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Advanced document management software solutions used to be a luxury item in law enforcement. Those days are disappearing as cost-efficient document management software hits the market and the demand for the robust functions offered by these solutions rises. Document management solutions can streamline policy creation, distribution and compliance processes while empowering law enforcement agencies to develop powerful, efficient training strategies. These capabilities are becoming more important than ever as the sector is inundated with new technologies that are disrupting longstanding operational models.

Body-worn cameras, drones, social media tools, surveillance solutions that monitor the population as a whole and more accessible biometric tools are disrupting the way police officers pursue justice. All of these new technologies need to be integrated into police operations through a combination of policy and training measures that protect individuals from harm and agencies from litigation. Three challenges of new technologies that you should be especially aware of include:

Advanced technologies can be a game-changer for police.Advanced technologies can be a game-changer for police.

1. A lack of pre-existing policies
Policy creation for many law enforcement agencies is a matter of copying what other organizations have done and adding in any nuanced regulations based on the specific demands in their jurisdictions. This is an extremely effective way to simplify policy creation, as it saves agencies from having to reinvent the wheel and take risks with policies that may or may not work. Just use what is already getting the job done and go from there.

However, many new technologies have such a small pool of use cases to work from that clear, proven policies may be hard to find. For example, if you are running into major problems with drones, you may be able to find advice on policies from other agencies and standards bodies, but you probably won't find formalized and proven best practices to work with. You will need to be very careful to think holistically about policy creation, and having a tool that makes it easier to collaborate and edit documents through digital channels can be invaluable.

2. A need for engaging training
Many officers will get their first experience with a new technology through training. They aren't likely to run into body-worn cameras for home use, for example, and need you to provide meaningful, engaging content around how the solution works, how it will impact their capabilities and what rules they need to follow when using it.

Advanced document management systems make it easy to distribute training materials – everybody has access to the web app hosting the materials. Training modules will also let you create quizzes, integrate video and use other advanced media types to make sure your training tools are effective.

3. A requirement of flexibility
Chances are that setting a policy and letting it go untouched for years won't be possible when you are using new technologies. As more use cases emerge for solutions, not to mention examples of what has happened in other agencies, you will want to be able to go back and make edits to your policies and training materials.

If you're working with paper, this means updating the file, printing new documents, distributing them to the workforce, gathering signatures, performing a complex internal audit and filing the signed documents away. If you are using document management software, you edit the original file, send relevant parties a notification of the change, have them sign the new form electronically and sit back while the system documents compliance for you and stores their signed electronic forms. Going digital gives you the flexibility you need to handle policy creation and revision around new technologies.

The law enforcement sector is progressing toward a heavily tech-dependent future, and a good document management system gives you the tools you need to embrace progress. Change will likely happen at different paces across the industry as agencies deploy new solutions based on their specific needs, but don't let documentation and policy management limitations come between you and innovation.

Law enforcement agencies are devoted to maintaining justice, and well-used technological tools make that possible. The rising accessibility of document management software can serve as a vital catalyst for innovation. As you work to integrate advanced solutions into operations, a DMS can serve as the foundation for policy and training excellence that you need to move forward.