Protecting a coastal town of 34,000 residents, the Dartmouth Police Department’s 78 officers have been using Lexipol’s law enforcement policy solution since 2019. The department is accredited through the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.
As the command staff at the Dartmouth Police Department (DPD) contemplated their next accreditation cycle with the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC), they knew their policies needed some work. “We were never happy with the policies that got us through our original accreditation and reaccreditation,” says Deputy Chief James Storey.
The DPD policies lacked detailed guidance in areas such as discipline, take-home cars and who to notify following a specific event. “We weren’t always getting the compliance we were hoping for. But when we would go to the policy thinking it would back us up, it wasn’t there,” says Deputy Chief Storey.
The policies also suffered from illogical organization. “We’d go looking in one policy for something only to find it in a different policy, probably because it was easier for the accreditation assessor. But the guidance was not where it needed to be to assist our officers,” Deputy Chief Storey says.
The impetus for change came not only as reaccreditation approached, but also because the DPD was moving into a new building, which would require updating policies and procedures. The command staff selected Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policies and Training solution to guide the full-scale policy rewrite and prepare for the next accreditation.
“Policies and procedures are very important to our chief,” Deputy Chief Storey says. “He wanted to make sure we had the best help and best product—and Lexipol provided that.”
In addition to providing comprehensive policy content, Lexipol’s policy management solution includes an online and mobile platform that links policies to the accreditation standards and manages proofs of compliance electronically. “Lexipol does all the work to load the MPAC standards and connect the policies to the standards,” Deputy Chief Storey says. “So that takes a lot of the work off us.” Lexipol also provides policy updates as laws and accreditation standards change.
Working with Lexipol’s Implementation Services, DPD command staff ensured appropriate representation and involvement in the policy review and customization process. “We invited the union in from day one, so they had a voice. We brought in specialists that dealt with specific policies—detectives, evidence technicians, etc. We had no resistance to the new policies, because everyone knew they’d had direct input or at least representation,” Deputy Chief Storey says.
The accreditation process was also successful. “In the first assessment with new policies, you don’t what to expect,” Deputy Chief Storey says. Because the MPAC assessors were new to the Lexipol system, questions arose about where certain standards were covered in the policies. “But we knew everything was there,” Deputy Chief Storey says. DPD was awarded reaccreditation in April 2021.
In addition to achieving MPAC accreditation, the DPD has achieved greater policy compliance with Lexipol. The department uses Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs) to reinforce policy understanding. “The DTBs make a big difference in keeping people current on the policies,” Deputy Chief Storey says. “Lexipol makes it easy for me to look up a topic see when an officer acknowledged the policy and when they trained on it.”
The DPD has also received Gold Status in the Lexipol Connect Recognition Program, recognizing the department’s success in issuing and acknowledging policies and DTBs. “We believe in trust but verify,” Deputy Chief Storey says. “And Lexipol makes that possible. We print out a list every week and supervisors track down officers who aren’t completing their acknowledgments and DTBs.”
When the Massachusetts state legislature passed significant police reform legislation, Lexipol helped the DPD stay on top of the changes.
“Our state association hadn’t decided what they were going to do, but Lexipol had already reviewed the legislation and written all the changes about chokeholds, duty to intercede, etc.,” Deputy Chief Storey says. “It was all taken care of, which saved a lot of time and aggravation. And we knew it was well written because of who wrote it.”
Lexipol policies support the DPD’s daily operations, hold everyone in the department to high standards and help the department maintain accreditation. “I know when I check the policy, it’s going to cover what I need it to,” Deputy Chief Storey says. “I feel confident with the Lexipol policies every single day.”
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