Why this document management platform is especially important for police - Technical.ly Baltimore

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May 24, 2016 1:00 pm

Why this document management platform is especially important for police

This summer's rollout of PowerDMS is about policies, and accountability.
Baltimore Police talk PowerDMS.

Baltimore Police talk PowerDMS.

(Screenshot via Periscope)

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis acknowledges that some department technology is “stuck in the mid-’80s.” Come summer, the Baltimore Police Department’s document management platform will not be.

PowerDMS will be used to provide access to the department’s many policies, and track whether officers have read them, officials said at a press conference on Tuesday.

BPD’s pitch was centered on accountability. The cross-device platform has built-in email alerts and other time-tracking functions that allow supervisors to track whether officers have read policies. BPD will also use a quiz function that allows them to test whether officers understood the policy. It’ll cost the department about $60,000 in the first year.

“This IT solution will ensure that when we talk about things in my boardroom in headquarters, that those messages reach the end user,” Davis said. “And in our profession, the end user is that 24-year-old patrol officer at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

Davis said he used the platform in his previous roles in police departments in Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County. When he saw that Baltimore Police didn’t have it, he started a conversation in the fall of 2015 to bring it to Charm City.

The question of what police have been doing to determine whether policies were actually read took center stage during the trials of officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death. The Baltimore Sun reported that BPD IT Director Andrew Jaffee testified in the trials of William Porter and Edward Nero. In both cases, he testified that the department couldn’t confirm whether the officers had read the policy on buckling the seatbelts of arrestees who were placed in police vans, such as Gray. Police officials declined to talk about the case on Tuesday, citing a gag order.

Police said more accountability measures are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

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