The Winslow (AZ) Police Department (WPD) protects a small town bordering the Navajo Nation Reservation. The department’s 25 sworn officers have been using Lexipol since 2016.
When WPD Lt. Kenneth Arend was promoted in late 2012, one of his new assignments was updating the Winslow Police Department policies. He quickly realized this was no easy task. “Our department had 33 policies—that’s it,” he says. “They were basic line policies; there wasn’t a whole lot of substance.”
Lt. Arend reached out to neighboring departments to get copies of their policies to use as models. But he still struggled to make progress. “Drafting policies is a tedious task, and it moved very slowly because it was just one of the assignments I have—I still have to be a patrol lieutenant,” Lt. Arend says. Although he devoted between five and eight hours a week to the project, “it would take me months to draft just one policy, send it through Legal, and get the necessary approvals,” he says.
The WPD faced two additional policy-related challenges. “We were an antiquated department, very paper-and-pen dependent,” Lt. Arend says. “One of my goals when I got promoted was to bring us into the 21st century, to be more efficient.”
And that inefficiency led to a lack of accountability. “Because we only had 33 policies, and even the directives we did have were unorganized and difficult to locate, it was easy for officers to fall back on the excuse that they didn’t know the policy or that there was no policy,” Lt. Arend says. “I wanted more accountability for the actions of the department and not so much a laisse faire attitude.”
The WPD signed on to Lexipol’s Arizona Law Enforcement Policies and Training solution. Because Lexipol content is based on state and federal laws and vetted through public safety attorneys, rolling out new WPD policies immediately became a much more efficient process.
“It’s absolutely a fabulous program, and easy to work with,” Lt. Arend says. “All the meat and potatoes are there; all I had to do was review the policies and make minor adjustments for my department. Dedicating those same five to eight hours, I was able to complete a half-dozen policies each week.”
Lexipol’s comprehensive policy content was a big change for the department—from 33 to 142 policies. Lt. Arend notes that the change could have resulted in information overload for the officers, but “the thing about Lexipol is that I could draft six to eight policies at a time, send those out to the officers and give them a 30-day window to review them,” he says. “So they could talk about them in briefing and acknowledge the policies electronically a few at a time.”
Lexipol’s customer service was key to keeping the WPD’s policy review process on track. “The staff at Lexipol has been so helpful to me,” Lt. Arend says. “When I was first working on it, I was on the phone every week, asking how to do things. And it didn’t matter who I talked to—they walked me through what I needed to know.”
Training is another key component of the Lexipol system. Lt. Arend focused first on getting out the policies, then rolled out Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs). “The DTBs provide great training scenarios,” he says. “They do what they’re designed to do: You can see that the officer has trained on the policy and answered a question to show he understands the policy.”
Lexipol has helped Lt. Arend meet his dual goals of making the WPD more efficient and enhancing officer accountability.
“Lexipol is a huge time saver, so we are absolutely saving money,” he says. “When you think about the personnel hours it takes for me to generate a policy on my own and run it through approval—you’re paying Legal, you’re paying me, you’re paying command staff for review. Lexipol has the workflow built in electronically, so as soon as I’ve edited the policy, it automatically goes to the Chief and to Legal, comes back with their comments, and then we push it out.”
And by having comprehensive policy content in one place, it’s easier to hold all department personnel accountable. “The main goal was for everyone to be more accountable for what we do and how we behave in public. And with Lexipol, that accountability is definitely visible,” Lt. Arend says. “We’re getting to where we’re more efficient, and we’re providing a better service for our community because of the accountability. Lexipol helps us do that. It’s been a lifesaver.”