The 10 sworn officers of the Lyman (SC) Police Department (LPD) protect a community of about 3,200 people in the northern part of the state. The department has been using Lexipol policies since 2017 and also uses Lexipol’s PoliceOne Academy to manage training.
Chief Jay Hayes leads a small group of officers dedicated to making Lyman, SC, a safe place to live and committed to professionalism in their duties. But when it came to the department’s policies, it was a struggle to meet the department’s usual standard for quality.
“I would have rated the content of our policies at about a ‘D’ level,” says Chief Hayes. “Most of the policies were about 10 years old. We kept up with big changes at the state level, but as far as federal court rulings, our policies may not have been up to date. And in law enforcement, things change often.”
The burden of keeping up with court rulings and new legislation fell on Chief Hayes and his second-in-command—something they lacked time and expertise to do. Adding to the challenge was the format of the LPD’s policies. “Our policies were in Microsoft Word, and each officer had a huge binder in their car of the printed policies,” Chief Hayes says. “So anytime we wanted to change a policy, we had to change it in Word, print everything off, make sure all the officers received it, and make sure they all signed off that they’d received it. It was a lot of work.”
Chief Hayes learned about Lexipol’s South Carolina Law Enforcement Policies and Training solution at a state chiefs’ meeting in 2017.
“Once I saw all it did, I knew it could be useful for us,” he says. “And when I explained how it would reduce our liability, our city financial administrator came on board pretty quick. Knowing the policies are developed and reviewed by attorneys at Lexipol really helped us make a convincing case for the budget.”
With financial support secured, Chief Hayes set about customizing the Lexipol policies for the unique needs of his department. “I looked at Lexipol’s policies and decided what applied and made changes where needed; then I went through our old policies to capture the things specific to our county and our department,” he says. “I love that Lexipol’s system allows you to integrate your own policies.”
The rollout of the new policies to the officers went smoothly, in large part because the LPD’s policies are now stored and distributed electronically. “Learning a new system is often difficult, but for the officers, Lexipol’s Knowledge Management System was so easy. They get a notification, read the policy, push a button and they’re done,” Chief Hayes says.
Lexipol’s mobile app has also made it much easier for LPD officers to access policies in the field. “Anyone who has had to deal with a huge policy book knows you’re not going to remember all of it,” Chief Hayes says. “With Lexipol, the officers can pull policies up on their smartphone, search for a specific word or phrase, and find exactly what they need.”
LPD administrators like the system because at a moment’s notice, they can pull records to show which officers have read and acknowledged policies.
Lexipol has helped the LPD more efficiently use resources—something that’s vital for small departments.
“There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into making sure a policy is correct,” Chief Hayes says. “We’re saving money because we no longer have to use our command staff to do that. Also, we’ve been able to reduce our review of policies by outside counsel, because we’re so confident in the Lexipol policies—so we’re saving on attorney’s fees, too.”
That confidence is another major benefit the LPD has seen since implementing Lexipol. “Lexipol’s attorneys are looking at what’s coming out of the courts and the state legislatures, and analyzing it for impact on policy,” Chief Hayes says. “Other services give you the rulings, but they don’t tell you how to interpret them, how to rewrite your policies. Lexipol sends an alert with recommendations. And that gives us confidence in our policies.”
The Lyman Police Department also uses Lexipol’s PoliceOne Academy for online training. Visit the PoliceOne Academy website to learn more.