Located about 45 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, Utah, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is an 11-member agency protecting a population of approximately 10,000.
Like many small agencies, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) struggled to keep up with the extensive task of managing their policy content and related training. Every few years, the chief deputy reviewed the policies and tried to identify necessary updates by contacting other larger agencies to compare content, which took several months.
Although the MCSO did better than many agencies with similar resources, it wasn’t enough. “Before Lexipol, I would have to say our policies weren’t strong,” says Sheriff Blaine Breshears. “We were just keeping our head above water.”
Following a class taught by Lexipol co-founder and risk management expert Gordon Graham, Sheriff Breshears became concerned that the MCSO’s policy management system was more than an inconvenience—it could be a serious liability. “That peaked our interest in Lexipol, and when we got more information, we realized that the cost was very minimal,” he says. “We presented it to our county council and got it approved.”
The complete overhaul of an agency policy manual can be a large task. Sheriff Breshears says implementation had its challenges at first. “It was time-consuming; it took us about six months because I didn’t have the manpower to be able to dedicate one person to the project,” he says. “But once it was implemented, it was easy.”
He chose to issue the new manual all at once, then worked with the deputies to ensure everyone could log into the new Knowledge Management System to review policies and complete the Daily Training Bulletins.
During this time, the agency utilized Lexipol’s automated tracking tools to ensure deputies were acknowledging the policies and completing training. “Several of our deputies had used Lexipol in other agencies,” Sheriff Breshears says. “We received positive feedback about the fact that it’s very accessible, very easy to navigate.
Since implementing the new manual in 2011, the MCSO has realized many positive benefits. “We had a use of force lawsuit involving a high-speed chase,” Sheriff Breshears says. “One of the first things that the attorneys asked about was our policy and procedure. When we said we have Lexipol, their response was, ‘We won’t have an issue there.’ Our policies were never in question, and there was no need to make any changes as a result of the case. It was wonderful.”
In other cases, the MCSO has used Lexipol’s archiving function to show how policies have changed over time and provide proof that deputies have completed training and acknowledged certain policies. But perhaps the biggest benefit is intangible: peace of mind. “It’s reassuring to know that when there are federal or state changes, Lexipol is going to take care of that, and issue the updates necessary to make sure that we’re within the law,” Sheriff Breshears says. “We know that we’re up to date. It’s a relief not having to worry about what’s changed that we might not have heard of. The workload has decreased substantively for us. And the price is very minimal—it’s well worth it.”
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