Talking with hundreds of administrators from law enforcement agencies throughout the country, we have learned what some of the major administration problems are.
We are a tech company. We create solutions. So for obvious reasons, these problems were/are taken very seriously.
Are you saying to yourself, "there's gotta be a better way," more than once a week? a day?
Well when it comes to these 5 police administration tasks, there is a better way...
5 Problems include:
1. Time off
You may be managing a lot in Excel currently. And that can work! As long as you stay organized.
But let's be honest, organization is not always #1 on the list when things get busy. You have a million and one things to do, so are you worried about saving that report in the right place?
Or checking to make sure that the administrator made the change on the schedule and not an officer?
Tracking changes and reports seem to be difficult for many departments who are using paper or excel. Even some officer scheduling systems don't make it easy to see changes and reports.
So how can you avoid these problems and become an administrative hero?
Can Ofc. Kim and Ofc. Stu take the same day off?
There are a few issues that come to mind when considering time off in a police department:
- Avoid going below minimum staffing when approving requests
- Keeping approved time off visible for officers
- Calculating time off
- Letting employees know how much time they have left to take off
1. Excel and email - keep time off all in one spreadsheet. Create a formula that will calculate all their used time off and show how much they have left. Lastly, to get the information out and visible to employees, you can email it periodically or print it out and post it in the squad room.
2. Manage it in a scheduling system. Almost all scheduling systems built for law enforcement will include time off. Since they are all internet accessible, your employees can see their time off wherever, whenever they'd like. It will also automatically calculate the time for you and warn you if you're below minimum staffing.
Who made changes to what?
It may be difficult to know what changed and who made changes.
Whether it's for your scheduling, for payroll, for reports, etc., not knowing who made changes can create a lot of issues.
While we hope for honest employees and want to trust that they will do the right thing, that is not always the case.
Sometimes, our employees are honest but just forget or don't realize they made the wrong change.
Either way, it is important to have access to see who made changes.
1. Software: Find software for your administrative processes that will keep an audit trail of all actions made in the system. This will make visible who made changes and what was changed so that there are minimal unknowns.
How can I access that year old report?
In law enforcement, you have a lot of information... stored everywhere.
You may need to create reports for how many overtime hours were earned this month or how many days off Ofc. Smith took.
Then you need to store it somewhere or send it somewhere.
It becomes a big pile of reports quick. So how can you manage it all efficiently?
1. Software with reporting function. If you have payroll software, scheduling software, records management software, etc, you can save and export reports. This makes the process a few clicks instead of managing it manually in word or excel.
Did we even get an overtime slip for that shift?
Many departments that we talk with for the first time, use paper slips for overtime. They are easy to misplace, calculate, and track. Overtime is so common in law enforcement that we thought there had to be a solution for it.
Not only are you collecting slips and approving overtime. But then you need to add it to payroll or to their comp hours.
1. Electronic overtime forms. A lot of scheduling systems will also double as overtime management software. Your officers can submit overtime from wherever they are and you can approve overtime from wherever you are. You then have an audit trail of all the overtime for each employee.
Find out here 3 Tools Your Police Software Needs for Managing Overtime
Does Ofc. smith know there is an open shift?
Things like open shifts, call offs, special events, etc. need to be communicated with the department.
So really the options are calling, texting, and emailing. Can you create a mass call/text/email quickly?
Depending on the situation, it may be urgent.
Communication is key in any successful organization
1. Mass notification software - this software will send out multiple emails/text/calls at once. Some of them can be very powerful programs but if you just need to get out a few messages every now and then to your officers, you can use a mass notification feature in scheduling software.
You have a lot on your plate. Do you handle all these tasks but know that they could be done more efficiently?
PlanIt Police includes solutions to these 5 tasks in one system. On top of officer scheduling, you can manage time off, overtime, and communication while having an audit trail and report for almost everything. Check out some of the features here.
If you're not ready for scheduling software but need a better excel template for your schedules, download our free Excel scheduling template below!
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