The Mint Hill Police Department has 35 sworn officers. Its mission is to fulfill its duties in a fair, professional, and dignified manner so as to inspire and maintain the public’s confidence and trust by enhancing the quality of life through partnerships with the citizens of Mint Hill, North Carolina.
No matter the size of a law enforcement agency, its management of training, certifications, and policies for its officers is crucial work. It is work that carries significant implications for the safety of officers and citizens, and for the reputation, effectiveness, and budget of every agency.
Take, for instance, the training and compliance needs of the Mint Hill (N.C.) Police Department. In 2017, Mint Hill Chief Tim Ledford recognized that his department would benefit from a wider range of easily accessible training opportunities, as well as from digital tracking of training completed and policy documents reviewed and approved.
In particular, Ledford wanted a compliance system for managing more than 175 general orders his department receives annually that previously resulted in needing to offer and document training of officers on new and changing policies.
“That was just torturous,” Ledford said of bringing his officers into the office on a day off and paying them overtime every time the department needed to train them on new general orders.
To meet these needs, Mint Hill purchased the FirstForward PRO online learning platform, built exclusively for public safety. FirstForward is a product of Envisage Technologies, which has been committed to providing cost-effective training management solutions for law enforcement, fire service, EMS, federal, and other government organizations since 2001.
Mint Hill purchased FirstForward® Pro for $10 per user annually. With FirstForward Pro, Mint Hill receives tools to help the department manage training and compliance in one system. This includes management, reporting, and tracking of departmental training; management of certifications with notifications of upcoming expirations; and management of policy documents.
There is also a free version of FirstForward which offers tools for assigning, tracking, and reporting on training; reporting and documenting field incidents and exposures; and access to more than 650 courses on the marketplace. More than 100 of these courses are free. All free capabilities are also included in FirstForward Pro.
After more than a year and a half of using FirstForward, Ledford says the training platform has met and exceeded his expectations. Now, Mint Hill officers receive documents and training for general orders in FirstForward, eliminating the need to hold training sessions at the department and to maintain paper copies of documents.
“I can use FirstForward to easily review who has looked at a document, who has approved it, and we can quiz them on the content of what we sent them,” Ledford said. “I can see who hasn’t done what’s required by the due date, and we can send out reminders through FirstForward.”
FirstForward provides secure password-protected access to Mint Hill officers through any modern web browser, allowing them to access it anywhere they have an internet connection.
Ledford uses FirstForward to communicate with officers about upcoming events and can check which officers have reviewed these communications. He also encourages Mint Hill officers to make use of the FirstForward marketplace, especially for courses that will enhance officer safety. The easy-to-use marketplace offers online and in-person courses that are peer-rated and reviewed from a variety of training providers.
Ledford reports that Mint Hill has been successful in improving its training and compliance results, while also saving money.
“FirstForward has provided cost savings, increased accountability, enabled officers to put in more training hours, and be tested on that training,” he said. “It’s a well-oiled program.”