Navigating the Thin Blue Line: The Importance of Training and Policy Management

Today's law-enforcement officer has to contend with a bevy of issues that arise from not following protocol: pay loss, sizable fines, extra labor hours, missed criminal convictions, and, ultimately, loss of employment. With all the new digital documentation devices available, it would seem that a better policy-management and employee-testing software system would be firmly in place. Unfortunately, there's always that one lawsuit that leaks out, and the media runs wild with it.

Take, for instance, the Austin, Texas Police Department's policy on using dash cameras. After an officer shot a suspect fatally without recording it, a policy was put in place mandating that all stops be recorded. Whether out of blatant disregard or not, two Austin officers elected not to activate their dash cams during two separate field stops and were punished with suspension. While installing digital cameras in the cars would eliminate the need for officers to activate the device and then spring into action (the perk is that they would run continuously and send information back to HQ in real time), it would be a dizzying task to carry out, not to mention the $8 million price tag to update the entire fleet of cars. Until that time, proper policy management coupled with routine training and retention testing will have to be the primary solution.

Cover Your Bases with the Right Employee Testing Software

Investing in the right kind of training and testing tools often nips most policy management problems in the bud. Technology helps organizations eliminate potential mishaps single-handedly and prevent the pitfalls of human error. Unfortunately, most organizations gloss over the usefulness factor when it comes to employee testing software, opting instead for email or a cumbersome paper process.

In terms of learning and internalizing an organization's policies and procedures, employees should be able to document that they have read, taken, and understood within a few clicks of the mouse.

A training module - part of any comprehensive employee testing software platform - is vital for continuing education on a variety of departmental and company-wide specifics, and ensures employees are up-to-date on the training and certification required for their job. Learning doesn't just come through repetitive, bland paper tests - graphic representations such as interactive tests, Power Point presentations, and video elements are necessary for internalizing the new information. Since training is one of the most time-consuming (and costly) tasks involved in adding employees to the payroll, streamlining the employee education process is crucial. Technology allows us to create employee testing software that is quick, effortless, and entirely web-based. After all, training on job duties and internal policy management should be as easy as getting on the Internet or checking email. 

A software suite that's compatible with the needs of an organization is a key component to staying on top of policy-and-procedure management - and with the right employee testing software, violations are often significantly reduced. It goes without saying that an organization hopes its employees will be at the root of very few errors during their tenure; after all, any error - grievous or not - equates to a substantial drain of resources.

Broken Protocol - Heavy Fines

What makes policy management so incredibly important to any organization are the fines that occur when and if protocol is broken. Consider what happens when a policy is changed. Say a company has 3,000 employees. A lot of work--not to mention time--is required to print 3,000 copies and then verify that everyone has signed their copies. The job is far from over--someone will need to file all signed copies into alphabetical folders. With an online policy management and training software system, the time spent on these tasks would be minimal, and multiple resources would be saved.

When a policy is violated, however, internal affairs must investigate regardless. The organization in question is also called on to prove that the employee saw, read, and was trained on the procedure. In many cases, the liability falls back on the department, and extreme violations can result in a significant lawsuit, costing millions. The beauty of an online policy management and employee testing software system is that it saves time and money both immediately and in the long run. As there's no way to tell when a lawsuit may occur, prepare your employees, department, and organization for the future and equip them with the right on-the-job tool -- a web-based policy-and-procedure-management system that makes everyone's jobs that much easier.

Additional Reading

The following articles discuss the importance of implementing effective policy management solutions to avoid costly violations:



About the Author

Joshua Brown, the founder and CEO of Innovative Data Solutions, Inc. (IDS), was, at one point, the former IT Administrator for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office in Brooksville, Fla. He began working as a consultant as the demand began to present itself, creating custom software and completing database work for clients. From this first step, it became intuitive that if he merged his knowledge of law-enforcement policies, procedures, and training with his programming skills, he could develop a simple document management software solution for law-enforcement supervisors to keep track of their personnel databases. After eight years, his nationally distributed solutions continue to meet the needs of public safety, as well as many private-sector organizations. To learn more about IDS, please visit