The Hamilton Township Police Department (HTPD) is stepping up its game.
This week, Police Chief Scott Hughes announced that the department has embarked on an ambitious project to revamp the department’s policy and procedures manual. HTPD will work with Lexipol, the leading provider of law enforcement policies and related training, to develop the new manual. The goal: ensure that HTPD officers’ actions are consistent with federal and state laws, reflect nationally accepted practices in policing and protect the rights of citizens.
“We wanted to get in line with the best practices across the country. Lexipol is a proven leader; they have the staff and the resources to ensure that your agency is consistent with current law enforcement policies and practices,” Chief Hughes says.
Lexipol will provide the HTPD with continuously updated, legally defensible policies and related training content, all delivered through a web-based development system and mobile app. Lexipol policies are vetted by law enforcement professionals and attorneys specializing in public safety law and are currently in use in more than 2,500 agencies nationwide.
The HTPD’s announcement comes at a time of nearly unprecedented scrutiny of police departments and law enforcement officers nationwide. Chief Hughes stresses that the township’s current policy manual is sound, but the change is being made to bring the HTPD to an even higher level of service. “The HTPD is a modern-day, professionally run organization, and now our policies and procedures are going to be consistent with some of the best departments in the country,” he says.
The project is expected to take several months, with deployment planned for January 2017, and is part of a series of changes to the HTPD, including new decals on police vehicles and new uniforms. Once the new policy manual is live, HTPD officers will complete short training bulletins each day to review policies and apply them to real-world scenarios. HTPD officers will even be able to complete their daily training in the field, on their mobile devices.
Another expected benefit of the new policy manual: reduced liability risk for the township. “This will bring our township up to current times with respect to following and adhering to regulations,” says Township Administrator Ray Warrick. “It lowers risk and reduces potential legal liabilities.” Chief Hughes agrees: “Every chief of police is concerned about liability and exposure for the department and the community. Lexipol will ensure that our policies are defensible if a situation was to occur.”
Chief Hughes also notes that the combination of best-practice policies and daily training supports a culture of enhanced accountability and officer safety. “Today, it’s vitally important for law enforcement executives to do everything in our power to operate with the latest and best policies and procedures, and with the utmost transparency,” he says. “With the Lexipol manual and daily training, community members can be confident that our officers understand what they’re supposed to be doing, and that we’re committed to delivering the highest quality service possible.”
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Hamilton Township Police Department
Chief Scott Hughes