The 40 sworn officers of the Miami Shores (FL) Police Department (MSPD) protect a bedroom community of about 10,500 located 10 miles due north of Miami. The community-oriented agency has been using Lexipol since 2016.
One of the biggest challenges with managing law enforcement agency policies is how quickly they become outdated as laws and regulations change and court decisions shape practice. The Miami Shores Police Department‘s (MSPD) policy book was comprehensive, but “it needed an update, and in law enforcement, anything that’s outdated can become a disservice to the agency,” says Lt. David Golt. “Police departments need to have living, breathing policies that are continuously updated.”
Recognizing the risk, in 2016 MSPD Chief Kevin Lystad tasked Lt. Golt with tackling the policy rewrite. Golt quickly focused in on two goals: “Number one, we wanted something that could help us expedite the process of updating our policies,” he says. “And two, we wanted something that would support us in the future, keeping our manual continuously updated.”
Following discussions with Lexipol staff, “we liked what we heard and saw, and decided to move forward. Lexipol was the right product for us,” Golt says.
Lexipol met both MSPD’s goals. Lexipol’s Florida Law Enforcement Policies and Training service provides the agency with continuously updated policies backed by scenario-based training to help officers learn and apply the policy content. “Lexipol issues policy updates several times a year, to keep up with accreditation changes and state and federal legislation,” Golt says. “That’s a big part of why we went with Lexipol. We weren’t just looking for a policy refresh, we wanted something that would keep the manual continuously updated.”
As for the MSPD’s goal of expediting the policy manual update, Lexipol’s Implementation Services were key. “As part of our Implementation Services, we have a dedicated person who helps us through each step of the way,” Golt says. “He explains things and facilitates whatever we’re looking to achieve with a particular policy. I feel that working with Implementation Services really accelerated the project and gave us a better understanding of our policies. I would 100 percent recommend Implementation Services to another department because they help manage the entire process, both for Lexipol policies and agency-specific policies. It’s part of the total package.”
For Golt, the responsiveness of the Lexipol team has been crucial. “I can pick up the phone or send an email and get a response back right away,” he says. “There’s never been a time that we had a question or concern that Lexipol hasn’t immediately responded. I live and breathe that every day. Lexipol is extremely customer service-oriented.”
As the MSPD nears the day it will deploy the policies to its officers, the enthusiasm among the rank-and-file is noticeable. “We’ve met with the officers, and they’re aware it’s coming. We plan on releasing 10 to 15 policies a week,” Golt says. “The officers are excited, because they know that we needed a policy refresh. They’re looking forward to it. They want to be covered with everything too; they want to make sure that they’re doing everything they should be.”
But even prior to agency-wide deployment, the new policies are having an impact. “We have seen some positive response already, because we’re using the new policies as part of our current promotional process,” Golt says. “We provided the policies to those going through promotional testing, so our potential new supervisors will be ahead of the curve before the policies come out. And as they’ve been looking at the policies, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback. They’re very excited, they’re very happy the department is doing this.”
Golt also notes the increased efficiency Lexipol is bringing the department. “Before, multiple people with lots of other duties would try to manage our policies,” he says. “It’s much more efficient this way. Even if you have someone managing policy full time, it’s a challenge to keep up with the updates and the constant legal changes. Lexipol is a great product. We’ve been very satisfied.”