A time consuming, oftentimes tedious, but absolutely vital task necessary to keep Marine Corps Fire and Emergency Services operating aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California is now being pushed into the computer age by a new type of knowledge management system specific to the emergency services community.
“Lexipol knowledge management system allows members of fire and police departments to stay on top of new state and federal legislation, case law and evolving best practices affecting their agencies,” said Ryan Tworek, deputy fire chief, MCLB Barstow Fire and Emergency Services.
Tworek spearheaded the drive to adopt the Lexipol policy and procedures program for the MCLBB Fire and Emergency Services, making it the first fire agency in the Marine Corps to use the innovative program.
“We started the training process for the LexiPol about 18 months ago,” he said. “I first heard about Lexipol from Gordon Graham during a risk management training session a few years ago.”
“Lexipol knowledge management system allows members of fire and police departments to stay on top of new state and federal legislation, case law and evolving best practices affecting their agencies.”Ryan Tworek, a MCLB Barstow Fire and Emergency Services deputy fire chief
Cofounded by Graham, a former California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer, the Lexipol team researches and recommends updates to policies, along with notes to explain what is changing about that policy and why.
“Updates are presented in mark-up form, just like a Word document,” Tworek explained. “The platform allows side-by-side comparison against our existing policy. We can then accept, reject or customize each update – it’s as easy as one click for each update.”
Other features that makes the Lexipol knowledge management system desirable are the daily training bulletins it pushes to members and the training scenarios it provides to test each policy specific to the fire or police department using it.
“Lexipol allows for use of boilerplate wording which can then be tweaked for our specific agency,” Tworek said. “This program allows us to stay on top of the constantly changing regulations from the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration or Federal OSHA requirements without having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ so to speak.”
In the case of the MCLBB Fire and Emergency Services, which the Department of Defense considers a medium sized department, just the policy and procedures manual print-out to 450 pages, Tworek noted.
“That is now all contained on either desktop knowledge management system or for the people in the field a cellphone app which can be accessed at any time by personnel who need to know what policy applies to a specific situation,” he said.
The MCLBB Police Department is in the process of adopting the Lexipol software to its agency, which Deputy Police Chief Boris Robinson thinks will be extremely helpful in keeping his civilian and active-duty Marine police officers informed.
“This software will allow us to make a change to policy, virtually instantaneously, based on information provided by Lexipol in its daily updates,” Robinson said. “We can then push it out to our officers and supervisors in the field via the available mobile app. They can then acknowledge that they’ve read the information and are aware of any changes.”
“This makes changing policy from something that could take a couple of weeks down to just a matter of hours because the officers can access it on their cellphones and acknowledge those changes,” he said.
Tworek said he will be sharing his knowledge of the Lexipol program with the police department to aid in their transition to the service.
“One of the key features of the Lexipol program is our ability to share our best practices with other agencies or adopt their best practices for ourselves so that we can ensure we deliver the kind of consistent service that we traditionally have provided,” Tworek said.
The Lexipol program can also be used by provide MCLBB Fire and Emergency Services, and eventually the Police Department, with instantaneous adjustments in policy and procedures allowing it to adapt to court orders or other legal issues and in turn build a valuable record base to protect our agency and our personnel should issues arise,” he concluded.