|California Senate Bill (S.B. 978) was enacted January 1, 2020||Law enforcement agencies must now publish all standards, policies, and practices online||PowerDMS enabled Buena Park Police Department to comply with the new law and share documents with their community using Public-Facing Documents||Buena Park PD now shares more than 200 crucial documents with their community|
A Demand for Transparency
In the last decade, significant high-profile events changed police and community relations, leading many states to re-examine the laws that once provided shelter for departments. As tensions began to rise, it became evident more accountability was needed to increase trust with law enforcement.
California took the first step with its landmark transparency bill, S.B. 978. With the new law, thousands of police standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and training materials are now required to be shared conspicuously on agency websites.
The move left law enforcement agencies scrambling. Not only are they required to review documents for accuracy before posting to the public they also needed a document management plan to help them quickly adapt to constantly amending guidelines, policy recommendations, and procedural changes.
PowerDMS and Public-Facing Documents
While other California law enforcement agencies were figuring out how to comply with S.B.978, Buena Park Police Department was already 6-8 months ahead.
Buena Park PD has been using PowerDMS, a document management solution, to store, distribute, and track crucial policies since 2013. PowerDMS proved vital when they were informed S.B. 978 was coming through the pipeline.
According to Lieutenant Tamra Banks, Buena Park PD had been working within PowerDMS to keep hundreds of crucial documents, like Use of Force, Communicable Diseases, and Vehicle Pursuit policies and operating procedures. When it was time to move their documents to their public website, they just had to click a box and it was done.
"Staying on top of policy compliance and regulations is easier using PowerDMS with Public-Facing Documents. We have become better at
simplifying workflows and maintaining department transparency and officer accountability.”
BUENA PARK PD
Empowered to Innovate
The ease of which PowerDMS allowed Buena Park to share policies and procedures led Lt. Banks and her team to look for other new ways they could use Public-Facing Documents to build community trust.
“My partner and I started talking and realized, ‘hey, what if we just used the folder feature within PowerDMS to publish everything in the same place?’ So that’s what we did. We created a new folder, labeled it “Public,” and now publish not just our S.B.978 policies and procedures, but also our standard operating procedures, annual reports, and manuals,” explains Lt. Banks.
Buena Park Police Department actively shares 156 policies, 49 standard operating procedures, and 3 manuals with their community on a daily basis.
“With PowerDMS and Public-Facing Documents, no matter how small or large of an edit we make to a document, we are able to create the change within all associated documents at the same time,” says Lt. Banks. “When we save the changes, the public documents are all instantaneously updated as well. We don’t have to go to the site and replace any documents or worry if a public version is the most current version.”
Return on InvestmentBefore PowerDMS, Buena Park PD relied on paper-based methods and emails to manage crucial documents and compliance. With so many document types falling under the S.B. 978 law, transferring all required content to their community-facing website would have been daunting. However, since they were using PowerDMS with Public-Facing Documents, they were able to comply with the new California transparency law quickly.
Centralized repository of crucial documents made it easy to recall and review
Online posting of policies and procedures to the community was immediate
Confidence amongst officers in what was shared with the community was the same version they were using
Increased trust between Buena Park PD and their community
In preparation for a landmark change, PowerDMS helped Buena Park PD stay months ahead of the game, saving time and money in publishing crucial documents to their community with ease and simplicity.
For more information on how PowerDMS and Public-Facing Documents can help your organization save time and money and respond faster to changing policies and guidelines, contact us today or visit our website at PowerDMS.com/Public-Facing-Documents.