Located in the Pittsburgh metro area, the Castle Shannon Police Department (CSPD) has been using Lexipol since 2016. The department’s 14 sworn officers protect a population of 8,300.
Chief Ken Truver made policy a priority from his first days at the CSPD. After retiring from another agency, he became CSPD chief in 2009. With his new position came the task of updating the department’s policies.
“At that time, the department’s policy manual was not digital, it was a 4-inch binder of legacy policy content, some of it dating back decades,” Chief Truver says. “I brought some fresh ideas for policy and procedure from my previous agency, so I started updating some of the antiquated policies through General Orders.”
Although he focused on the most important policies, such as those relating to officer safety and liability risk, Chief Truver was unable to make much progress. “I was trying to write new policy and update the old policy, incorporating current accreditation standards and case law,” he says. “But I’m a working chief. Trying to do all that while handling the other responsibilities was challenging. As soon as I would write a General Order or a policy, I’d be circling back to update it. I was treading water, running in place.”
After attending risk management presentations by Lexipol co-founder Gordon Graham for over a decade, Chief Truver was familiar with Lexipol. But it was a presentation through the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association that underscored how Lexipol’s Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Policies and Training solution fit the challenges he was facing.
“They demonstrated how they could help us put out a policy manual and they would do the updates for case law, legislation and best practices,” Chief Truver says. “And there was the added benefit of the Daily Training Bulletins. In the past, officers would get their copy of the policy manual, and it would sit in the bottom of their locker, collecting dust. No one was training to the level that they should be on policy.”
Chief Truver used Lexipol’s Implementation Services to accelerate the implementation of the new policies and training. Pat Kane, a Lexipol Professional Services representative, assisted Chief Truver in sorting through the CSPD’s legacy policy content and the more recent general orders. After cross-referencing the content with the Lexipol policies, they came up with a plan for reviewing and adopting the new policies.
Chief Truver credits Implementation Services with helping him complete the full manual implementation in half the time he had estimated it would take. “Pat served as a project manager, putting together a schedule and keeping me on task,” he says. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own—or it would have taken a lot longer.”
Today, CSPD officers have access to the new manual in their cars and on their phones via the Lexipol app. Chief Truver says the transition to the new system went smoothly. “KMS [Lexipol’s Knowledge Management System] is very userfriendly, it guides you through the process,” he says. “The icons are easily recognizable. And of course the younger generation of officers is very quick to pick it up. A lot of the officers are taking their Daily Training Bulletins on their phones. One of the benefits of delivering policy through an online platform is that it’s accessible all the time. If we need to refer to a missing person’s policy or investigative checklist, the officers can pull it up on their phones or in their car.”
By using Lexipol for the CSPD’s policy refresh, Chief Truver was able to finally complete the project hanging over his head for so long. “There’s a huge feeling of accomplishment to have it done,” he says. “And it makes me feel more comfortable knowing the officers are meeting best practices, that they’re up to date on Pennsylvania case law, and that they’re reviewing the policies on a continual basis.”
Chief Truver stresses that Lexipol helps the CSPD spend taxpayer dollars wisely. “Agency heads are constantly reviewing policy to try to keep up with case law and best practices,” he says. “Having Lexipol do that makes me more efficient and productive. It helps me shoulder the responsibility of being an agency head.”
Ultimately, the biggest benefit may be invisible. “In patrol, we have a saying that you’ll never know how many crimes you’ve prevented,” Chief Truver says. “Similarly, if we’re up to date on case law and training on policies, we’re limiting liability. Who’s to say how much money we’re saving by possibly preventing a lawsuit?”