Located in the Great Lakes Bay region of Central Michigan, the Midland Police Department employs 48 sworn officers who protect 42,000 citizens over a 36-square-mile area.
When Lexipol launched its Michigan Law Enforcement policy manual, Chief Clifford Block of the Midland Police Department (MPD) was waiting. In fact, he’d waited nearly eight years. “I was sold on it as far back as 2009, so when I heard they were coming to Michigan in 2015, I jumped on board the same week the product launched,” he says.
Chief Block’s interest in Lexipol stemmed from the struggle his department faced in keeping policies up to date with changing laws and regulations. “We had a pretty decent manual; it was comprehensive, but the updates were lacking,” he says. “To maintain it and update policies on an annual basis was way too daunting.”
Chief Block was also drawn to Lexipol co-founder Gordon Graham’s vision for best practices and policy consistency in departments across the U.S. “Gordon talks about how high-speed pursuits in one jurisdiction should be the same in another,” he says. “The concept makes a lot of sense.”
Lexipol’s Michigan Law Enforcement policy solution proved a great fit for the challenges MPD was facing, providing a comprehensive set of best practice policies, continuous legislative and case law monitoring, and training.
The MPD worked methodically to review the policies and introduce the officers to them. “We required our officers to review chapters in two-week periods,” Chief Block says. “The old policy manual stayed in effect until everyone had reviewed everything. During this process Lexipol’s customer service was very responsive, very helpful.”
A little over a year after signing with Lexipol, the MPD had 111 policies issued and acknowledged by staff and rolled out the Daily Training Bulletins to all officers.
Equally important, Lexipol will help the MPD keep this solid foundation up to date. “It just makes good sense to me to have experts overseeing our policy manual as opposed to relying on myself to track the case law and the legislation,” Chief Block says. “This will make the maintenance part very easy. What I see happening in most departments is that the manual gets done but then it doesn’t get updated for 10 years. Here, if something changes, we get notified, and then we review the updates and add them. And that frees up my time.”
Chief Block also sees significant benefits from the integrated training component of the Lexipol solution. “Obviously a more thorough knowledge of the policy manual keeps the officers safer,” he says. “And the Daily Training Bulletins are huge in helping us avoid litigation.”
Looking ahead, Chief Block sees another way Lexipol will pay off for the MPD: “We’re going to be going through the Michigan law enforcement accreditation process, and having these comprehensive policies in place should make that very easy,” he says. Lexipol’s electronic platform also features an accreditation toolset to simplify accreditation compliance.
More time, decreased risk, better trained officers and assistance with accreditation. For Chief Block, that all adds up to peace of mind: “I don’t have to lose sleep at night, worrying about whether our policies are sound.”