FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, WINTER 2008, VOL. 24, NO. 1
[Editors’ Note: Lesley Hicks has been promoted to the position of Lieutenant of the College Station Police Department since this article was written.]
As research and planning expert for the College Station, Texas, Police Department, Sergeant Lesley Hicks is herself a wealth of law enforcement information. In addition to being the accreditation manager, she is the go-to person for all law enforcement research at College Station (pop. 90,000).
CALEA Accredited? IACP Net Helps You Stay Up-to-date
Like all CALEA accredited agencies, the College Station Police Department faces the challenges of keeping policies timely and in compliance with changing standards. After a recent on-site inspection under CALEA’s 4th Edition standards, the department realized that it only had a short time to update to the 5th Edition.
Hicks was able to use IACP Net’s Policies Database to find policies from other CALEA accredited agencies and quickly update the College Station policies. “IACP Net makes my job a lot easier. Rather than creating something from scratch, I can search and refine the search until I find what I’m looking for,” said Sergeant Hicks. “I can select policies from accredited agencies that are dealing with the same thing I am.
“By spring next year, we need to update our CALEA communications accreditation. Now I’m referring back to IACP Net for that,” said Hicks.
IACP Net Provides On-point Resources for Policy Research
Hicks also researches policies for start-up programs in different parts of the agency. For example, officers were spending a great deal of time watching mentally unstable persons at the hospital. Using IACP Net, Hicks researched a crisis intervention team that would ameliorate the problem.
In addition, in conjunction with Texas A&M and the U.S. Navy, the department is participating in a research study on the physical effects of electronic control devices (such as TASER® devices). In order to do so, Hicks had to come up with an electronic control device policy more quickly than usual.
“I had to start from scratch, and TASERs are something you want a detailed policy on,” said Hicks. “I did a search for TASER policies on IACP Net and combined four or five of them — that worked well for us.”
Hicks also uses a local PAC group of accredited agencies as a supplement to IACP Net. “I rarely use the broader Internet, because it’s not limited to law enforcement services,” said Hicks. “IACP Net is all law enforcement-related; materials are from other programs that other departments are using. The Internet has so much junk to filter through.”
IACP Net: For the Good of All
When using IACP Net’s Quest-Response Service, Sergeant Hicks answers more Quests than she posts. “Whenever I post an answer to somebody’s question, I’ll get emails asking me if I can send them the same thing,” said Hicks. “Whatever I can do to help another agency eventually helps us all.”
The cost of IACP Net has never been an issue for Sergeant Hicks, who has been using the site since she took her position five years ago. “I feel it is worth the cost just for the time it saves me. It allows me to do other things,” said Hicks. “I do funding searches, and find grants I wouldn’t have known about without IACP Net.”
Due to Hicks’ efforts in the IACP Net grants section, the department has received three grants — one for Internet safety for children and two others for homeland security. “When we get an emergency management grant, we will share the grant,” noted Hicks. “So not only are we benefiting our agency but surrounding agencies as well.”
Hicks was able to get help researching building renovation and relocation from IACP Net staff. “The guys running IACP Net are extremely helpful,” she said. “They have everything I need when I put in a request, give suggestions on different ways to search, and go out of their way to help in anything I need.”