Founded in 1973, the Augusta University (GA) Police Department creates a safe and secure community environment for university faculty, staff, students, patients and visitors. The department has been using Lexipol since 2017.
For years, the Augusta University Police Department (AUPD) struggled to keep their policies updated. Following every change in the law seemed impossible. “The platform we were using was not providing policy updates,” says Major Eugene Maxwell. “Our policies generally didn’t change until we were getting ready for an inspection for accreditation.”
The out-of-date policies were something Chief James Lyon recognized right away when he joined the department in 2016. “Coming into a new organization, you want to assess where you are,” Chief Lyon says. “I felt like the policies weren’t getting the attention they needed.”
Recognizing the risk involved when operating in this manner, Chief Lyon was ready to act. “You ask yourself, at what point do you update those policies and at what point does this become a priority? The truth of the matter is, it typically becomes a priority when somebody makes a mistake and you find out you don’t have a policy that covers the situation at hand.”
Coming from an institution in Chicago that used Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policies and Training solution, Chief Lyon knew right away where to go in terms of transitioning the department to a more robust system. “I knew Lexipol could help us be more forward-thinking and forward-leaning and would monitor our policy and procedure manual for updates,” he says.
Chief Lyon assigned Major Maxwell to oversee the transition to Lexipol’s Georgia Law Enforcement policies. To help the implementation go smoothly, the agency purchased assistance through Lexipol’s Implementation Services. “It helped to have somebody assist with policy modifications and timing,” Major Maxwell says. “They were able to tell us what we needed to accomplish before we actually went live.”
To easily edit policies and issue changes to staff, AUPD uses Lexipol’s online Knowledge Management System (KMS) and the mobile app. “KMS is easy to use and makes it easy to modify policies,” Major Maxwell says. “If I’m not familiar with what policy covers a certain topic, I can go to the search function and find it.”
With the mobile app, AUPD has access to policy content from any device, 24/7. “I tell my officers they don’t have to be sitting in the office to review policies. If they are out in the field and they need a question answered, they can always go to the app, find the policy and get some direction or procedure. The app ensures they get the right information when they need it,” Chief Lyon says.
AUPD is also using Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs) to train officers on the application of the department’s policies to real-world situations. “I really like the DTBs. They make so much sense to me because you have policies out there and if nobody is confirming that they’ve read and acknowledged the policies, they’re worthless,” Chief Lyon says. “With DTBs, we are making them read it and think about it. It brings it to the forefront of their mind. Especially with high-risk policy such as use of force.”
With Lexipol, AUPD changed from the inside out. “From my perspective, it’s heightened the level of professionalism within our department because we know we are operating at the highest level and with the best policies that are out there,” Chief Lyon says. “I view Lexipol’s policies as more of a service than a product because it’s providing a high level of service to our agency. It’s providing risk prevention to our officers, our agency and our university. It’s very cost effective because you’re not pouring a bunch of time and staffing into policy development.”
Calling to mind the massive AUPD policy manual from earlier years, Major Maxwell is fully supportive of the transition to Lexipol. “I know what most agencies in Georgia use and it doesn’t match what Lexipol can do,” he says. “With Lexipol, I know our policies are updated with new federal and state law. I wouldn’t go back. It’s the best decision we could have made.”