In Nevada, the state POST also has automated its records management process, making the exchange of police personnel information much easier compared to prior manual methods. The POST also uses Skills Manager to maintain an aggregate database of training and certification records for personnel from all police and detention agencies in the state.
Havens has reconfigured the Reno PD's course catalog to use course identification numbers recognized at the Nevada POST, with the goal of eventually reporting personnel records to the POST electronically in lieu of paper forms. "With Skills Manager, it has been an extreme timesaver," Havens says. "It's reduced the number of people required for data entry and documentation."
Scheduling and tracking recertifications
Scheduling police officers for courses needed to gain their recertification is no longer the torturous, manual experience it once was with software that now automates this task, according to Officer Joe Schilling, Field Training Office coordinator in the Portland (Oregon) Police Bureau.
Manual scheduling proved cumbersome and time consuming. Using Skills Manager, Schilling says course scheduling and other aspects of personnel records tracking has been dramatically streamlined. "The data entry is simplified because we can now show, by scheduling officers for mandatory courses ahead of time, that they registered, attended and passed," Schilling explains. Furthermore, he adds, "We used to have three data entry people, and now we have one. And we're able to develop an electronic report that the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (the state POST) will accept."
Firearms training focus
Cornerstone Applications, located in Chattaroy, Washington, is an example of a focused-niche LMS provider, fulfilling a single need. The firm's software has until now been devoted to recording all information on firearms training. The software, RangeMaster Pro, is targeted at law enforcement and security agencies, and designed to store and retrieve officer, firearm, firearm qualification, maintenance and equipment information.
This fall, Cornerstone Applications will introduce an expanded version of RangeMaster Pro that includes the original feature set with several new capabilities. The new version will track training, custody log information and location information. Also included is automatic notification of pending expirations, more reports, expanded security plus a data mining feature.
As for adding new features requested by customers, "We did very little customization of the original version," says Cornerstone's co-founder Annie Bayley. "It was mostly limited to new reports. However, we have taken countless suggestions from our customers and incorporated them into the new release."
Modules form integrated system
Pleasanton, California-based Tiburon Inc. is a large-scale public safety LMS provider, selling its software packages comprised of numerous integrated modules targeted mainly to police departments in cities exceeding 50,000 residents and to counties of more than 100,000 people. The company's emphasis is to provide everything in a comprehensive system.
Tiburon's software systems include computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management, investigation management, and mobile dispatch and field reporting. When combined, the modules form Tiburon's larger integrated system for law enforcement. However, notes Jean Schommer, director of marketing, "While we sell our records management modules separately, they are most effective as full-blown, integrated systems."
An example of this integrated approach is Tiburon's recent installation of a $1.1-million fully distributed, statewide CAD system with integrated mapping for the Nebraska State Patrol. The system networks separate CAD systems in six emergency dispatch communication centers throughout the state.
Police academy needs
State police academies also have benefited from the capabilities of learning software, although training needs differ greatly. According to Lloyd Lowry, information services director for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (ODPSST), a reoccurring problem five years ago was instructor scheduling management. The ODPSST, which has full-time instructors plus a pool of 400 part-time instructors (who teach most of the courses), had been using only a few instructors from the part-time pool. "We wanted to equalize the load (of available instructors)," says Lowry. "So, we needed to make sure our information on the instructors was accurate and kept in one place."