Numbers at a glance:
150 Sworn Officers 50 Civilians Staff CALEA Accredited
Captain Dennis Berube is in charge of the accreditation bureau at the Newton Police Department in Newton, MA, a department of about 150 officers.
When Capt. Berube was assigned to oversee the accreditation process in July 2013, he was shocked by the amount of work needing to be done before the end of the year, when the department was seeking re-accreditation. Everything had to be done on paper, making the accreditation process incredibly time consuming and costly.
Vast amounts of overtime
Capt. Berube and his team — a lieutenant and three patrol officers — put in vast amounts of overtime, often working 60-hour weeks in order to complete everything on time. The following spring, in 2014, Capt. Berube attended the Northern New England Police Accreditation Coalition Conference where he learned about PowerDMS and its secure content storage and distribution abilities. After the conference, he knew the software would be an immense help to his team.
Before switching to PowerDMS’s electronic system, Capt. Berube’s team had to print out physical copies of new policies and accreditation documents, send them to every bureau and wait for the signed copies to return. If documents needed adjustments based on bureau feedback, the whole process had to start over. This method required an overwhelming amount of paper, manpower and time. PowerDMS, however, has made distributing information much easier.
Now all the paperwork is electronic and can be accessed easily through PowerDMS’s online system.
If changes need to be made, Capt. Berube can make the adjustments and redistribute the documents quickly and easily.
PowerDMS has also improved Newton PD’s training capabilities, which Capt. Berube identified as the department’s biggest challenge. Proper training is more important than ever for police departments, but the all-paper system of Newton PD’s past made informing officers of training opportunities extremely difficult.
Some officers would miss training opportunities because they never received the notification, leaving officers feeling left out and sparking questions of favoritism. PowerDMS has allowed Capt. Berube to create a level playing field where all officers receive the same training information at the same time.
In addition to simplifying the accreditation process and ensuring equal training opportunities, PowerDMS has also created a more efficient work environment for Capt. Berube’s team.
“Before PowerDMS, our accreditation process was an antiquated paper system. It was very time-consuming and costly in terms of supplies and manpower. By using PowerDMS, we are going to save substantially on overtime costs and the cost to mail files to our assessor. Mailing our files alone used to cost us $2,500.”
- Captain Dennis Berube
Bureaus are trained on PowerDMS so they know how to search for information within the software before contacting Capt. Berube or one of his officers with questions. Because of this, the team receives fewer emails and phone calls, and they don’t have to worry about chasing down paper copies with repeated follow-ups. Thanks to PowerDMS, Capt. Berube and his team have more time to focus on police work rather than just paperwork.
In the first year alone of using PowerDMS, the Newton PD has seen significant improvements in its accreditation process, streamlined information distribution and cut down drastically on paper costs and overtime. Capt. Berube says the software is an investment worth making, especially for police agencies trying to gain accreditation or certifications.