Located in the lower reaches of the Cascade Range in California, the Trinity County Probation Department and its 10 sworn officers started using the Lexipol Probation Policies and Training solution in 2019.
Like so many small departments, Trinity County Probation (TCP) experienced problems keeping up with changes in legislation and mandates. “It’s very difficult to juggle everything that needs to be done,” Chief Tim Rogers says. “Not only handling work itself, but also keeping up with all of the policy changes that are needed, and of course, we don’t have the luxury of having a designated individual to do that.”
Not only did TCP need support with policy updates, the department needed closer interaction with legal advisory and other industry leaders. “We were lacking the direct connection with legal services when it comes to policy updates and provisions that are needed. We have county counsel on contract so anytime I reach out to them with a question regarding legislative changes, that’s billable to my department,” Chief Rogers says.
Another difficult issue Chief Rogers faced with TCP was culture. “When I first came to the department, the staff that worked here had never worked for a state agency or outside of Trinity County. Everyone was born and raised here, a local. They knew personally and grew up with most of the folks that we were supervising and providing services to,” Chief Rogers says. “A sense of professionalism was missing from the department.”
The Trinity County Sheriff’s Department had been using Lexipol’s Law Enforcement and Corrections Policies and Training solution for several years, so when Lexipol developed a Probation manual, TCP jumped on board. “It certainly made sense to use the same platform as our sheriff’s department,” Chief Rogers says. The Probation Policies and Training solution offers many of the same benefits as the Law Enforcement solution, but with policies customized for the unique challenges of supervising offenders, such as report writing, sharing information with law enforcement, probation arrests and sex offender supervision.
Using Lexipol’s online and mobile platform, KMS, the department enhanced efficiency with distribution of policies and related training. “I’m a fan of KMS. The acknowledgement feature is golden,” Chief Rogers says. “With the mobile app, it’s almost easier to go through and read policy changes and do your acknowledgments on the phone.” He also notes the importance of Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletins, which connect policy to training, helping personnel learn and apply the policies. “It’s not good enough to just collect signatures of acknowledgement, you must train to it as well. With Lexipol, training and acknowledgement happen seamlessly.”
Having experience working on a policy committee in the past, Chief Rogers knew firsthand how menacing the process could be. “Getting one policy or procedure through the approval process is very daunting. Lexipol and the platform they use make it a walk in the park,” Chief Rogers says. “Lexipol is able to connect policy to training programs, FTO programs and quality assurance. It’s all interconnected.”
With Lexipol, Chief Rogers is confident that TCP has everything they need to comply with policy and legislative changes. “If you are accepting the updates and sticking closely with the language from Lexipol, you’re dialed into what the law says you should be doing,” Chief Rogers says. “The greatest thing is the comfort in knowing that what goes into that system is vetted by a legal team.”
Through Lexipol’s policy management system, TCP is supported by public sector attorneys, industry leaders and subject matter experts. “As a small agency, you often lack a network connection with other similar industry leaders when it comes to policy changes,” Chief Rogers says. “That’s something that we get with Lexipol. Staying connected and on the cutting edge with what’s happening elsewhere is worth its weight in gold.”
Not only did TCP achieve peace of mind with Lexipol’s probation policy management solution, they experienced a shift in the department. “The culture of professionalism has increased greatly since we brought Lexipol on board, and that can be invaluable,” Chief Rogers says. “I think Lexipol played a part in bringing this department to a much higher level of professionalism than we had ever experienced in the past.”