The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) protects a population of about 150,000 southwest of Indianapolis. The department has been using Lexipol since 2020.
Like many departments, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was operating with a policy manual composed by various sheriffs dating back to the 1980s. A 35-year veteran with the department, Sheriff Brad Swain was concerned the agency’s current policies were inadequate, outdated and inaccessible. “We had some policy manuals on electronic files and some versions in print. There were different fonts, formats, numerous memorandums and orders mixed in. It was getting to be pretty cumbersome for anybody to find policy,” he says. “The older policies weren’t readily available to all of the staff so they couldn’t always refer to policy as they made decisions.”
Ready to make policy a priority, Sheriff Swain knew that Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policies would be a good fit for his department. “I subscribe to Lexipol for updates and informational videos like Today’s Tip, and I’ve seen Gordon Graham speak at different conferences. I agree with the philosophies of Lexipol,” Sheriff Swain says.
Early in the implementation process, MCSO realized that Lexipol’s format wasn’t exactly applicable to sheriffs in Indiana. “Initially we had difficulty and needed a more usable product,” Sheriff Swain says. Working with project managers and attorneys from MCSO, Lexipol resolved the issues. “We were able to explain the challenges and found Lexipol to be open and receptive,” Sheriff Swain says. “Lexipol worked very hard to resolve potential conflicts. I’m confident that the policies Lexipol now has available for Indiana are as good a product as we can get.”
Pleased with the competence of Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policies, Sheriff Swain will be launching Lexipol’s Corrections Policies and Training solution with the MCSO jail division soon. “Some of that staff is already using part of the Lexipol program because they have some overlapping duties, so adding Lexipol for another division that’s under my charge is a benefit,” he says.
With the implementation process behind them, MCSO experienced the benefit of having policy readily available firsthand. “Just a few months after going live with Lexipol, we had a line-of-duty death,” Sheriff Swain says. “While we were at the hospital trying to decide how to address the tragedy, I advised that we look at our policy. I was able to pull up the Lexipol app and review the policy, which gave us a plan to follow. We had our policy right there at our fingertips. This is a policy that you hope you don’t ever have to use, but we had a policy in place, and we were able to access it and start following it.”
Throughout this difficult period, Sheriff Swain continued to refer to Lexipol’s policy to disseminate consistent information across the department. “Communication with your employees is critical during this time. I was able to refer them to the Lexipol policy and it provided some expectations for the rest of the staff, so they had an idea of what was going on. Command saved time by not having to constantly update the staff, and employees had an idea of what was going on—and that’s great,” Sheriff Swain says.
With Lexipol, MCSO has reduced risk associated with outdated and conflicting polices. Using features such as the Daily Training Bulletins, Sheriff Swain is preparing MCSO for the future. “When there’s a major incident that gets the deputies’ attention and national or even local attention, such as use of force, I take that opportunity to push out a policy and do a Daily Training Bulletin,” he says. Following the officer-involved shooting in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Sheriff Swain asked Lexipol about the possibility of creating a special Daily Training Bulletin package around TASER device use. Within a few days, Lexipol had created the resource and pushed it out to all law enforcement policy customers.
A proven system of solid, realistic ongoing training, the Daily Training Bulletins improve the deputies’ ability to make well-reasoned decisions. “They are useful not just in keeping the deputies apprised of information and policy daily, but it brings them back to the Lexipol manual,” Sheriff Swain says. “I hope that over time, as newsworthy events happen, deputies will automatically review our policy.”
Despite initial challenges, MCSO and Lexipol’s partnership resulted in fully developed policies for MCSO and other Indiana sheriff’s agencies. “We now have more clear and concise policies that deputies can refer to whenever they have a question,” Sheriff Swain says. “We’re pleased with it and the county government leaders are, too.”