After more than a year and a half of work, the city of Ringgold has approved a resolution adopting its new policy handbook for the police department.
During the Feb. 24 City Council meeting, the council discussed some of the new updates of the policy, which has been revamped for the first time since 2014.
“The current policy was adopted in 2014, and then amendments were made,” said Mayor Pro Tem Sara Clark. “This is not a brand new document. It’s been in the works for a year and a half at least.
Clark added that the city actually contracted with Lexipol on the policy, a company well known for public safety and training solutions for law enforcement agencies, fire, and corrections facilities.
Using Lexipol will allow officers and staff to access the new policy digitally.
“We’ll have a digital version so that when our officers are in or on duty, they have a way to get questions answered, procedures known, to get what they need to turn in and do right at their fingertips,” Clark said.
Lexipol also provides a daily training system with documentation, as well as the latest updates of law changes from the federal, state, and local levels.
“Things change, and officers need to know that when they’re out there keeping our citizens safe,” Clark opined.
Jennifer Jones, Officer in Charge of the Ringgold Police Department said the work that’s been put into the revamping of the policy will help the agency over the long haul.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Jones said. “When you go to the police academy, they teach you very basic things, very basic Georgia law. But depending on what agency you go to, that will dictate how you carry out your job. It can vary from department to department.”
In addition to online training, officers will also be able to access the policy digitally while out in the field.
“What’s so great about this Lexipol policy is it’s web-based, so our officers can access this policy right there on their laptop computers in their car, they can download forms specific to whatever policy they’re looking at, and that will just help them in doing their job efficiently and quickly.”
As far as the daily training for officers goes, Jones said it’s a big benefit, and a great way to keep officers in the know.
“Things change, things change every year,” Jones said. “We see how laws are evolving, so instead of just letting this (a hard copy of the policy) sit somewhere and get dusty, Lexipol constantly reviews and vets it to make sure it’s up to date with things that are evolving in our world. By having these daily training bulletins, we know that our officers are staying on top of it.”
After the discussion, the board unanimously approved the resolution to adopt the policy with a 5-0 vote.
Although it’s been in the works for awhile, the new policy is big step for a department dealing with transition.
In late January, long-time Chief Dan Bilbrey resigned his post after 10 years claiming that the department received little support from the City Council during his tenure, and that City Manager Dan Wright placed a tracker on his police vehicle continuously over the past couple of years.
A detective at the time of Bilbrey’s resignation, Jones was named Officer in Charge shortly thereafter.
“I think it’s (the policy) a wonderful thing that we’ve adopted and I’m glad to present it to you,” Jones said.