108,861. Lowell is the fourth largest Massachusetts city, and the second-largest in what the U.S. Census Bureau defines as the Boston metropolitan area, second only to Boston itself. Lowell was incorporated in 1826 and became known as the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution and is now home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a Carnegie-classified research university and the second largest public university in Massachusetts. The Lowell Police Department is made up of more than 300 police personnel with responsibility of providing police services throughout the community it serves.

The Challenge

From the Lowell Police Department’s perspective, there was never certainty whether the entire department was briefed and up-to-date on current policies and regulations. Whenever there was an incident requiring an investigation there were always questions revolving around whether current policies and procedures were followed and whether those police officials involved in the incident, were in fact briefed and understood the department’s current, applicable policies and procedures.

From the police officer or front-line police department personnel perspective, even when acting in good faith, in their attempt to strictly adhere to the department’s current policies and procedures, they could never be certain if they had been briefed on and were in fact adhering to the department’s current policies and procedures.

Despite the best efforts of the Police Chief and senior police officials, as well as the front-line department employees and police officers themselves to stay current on the department’s policies and procedures relying on: Intranet postings, email dissemination, regular briefings, and other more traditional methods of distribution, there were always lingering doubts with regard to whether current polices and procedures were effectively understood, and followed when there was a high profile incident. Thus, both the department as well as the front-line police officers and personnel were routinely exposed, subject to negative publicity and worse, a difficult legal hurdle to overcome whenever an incident warranted close scrutiny.

The Solution

The department’s Information Technology Director recognized the department had a problem that technology may be able to solve and pro-actively undertook a search for a technological solution.

The search lead to ComplianceBridge, policy management system. Even though such a solution was not widely implemented in police departments across the country, the department’s Information Technology Director felt such a solution could meet the department’s requirements.

If such a solution were proven to deliver on its promise it would provide a high level of security as well as legal protection both the department as well as to every police department employee, ensuring that everyone was always current on the department’s policies and procedures and that they were always equipped with the appropriate policies and procedures to follow under any circumstance.

The Results

To quote the department’s Information Technology Director, the ComplianceBridge policy management system “simply works, it does everything it is advertised to do, designed in a way that couldn’t be more intuitive to access from an end-user perspective or easier to implement from an IT perspective”.

The ComplianceBridge application has provided the Lowell Police Department the capability to now ensure the effective and efficient electronic dissemination of current policies and procedures to all police personnel. It also provides a complete electronic and reportable audit trail so that senior department officials can always be current on precisely who has received and acknowledged their understanding of department policies and procedures, and who needs to receive automated reminders to do so.

Additionally, the application makes all the department’s current policies and procedures accessible to all police personnel from their: smartphones, tablets, or PCs, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Thus, even in the course of a shift, when an incident occurs, all police officials, especially front-line police personnel as well as police officers, always have immediate access to the current policies and procedures they are expected to follow, readily accessible at their fingertips.

At first, like any organizational change, implementation of the ComplianceBridge policy management system was treated with some trepidation and fear when all police personnel were all of a sudden required to read, understand, and acknowledge electronically, their understanding of all department policies and procedures. However, the initial fear and trepidation was soon replaced with a strong embrace of the solution as they recognized the value and the security in the certainty of knowing they were always current in all the department’s policy and procedures. Even in the midst of an incident, the current and applicable policies and procedures are now always immediately accessible from a smartphone, tablet, or issued PC to ensure that handling of incidents are in total compliance to current department policies and procedures.

Likewise from the Police Chief on down, there is now comfort in knowing that all police personnel are current in their knowledge of police department policies and procedures and that this critical information is always at the fingertips of, and being accessed by all front-line personnel, in the course of performing their assigned duties 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

From an IT perspective, delivering such a capability to the police department couldn’t have been easier. Being a cloud-based and hosted application there is no hardware to purchase, manage or troubleshoot. The technical skills required to manage and maintain the application are minimal. Any personnel with a strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office can readily administer the system with the provided training.

Going beyond the application itself, the initial product training and implementation support, as well as the ongoing product support from ComplianceBridge has been truly outstanding and we could never expect more, especially from a product that is truly so affordable to license and maintain.

To once again quote the department’s Information Technology Director, the ComplianceBridge policy management system has been so successful here, we take every opportunity to promote the application to other police departments we interact with. We truly believe that the ComplianceBridge application should be a staple in every law enforcement organization across the United States and even globally, as it truly provides a much needed solution to the challenges facing law enforcement officials everywhere.