Riverside County Sheriff’s Department – Online Briefing and Safety Training Program
(Posted: Monday, Aug 13, 2018)
Traditionally, informal training sessions are done by law enforcement supervisors during shift briefings. Topics include the review of current policies, recaps of recent law changes, as well as distribution of officer safety items. These sessions are very important but are difficult to document without a substantial administrative overhead cost due to their short duration, informal nature and daily frequency. The result is that law enforcement agencies provide valuable training, however are unable to benefit from these efforts later when civil claims are filed, and official training records reviewed. The inability to easily document the large variety of training topics and attendees frequently results in claims of inadequate training by plaintiffs and large financial settlements when juries reach verdicts or settlements are reached to avoid trial. The size of this problem scales proportionally with the size of the law enforcement agency and is compounded when an agency has multiple stations and correctional facilities with a revolving workforce working different shifts and with different supervisors providing the training.
In 2016, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department began a review of training options to address this problem while at the same time avoid the substantial costs associated with returning to traditional paper-based training content provided by a centralized training bureau.
Commercial subscription type services exist that provide this function in a price per officer per month manner, but this was not possible when the size of our agency (3,700 employees) and difficult budget environment was considered. Subscription based options also did not address the need to provide locally created, non-policy focused, content to be distributed easily and via the system. A review of the private sector revealed that many large corporations use Microsoft Sharepoint to manage policy distribution across many distributed offices and a third-party developer (Collaboris) had developed a Sharepoint application (DocRead) that allowed content to be distributed to users based on their location or job classification. An employee testing feature (DocSurvey) also existed that tests employees about the training item they had just reviewed to ensure comprehension and strengthen compliance. DocRead and DocSurvey were purchased and deployed on our existing Sharepoint infrastructure and used to distribute training items in various formats (video, pdf, Powerpoint).
The system utilizes employee email addresses, job titles and assignment locations which it obtains from our Active Directory network infrastructure. As employees are moved, promoted, or reclassified within our employee management software, changes are reflected in the network and then automatically updated in DocRead. Employees promoted into different classifications, who have not previously completed training items issued to employees of their new classification will receive those training tasks to complete via email. Employees that transfer to different stations or correctional facilities will also receive previously unassigned training tasks for their new assignment. Employees must confirm their review of each training item via a checkbox and some high priority items also require them to pass a test (DocSurvey). Once completed, the results are automatically added to their official department training record for later retrieval. Employees who fail to complete tasks in a timely manner are sent reminder emails and after designated time period, their supervisor (obtained from the Manager attribute in Active Directory) is added as a CC on the email notifying them they are past due.
The acquisition of DocRead and DocSurvey cost less than $50,000. Annual support costs are $7,000 per year vs the $6 per officer per month cost for a similar product provided by a law enforcement policy companies. The subscription cost for our 3,700 employees would have been more than $260,000 per year vs our current cost of $7,000. An annual savings of more than $250,000 or 98%. Since adoption in late 2016, more than 210,000 training tasks have been completed by our employees in DocRead and added seamlessly added to their training records.
Assistant Sheriff Kevin Vest – Sheriff’s Administration – 951.955.8792
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