New Study Reveals Just 26% of Law Enforcement Agencies Feel They Have the Budget to Train Officers Effectively

ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Sept., 2016 — Only 26 percent of law enforcement agencies feel they have the budget needed to train officers properly, according to a new survey from law enforcement technology provider PowerDMS and the national nonprofit police research organization, the Police Foundation. The research also shows that agencies are increasingly using digital tools as a cost-effective solution to improve transparency and officer accountability.

The study comes amid a spate of confrontations between police and citizens, and offers insight into how agencies manage and disseminate the policies that govern officer performance.

The results of this research are intended to help establish a baseline for how agencies update their policies, how they ensure officers see those policies, and how they conduct training. The complete results–a benchmark for best practices–are presented in a report titled the State of Policy in Law Enforcement.

“The research suggests that policies, procedures, and training require continuous monitoring and evaluation to be effective,” said Dr. Karen Amendola, Chief Behavioral Scientist for the Police Foundation. “Any system that facilitates such reviews and internal communication at all levels allows law enforcement leaders to be out front in advancing their mission.”

Overall, the report reveals law enforcement agencies appreciate the importance of policies when it comes to helping agency operations run smoothly. Other key findings include:

  • Ninety-three percent of the agencies surveyed agreed that policies are “very important” to ensure that officers understand expectations and can properly do their jobs.
  • Ninety-nine percent of respondents cited agency liability, civil lawsuits, and inconsistency as potential results of poor policy management.
  • Ninety percent of agencies said they try to consistently review policies to make sure they are still applicable, while 36 percent of respondents said their agency issues new policies on a monthly basis.
  • Forty-five percent of respondents report they are looking for ways to extend training dollars for supplemental training.
  • Sixty-three percent of agencies use a software tool to distribute new policies, and 35 percent plan to or would consider using one in the future.

The Police Foundation surveyed leaders from 107 agencies of varying size with the majority being between 100 and 300 sworn officers. Respondents represent 20 states across the U.S. with the largest proportion from New York, followed by Massachusetts, California, and Florida. The survey was conducted confidentially and included primarily close-ended questions with pre-generated options.

“With the recent changes in policing, we believe it’s important to set a baseline for the current state of policy and training,” said Greg Richards, Vice President at PowerDMS. “We believe policies and training, together, provide the knowledge officers need to perform their jobs, serve their communities, and protect themselves and their agency from litigation.”

Results of the survey prove the majority of agencies believe a dynamic document process is essential for keeping policies, procedures, and training conformed to the highest level of professional standards. Doing so supports the particular needs of the community while keeping the public and officers safe. Law enforcement agencies understand the importance of proper policy management and are concerned about regularly monitoring policies and procedures and adapting training to meet current needs.

About PowerDMS
PowerDMS is web-based software that ensures officers are protecting themselves, their community, and their agency’s reputation by electronically delivering and tracking the policies and training they need to do their jobs. PowerDMS guarantees officers receive and understand this critical content, so supervisors can hold them accountable for their performance in the field and quickly prove compliance in the wake of an incident. The company is deep-rooted in law enforcement, and the majority of its nearly 2000 customers are agencies from across the U.S.

About Police Foundation
The Police Foundation’s mission is to advance policing through innovation and science. It is the oldest nationally known, non-profit, non-partisan, and non-membership-driven organization dedicated to improving America’s most noble profession – policing. The Police Foundation has been on the cutting edge of police innovation for 45 years, carefully blending science and practice to advance policing.

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