Harrisburg Bureau of Police (PA) Case Study

Harrisburg Bureau of Police (PA) found a better way to achieve accreditation, enhance training and engage the public

November 4, 2021


checkCompleted remote PLEAC assessment during COVID-19 checkSaved personnel hours responding to right-to-know requests checkImproved community transparency with public-facing documents checkEnhanced training to make officers more successful

Harrisburg Bureau of Police was nearing the end of its Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (PLEAC) reaccreditation process when accreditation manager Steve Green stepped into his role in July 2020. He was tasked with preparing for their PLEAC onsite in only six months. It was the agency’s first time using PowerDMS to facilitate the process. Green was able to upload 102 policies into the system, conduct a mock assessment and file review for their onsite assessment remotely.

Additionally, as calls for greater transparency in policing rose to the forefront in 2020, more questions were being asked about Harrisburg Bureau of Police’s policies. The Bureau began taking a closer look at how to enhance transparency and improve its relationship with the community. It implemented public-facing documents and gave the public direct access to its policies, saving significant personnel hours responding to right-to-know requests and empowering its community members with knowledge.

“PowerDMS enabled us to do something we couldn’t have otherwise done (given COVID-19). We wouldn’t have been able to complete the accreditation process, or to do so, we would have had to ship boxes and boxes of paper files for someone to review eventually.”

Steve Green

Accreditation Simplified

Before making the switch to PowerDMS, Harrisburg Bureau of Police used a paper-based system to manage the accreditation process. This made preparing for accreditation complex and time-consuming. With PowerDMS, Green was able to easily organize more than 136 standards, and work closely with assessors to conduct the PLEAC assessment process entirely online - an invaluable capability in the midst of the pandemic.

“PowerDMS made the process easy. I knew exactly what I was looking for, could review previous accreditation files, and was notified when an older version was being used or when a file might be missing.”

Steve Green

Knowledge is Power

When Green joined the Harrisburg Bureau of Police, the agency was also actively exploring its relationship with the community. The Bureau’s presence to the community was not representative of its services. While its policies were listed on the city’s website, it was done so in one 520-page PDF document. This made it extremely challenging for the average citizen to learn more about the agency’s policies.

After implementing Public-Facing Documents, the Bureau’s policies are now clearly laid out in a single, public-facing website.

The link is now posted on the city’s website, but controlled on the back-end by the Bureau so that policies are always up-to-date. Public-Facing Documents are also linked directly via Crimewatch and the Bureau’s Facebook page. Additionally, the Bureau developed a QR code that is now printed on the back of officer’s business cards, making it simple and easy for officers to share information, and for the public to access it. QR codes are also placed in lobbies of the police station and substations for public awareness.

"Agencies are constantly asked to do more with less resources. Public-Facing Documents helped us to open the door wider with our community, providing them with direct access to our policies and empowering them with additional knowledge."

Steve Green

Straddling the Training Gap

An officer's time is most valuable when spent in the field. When the Harrisburg Bureau of Police realized that PowerDMS could be used to help facilitate training, its value increased exponentially. Previously, officers only conducted training within a classroom. Now, utilizing PowerDMS, officers can review training materials and take a test prior to an in-person training session. This provides instructors with key insights into the officers’ knowledge base so that they can tailor the training session accordingly. This has led to more focused training sessions, and has improved the overall quality and quantity of training officers receive.


Harrisburg Bureau of Police has gained tremendous efficiencies since implementing PowerDMS. It has reduced the personnel hours needed to respond to right-to-know requests by providing the public with direct access to the Bureau’s policies, all while improving its transparency with the community. Instead of paper-based methods for accreditation, PowerDMS enabled Harrisburg to prepare and conduct the accreditation process remotely, and in significantly less time. Moving forward, PowerDMS will continue to simplify the process by making policy updates fast and easy.

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