Gone are the days when Winder police officers had to haul around clunky folders with important department paperwork.
For the past three years, the agency has used PowerDMS, a cloud-based technology for managing documents, according to Winder police training coordinator Alicia Schotter.
PowerDMS allows organizations to store, update, send and track documents.
Winder police have used the program for training and policy and procedure management and to share updates and announcements, Schotter said.
“The officers like it better than having to carry around a whole binder of policies,” she said. “They can access it from an app on their phone or on computers in their (patrol) cars.”
PowerDMS can alert administrators to make sure employees have seen and signed off on all necessary documents. The department has quickly learned to navigate the program, Schotter said.
“We’ve all adapted pretty well to it,” she said. “It’s a very, very good system to have overall.”
She said all law enforcement agencies, especially large ones, should use the resource. PowerDMS may come in handy for accreditation evaluation and to prevent liability issues.
“There’s less hassle than having to track somebody down to sign something,” Schotter said. “It keeps people held accountable for everything that is sent out.”
The agency is one of more than 1,900 organizations across to nation using the software.
“Amid a national outcry for police accountability, Winder PD is taking proactive steps to address this issue,” said Caleb Liptak, a spokesperson for the software company. Liptak said the department uses PowerDMS to “quickly capture officers’ consent, leaving them better prepared in life-and-death situations involving use of force, high-speed pursuit and other critical policies.”
Winder police officers would spend about 25 percent of their shift training or filling out paperwork, but now the program helps them spend more time serving, Liptak said.
“Winder PD is leaps and bounds ahead of many agencies in the U.S. in this regard, he said. “A new survey shows that 74 percent of law enforcement agencies across the U.S. lack the budget to train officers effectively — putting officers and their communities at risk.”
The program has cut costs related to maintaining paperwork or storing information using traditional intranet services.
Schotter said the agency pays about $3,300 per year — part of money allotted from the city — for access for 75 people.
In 2001, CEO Josh Brown founded PowerDMS. Brown reportedly came up with the idea while working in the IT department of a sheriff’s office that was seeking accreditation. His goal was to help the agency go paperless with policy and procedure management.
With any internet-based program, there are drawbacks such as connectivity issues and security vulnerability.
But Schotter said she hasn’t run into any major problems with PowerDMS. She said the Winder Police Department renewed its service for another three years in August.
For more information, visit www.powerdms.com.