Selecting a Project Manager for Your Policy Implementation Project

Policy implementation - LexipolSo, you’ve decided to embark on a full-scale rewrite of your organization’s policies. You might think your success depends solely on the content you use to develop policies. And certainly, high-quality content is essential to new policy implementation (which is why so many agencies use Lexipol’s state-specific, legally defensible policies).

But there’s another critical aspect to consider: who will manage the project. In very small agencies, this task may fall to the chief, but most organizations will need to designate someone who can devote more time to the project. And due to the complex nature of policy implementation, not just anyone will do.

Our experience working with thousands of agencies, big and small, has provided some insight into the qualities you should consider—and some you might want to avoid.

What You Want
1. Commitment to/Support for the Project
Your project manager should be someone who has wholeheartedly accepted the assignment and is a committed advocate for the project. Put simply: They want the job! In addition, they should be able to motivate others to care about policy and the process of producing good policy.

2. Facilitation Skills
The policy implementation project involves bringing together various stakeholders and their differing perspectives and opinions. Therefore, your project manager should be an open-minded individual who can facilitate productive conversations to produce consensus. This includes someone with good listening and communication skills, who is not afraid to (respectfully) ask difficult questions and work to find the answers.

3. Detailed/Organized
There are idea people and then there are people who can work to implement big ideas. Your policy manager should be the latter. You need someone who understands the scope of the project but brings the necessary attention to detail, organizational skills, and goal-setting ability to keep the project moving forward.

4. Availability/Time Management
Whoever you pick to lead this project must be able to devote the necessary time and to manage their time effectively. Aim for someone who will not only be able to come prepared to all scheduled meetings, but has time outside of meetings to devote to policy review and discussion. Note that this may eliminate high-ranking personnel who may have too many other obligations to make the necessary commitment (though they’ll still provide input during the review/approval workflow process).

5. Authority
Having the ability and the authority to make project decisions with minimal consultations is critical to the success of your policy implementation project manager. Ensure this person has the full support and delegation of the agency executive and sufficient status in the organization to hold people to deadlines.

6. Experience/Technical Expertise
The best project managers bring a broad base of experience within both public safety and the organization. Such experience is vital to being able to relate practical experiences to proposed policies. They should be familiar with your current policy content and your agency’s goals and objectives, and ideally have some experience with risk management and/or policy management.

What You Don’t Want
1. In it for the wrong reasons
If possible, avoid assigning the policy implementation project to someone on light duty who doesn’t really want to do this. The project should also not be assigned to someone as a punishment or because they did something wrong. Similarly, resist the temptation to name a newly minted sergeant, lieutenant or company officer who is out to prove themselves. You need a true advocate and someone with a passion for making the agency better through policy.

2. Too siloed within the agency
As noted above, the best project managers have a broad understanding of and experience with the agency. Try to avoid designating someone who is an “administrative wonk,” with no appreciation for operations. On the other hand, the manager should not be so operations-minded that they have no appreciation for administration.

3. Resistant to the project
Some personnel think policies are a way to “trap” and discipline members or keep them “under control.” Others may be overly defensive of existing policies, believe that change is unnecessary, or express the sentiment “that’s just the way we do things.” Try to avoid assigning the project to anyone with these mindsets. As noted above, you need someone who will be a staunch advocate for the new manual and the process of working through policy review.

Implementing new policies is really all about project management. Taken as a whole, it can be intimidating and the end result can seem like it’s years away. But the right project manager will break down the project into manageable tasks, while maintaining a schedule that’s feasible but drives progress. Much of the hard work is on the front end; once you get a rhythm going for policy review and adoption, it’s smooth sailing.

But first, you have to make sure you have the right captain for the ship!

Can’t find the right person inside your organization to manage your policy implementation project? Lexipol’s Implementation Services staff can provide start-to-finish project management assistance. Contact us today for more information.

Policy Implementation - Vigo County Sheriff's Office Case Study

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Jim Franklin, Executive Director
Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, MN

"Lexipol is, indeed, ahead of the curve with their unique risk management solutions in law enforcement. The Minnesota Sheriffs' Association has been eagerly anticipating the release of the Lexipol Custody Manual. Lexipol meets the needs of law enforcement and custodial agencies by recognizing the emerging challenges facing our agencies, and providing comprehensive tools and resources to reduce liability and risk in a professional and highly efficient manner. The Minnesota Sheriffs' Association is proud of its continued partnership with Lexipol."

Chief Steven Vaccaro
Mokena (IL) Police Department

“If you compare Lexipol to other policy providers, Lexipol is the only one that has policy that has been vetted by other chiefs, industry experts and lawyers. All you have to do is tailor the policies to your agency’s needs.”

Captain Jesus Ochoa
Coronado (CA) Police Department

“Knowing that Lexipol is keeping our policies current means that there isn’t something else for us to worry about. We can focus on our jobs. That definitely gives us peace of mind.”

Chief Joseph Morris
Arapahoe Community College (CO) Police Department

“Officers are not infallible. We have limited memories like everyone else. Working under stress presents more challenges. There are times we need to access policies in the field so we are comfortable in our decision making. The mobile application has been great for this!”

Lt. Victor Pecoraro
Auburn (CA) Police Department

“The updates are super easy because you can pop them open, see the redline versions and be able to edit it on the fly. Once I learned I could do that, I was excited.”

Chief Corry Blount
Bartonville (TX) Police Department

“I feel comfortable that when we issue a policy, it covers what it needs to cover. It’s the most comprehensive policy content I’ve used in my career.”

Chief Greg Knott
Basalt (CO) Police Department

“Lexipol gives you peace of mind because the policies that you’re implementing have been reviewed by professionals in the field and by attorneys—not just your agency’s legal counsel.”

Lt. Ed Alvarez
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) (CA) Police Department

“I like the mobile app because it tells me no matter where I am when I have updates to complete or when people take the DTBs. No matter where I am, I have access. The officers can get real-time updates. Everything is at their fingertips, any time.”

Assistant Chief Bill Holmer
Glen Ellyn (IL) Police Department

“It’s a no-brainer for me. Someone is watching for changes to laws for me, and then tweaking the content based on those changes or updates in best practices.”

Deputy Chief Robin Passwater
Kankakee (IL) Police Department

“If you don’t have Lexipol, even with a full-time person dedicated to policy, there’s almost no way you can keep updated on all the laws and also have the training component. It’s an excellent system.”

Commander Leslie Burns
Mercer Island (WA) Police Department

“Lexipol provides a huge advantage for agencies pursuing accreditation. The tools take about 60% of the difficulty out of the accreditation process. If you want to be accredited, this is the way to do it.”

Chief Steven Vaccaro
Mokena (IL) Police Department

“If you compare Lexipol to other policy providers, Lexipol is the only one that has policy that has been vetted by other chiefs, industry experts and lawyers. All you have to do is tailor the policies to your agency’s needs.”

Chief Ralph Maher
Oak Creek (CO) Police Department

“With Lexipol, I know our policy manual is going to be up to date. I can turn my back on it today and tomorrow there will be any needed updates waiting for me. That allows me to focus on some of the other things I have to do as a chief.”

Chief Jeff Wilson
Orofino (ID) Police Department

“The Lexipol Policy Manual is easy to use, it’s convenient and you have peace of mind knowing that you have a thorough manual that is going to stand up to any challenge the agency may face.”

Chief Kelly Stillman
Rocky River (OH) Police Department

“I can’t say enough about the positives from a chief’s perspective. I don’t know why everyone isn’t with Lexipol.”

Deputy Chief John McGinty
Simi Valley (CA) Police Department

“You get sued for your policies or you get sued for your actions, or both. You can only do so much about actions. But having Lexipol gives me confidence that if we draw a lawsuit, our policies won’t come under attack.”

Sheriff Gerald Antinoro
Storey County (NV) Sheriff’s Office

“Lexipol is one of the best products I have seen in my 30+ years in law enforcement.”

Lt. Lauren Osborne
Surry County (NC) Sheriff’s Office

“If there’s a change as a result of case law, or a procedure that needs to change, Lexipol does the legwork, sends it to us, we approve it and send it out to our people for acknowledgement—and it’s all documented.”

Chief David Maine
The Village of Hunting Valley (OH) Police Department

“What we had before Lexipol had been around for years. It was like every other policy manual I had seen: It didn’t get the updates it needed. The Lexipol manual is a living, breathing document.”

Captain Jeff Schneider
Yakima (WA) Police Department

“KMS tracks and logs when people acknowledge and accept updates, which is very important, and it lets us track who isn’t getting the updates so we can give them the appropriate attention.”

Chief John Defore
Hiawatha, KS

“By offering 365 daily training bulletins to my officers, I am saving far more than the cost of the software every year. In fact, I was able to show my commissioners a cost savings by utilizing Lexipol for our policy and policy training needs.”

Lt. Craig Capps
White County (TN) Sheriff's Office

"I would recommend Lexipol to any law enforcement agency, whether three-person or 2,000-person—it makes no difference. The program works.”

Sheriff Blaine Breshears
Morgan County (UT) Sheriff's Office

“We had a use of force lawsuit, and as soon as the attorneys discovered that we have Lexipol, they said, ‘We won’t have an issue there.’ Our policies were never in question.”

Chief Deputy Klint Anderson
Weber County (UT) Sheriff's Office

“We spent a considerable amount of money and effort trying to develop and maintain comprehensive and legally based policies and procedures. Lexipol has relieved us of that burden and provided us with a policy system that we have great confidence in and that we can tailor to suit our particular goals and community standards.”

Sgt. Bryan Ward
Cumberland County (PA) Sheriff's Office

"Calling Lexipol an insurance policy doesn’t do it justice, because it doesn’t capture the enormous power that partnering with Lexipol provides.”

Chief Deputy Ray Saylo
Carson City (NV) Sheriff's Office

"It’s a huge priority of this administration to teach policy to our sergeants, and Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletins help us do that. We are constantly drilling into them that policy will protect them as an individual officer. If they ensure that their people are following policy, even if they’re sued, they will be OK.”

Major Jeff Fox
Vigo County (IN) Sheriff's Office

“Lexipol’s Implementation Services program was key to getting our manuals off the shelf. If it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t be implemented today. Departments should recognize their limitations and realize that they likely don’t have the resources to do it on their own. Implementation Services is key to getting it done.”

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