The 10 sworn officers of the Federalsburg Police Department (FPD) have been using Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policies & Training solution and PoliceOne Academy since 2019.
Old habits are sometimes hard to break. When Chief Mike McDermott joined the Federalsburg Police Department in late 2018, he was happy to find the department subscribed to Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policies and Training solution, which he’d used at his previous agency. He quickly discovered, however, that the previous administration hadn’t embraced the value of an electronic policy management system.
“There were policies in three different notebooks,” Chief McDermott says. “There was a Lexipol Use of Force Policy that had been printed out and officers had been given paper copies to acknowledge and sign. I thought to myself, that’s not the way this is supposed to work.”
Other challenges were created by requirements Maryland places on law enforcement agencies. Departments must post their policies online, but the FPD had no easy way to post the paper policies. Rapidly changing legislation in the state had also affected policy content. And training requirements loomed. Officers in Maryland must complete 21 hours of continuing education annually to maintain their certifications, but it was difficult and expensive to find accredited training—a problem that became suddenly much worse when COVID hit.
Soon after joining the FPD, Chief McDermott began tackling these challenges with a combination of Lexipol’s law enforcement policy solution and online training through PoliceOne Academy. “With Lexipol, I was able to walk in the door and get a working policy document in place within 30 days,” he says. “That’s because the policy you’re getting is industry standard, state-of-the-art, and always kept up to date as laws change. That takes such a weight off me.”
Using the online policy management platform, Chief McDermott was able to easily customize the policies to fit the nuances of his department. “Lexipol is flexible—you decide which policies to adopt and you make changes to your policies to fit your structure,” he says. “Once you’ve got that done, it’s so easy to get the policies out to your officers. It’s all driven digitally. Officers can access the policies on the MDT in their cars or on their phones, anytime they need to.” The new approach to policy also met the transparency expectations placed on the department, making it easy to export a copy of their policies and share them online.
Next, Chief McDermott turned his focus to training. The FPD had just started with PoliceOne Academy when the COVID pandemic hit. “The local academy canceled all classes, there was no in-person learning across the entire state,” Chief McDermott says. “Everyone is trying to adapt, and here’s Lexipol already out in front with PoliceOne Academy.”
Courses offered through PoliceOne Academy can be used to fulfill 18 hours of required annual training. The learning management system makes it easy to create assignments and track and report course completions to the state. “The only thing I have to do is click a few buttons and send it out,” Chief McDermott says. “When I did it the first time, I said, it can’t be that simple!”
The officers have taken quickly to the online format, taking more classes than assigned. “They’re learning, they’re growing,” Chief McDermott says. “I can see what they’re interested in based on the courses they’re taking. It’s been eye-opening.”
The integrated approach of Lexipol’s policy management system and online learning has proven to be a force multiplier for the FPD.
“Lexipol keeps me ahead of the curve,” Chief McDermott says. “I’m not the chief running around trying to get policy from other chiefs. I know I’ve got a team of people behind the policies we’ve adopted. Lexipol is like adding a staffer for the fraction of the cost.”
Similarly, using PoliceOne Academy’s online training provides Chief McDermott more flexibility in the training budget. “I’ve got the best instructors in the world making themselves available in a training format the officers can take at their leisure, at home or on the job,” he says. “It’s a big money-saver, and it helps my training budget go further because we get the annual requirements covered online, so I can use the money to send officers to in-person classes to learn advanced skills. That makes them better officers and keeps them motivated.”
Maximizing efficiencies in this way benefits the officers, the agency and the community. “Lexipol takes a lot of the worries away so I can focus on retention of my staff, the quality of the work they do and how we’re going to stop more crime from happening,” Chief McDermott says. “I can’t imagine my life as a chief without these capabilities.”