Documentation can be tedious at the best of times. At the worst, it can frustrate officers as they want to focus on fighting crime, not doing the paperwork. This is an acute problem for law enforcement agencies serving college campuses. The Clery Act creates mandatory reporting requirements that make consistent documentation an absolute necessity. Without proper tracking of incidents throughout the year, any effort to compile annual reports will be unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive.

Getting officers to comply with internal documentation regulations is essential if you want to simplify Clery Act reporting. Following these five tips will help you ensure compliance among your officers:

1. Make policies accessible
Storing polices in a big, dusty binder and distributing copies on rare occasion won’t ensure your officers are remembering to follow best practices. Digitizing your internal documents lets you easily send out gentle reminders as best practices slip through the cracks and make¬†policy files much more accessible to workers. Policy management tools are vital here, as they simplify creation and distribution of internal files.

2. Create a culture that backs your policies
All of the internal best practices and procedures won’t make a difference if your leaders don’t follow them. Get your top people on board with documentation strategies and their efforts will trickle down through the agency, creating a culture where compliance is expected, not the exception.

Simplified reporting is vital for officers serving academia.
Simplified reporting is vital for officers serving academia.

3. Integrate documentation into training
Don’t neglect reporting and documentation when training officers. If you fail to emphasize it early on in an employee’s time with the company, that individual may well not build the habit in the first place. Document management software systems that include training modules let you integrate media-rich content and quizzes into your internal education programs, making training as engaging as possible.

4. Reinforce good behavior
Recognizing and rewarding officers and security personnel who follow prescribed documentation practices consistently will emphasize that you consider internal reporting a valuable part of your practices. This plays a key role in both establishing the culture of compliance that your managers are trying to build and making documentation practices easier for your officers to deal with.

5. Support documentation with the right technology
Digitizing documentation makes it much easier for officers to handle reporting. They don’t have to wait until they are into the office to file a report if they have tools available through Web apps. This doesn’t just extend to reporting itself, it also includes making policies and training available through the Web, ensuring your officers always have the support they need to handle documentation with ease.

Whether you are a campus security force or other law enforcement agency interacting with a college or university, documentation plays a key role in supporting operations.