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Public Safety Officials Advocate for Policy Tracking Software

Edwardsville, Ill., police and fire officials voiced their support to the City Council for a new digital database that would help to track state legislation affecting their departments.

(TNS) — Assistant chiefs Brendan McKee and Michael Lybarger lobbied Edwardsville aldermen on Tuesday to approve a new digital database for state legislation that affects police and fire departments.

Aldermen agreed and unanimously approved two separate sole source resolutions to buy Lexipol policy software, one for the fire department and the other for the police department, totaling $69,387.

Mayor Art Risavy and alderman Chris Farrar were absent. Alderman William Krause served as mayor pro tempore.

"This is a policy company that is going to allow us to keep our polices updated," Deputy Police Chief Lybarger told the aldermen. "Never before in law enforcement, and probably on your side of the house, [have] the laws changed so frequently in such a short time. It's very hard to keep up."

Lybarger said events happen in other parts of the country that may not be well known or communicated but Lexipol knows when they happen.

"This can stoke a policy change within our own department and help keep liability costs to a minimum," he said. "We've also found that there are policies and procedures that we don't even know exist [on the fire side.]"

Deputy Fire Chief McKee concurred.

"We're just buying liability insurance," he said. "If there is a change in the state law, Lexipol would send us a change and keeps us up to date. In the litigious society we live in, it's really beneficial."

He said for Freedom of Information Act ( FOIA) requests, it's harder for requesters to challenge Lexipol, a vetted policy that is used nationwide.

"And Lexipol will stand with us if we're challenged on one of our policies or procedures. That's something we've never had before," McKee said. "It's an expense but I think it's a very worthwhile expense."

He said he used it at his previous place of employment and it contained policies and procedures he never considered previously, such as what do you do when someone anonymously leaves a baby in a basket at a fire station at 3 a.m.?

"We have to accept that but what is the policy or procedure to handle that? Who to call? That's all laid out in Lexipol and tells exactly how to handle it," he said.

While there is an annual fee for joining the group, Lybarger said it is substantially less than the initial fee.

"The reason the [price] is so high at first is, they're going to take our 600- or 700-page general order and rewrite that for us. The big expense up front is a lot of legal work on the front end," Lybarger said.

There is a monthly test for officers and firefighters to train during their shifts for any new policies that surface.

McKee said Lexipol archives items as well, which could be useful in any future litigation.

Lexipol was founded by public safety experts who saw a need for a better, safer way to run a public safety agency. Since the company launched in 2003, Lexipol has grown to form an entire risk management solution for public safety and local government.

Today, it serves more than 10,000 agencies and municipalities and two million public safety and government professionals with a range of informational and technological solutions to meet the challenges facing these dynamic industries.

In addition to providing policy management, accreditation, online training, wellness resources and grant assistance, Lexipol provides 24/7 industry news and analysis through the digital communities Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1, EMS1 and Gov1.

©2023 Edwardsville Intelligencer, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.