Longview, WA, about two hours south of Seattle, is home to nearly 40,000 residents. The Chief of Police, Robert Huhta, is an advocate of equipping his police force with the best training and technology so that they are better prepared to protect and serve their community. On their website, Chief Huhta states, “It is important that we continue to evolve as a law enforcement agency and implement best practices for 21st Century Policing. Employee safety and health are a priority while utilizing technology as a force multiplier. I am committed to providing our employees with the training and equipment which allows them to provide high quality service to the community.”
Sergeant Doug Kazensky has been with Longview Police Department for 23 years. When he took over as the Training Sergeant in 2015, officer training was still documented on paper and there wasn’t an easy way to quickly track and report on information needed, especially in the case of a public disclosure request. “It was a tremendous source of liability,” said Sgt. Kazensky. “Training records are the first thing investigators and attorneys are going to look for if an issue arises.” Sgt. Kazensky started researching technology tools to help improve their training operations and really liked the Vector Solutions Learning Management System (then under the TargetSolutions brand) because of the ability to customize it to fit their needs. “Right away I could see the tremendous benefits the LMS provided not only for me as a Training Sergeant, but also my department and especially all of our employees as users,” explained Sgt. Kazensky.
Sgt. Kazensky said that they gained instant value with the ability to track every officer’s training hours, what training they have taken and what they still need to meet state requirements. Officers no longer have to call Sgt. Kazensky to find out what they need because they can log in and pull it up on their own in the LMS. Sgt. Kazensky added all their training files and videos into the system and now can easily access them as needed to use in their briefings or to assign as an online training. “It’s a one stop shop for everyone,” said Sgt. Kazensky. “From how to put on your respirator mask to what to do if you get COVID. In addition to assigning and tracking required training, we use the system to post important memos, complete daily COVID-19 screenings and manage our Daily Observation Reports (DORs).”
In addition to DOR submissions, Longview Police is also using the Evaluations+ field assessment app (an integrated component of the LMS) for annual evaluations, firearms evaluations and more. Their FTOs love the ease of submitting their reports from their mobile device, as well as the color-coded ranking system to get a quick visual comparison to see where an officer is at in their training. Sgt. Kazensky likes the instant visibility that he and other supervisors or commanders have to review any FTO evaluations and the ease of quickly signing off on them without paper shuffling and delays.
Longview PD also uses the Check It asset management app to manage all their vehicle and high-dollar equipment, like laptops, firearms, night vision goggles, etc. that gets assigned to an officer. Officers can now submit their weekly vehicle inspections right from their mobile device.
Another daily application that Longview PD uses is the Scheduling app. The staffing Sergeant builds the schedules and uses the app every day to schedule officers and backfill shifts while maintaining overtime compliance. “Maintaining overtime compliance is the key reason we got the Scheduling app,” said Sgt. Kazensky. “If you make a scheduling mistake, it costs money because you need to pay the right guy. The troops love being able to pull up their schedules on their phones. They can also submit their vacation time or document sick time without having to make a phone call.”
The Scheduling app also has made it easier for Longview PD to maintain compliance with the department-mandated policy on the 15-hour work shift limit in a 24-hour time period. “If an officer is on a swing shift and needs to be in court the next day,” explained Sgt. Kazensky, “we have better insight into the number of hours being worked so he or she can be released early so we don’t exceed the limit.”