Lessons from Baltimore PD: Recapping a PowerDMS Investment
On May 24, the Baltimore Police Department held a press conference to announce the adoption of PowerDMS. By embracing modern technology, Baltimore PD plans to improve police accountability, track training and ensure that every officer knows what’s expected of them.
“We were stuck in the mid-80s,” Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said during the press conference. “Distributing policies and procedures in our profession has advanced, thanks to technology.”
The department’s plan for implementing PowerDMS highlights the importance of an effective policy management system in several areas:
In the past, Baltimore PD distributed new policies by email, but commanders had no system in place to ensure that officers actually read each policy.
PowerDMS not only sends an automated email to officers notifying them of updated policies, but it also creates a report for commanders with a list of which officers have yet to sign off on the new policy. This gives Baltimore PD several layers of accountability. First line supervisors will be responsible for making sure every officer under them signs the new policies. Commanders will have a list of those who have signed off, so they can take disciplinary action if an officer hasn’t signed off on a new policy after two weeks.
“It certainly paves the way for greater accountability,” Davis said. “Not anecdotal accountability, but measurable accountability.”
Immediate, on-the-job training
Police departments don’t have to wait for yearly in-service training to train officers on new policies and procedures. PowerDMS will allow Baltimore PD to deliver training opportunities to officers right away on the field. Administrators can upload PowerPoint presentations and webinars for officers to view on their own time. Command staff can track each officer’s training hours, and evaluate understanding of the policies through automated quizzes.
In years past, if a police officer wanted to look up a department policy, he or she would have to thumb through thick binders kept in their patrol car. With PowerDMS, officers can easily search any policy they need to reference from any device. Administrators have complete control over who can view and edit each document, and can see who accessed which policies when.
For Baltimore PD officials, adopting PowerDMS is not only an administrative shift, it’s an investment to help officers succeed. “We’re not doing it to the police officers,” Davis explained. “We’re doing it for them, so they can know what’s expected of them.”