With increased national attention, the importance of proper training for law enforcement officers is more critical now than ever. When officers are properly and thoroughly trained and certified, they are able to more effectively and peacefully enforce laws, thereby improving the safety of all citizens. Despite this, many jurisdictions rely on slow, older systems that make tracking officer training requirements a time-consuming and arduous task. With more than 40 outdated and unconnected systems across the state, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) engaged CapTech to work with its staff to design and implement a custom application that would effectively track officer training and certifications and could be handed off to the DCJS IT team to be enhanced and maintained.
Given the current state of DCJS records and the attention on law enforcement, the agency recognized the need to replace its current systems. Monitoring training activities at all 40 academies and tracking certifications for the 25,000 state-wide officers in real time is a challenging objective though. Officer training is heavily regulated, so specific and unique requirements drive the need for a customized solution. As training curriculums change and grow, DCJS knew they needed flexibility in their solution to adapt in the future.
CapTech and DCJS partnered to design and deploy a modern, web-based application named TRACER (Training and Certification Electronic Records) to replace its legacy systems. From the beginning, CapTech worked directly with DCJS IT to build the system based on a series of templates and components that work to accelerate implementation. The new framework was able to meet all of Virginia’s custom needs for tracking police training, and since DCJS IT was involved from the beginning, they were able to own the solution and manage it right away.
In the span of just 10 months, the team completed a deep-dive discovery of all of Virginia’s requirements, designed an intuitive system for users to record and track necessary information, implemented the solution based on a proven framework, tested the solution for accuracy and end-user acceptance, and successfully released it to end users.
For the first time ever, all 40 of Virginia’s training academies operated in the same environment, allowing for instant sharing of hundreds of classes offered and training received across the state. TRACER presents every officer’s training status in real-time, which allows DCJS to verify certification for every officer all at once. DCJS can also trace every class an officer has taken, every instructor that taught them, the certification status of each instructor, and more.
TRACER lifted the veil on Officer Certification and De-Certification for DCJS, academies, and employing agencies, ensuring that the most sensitive and vital decisions are transparent and traceable. Simple, intuitive, and customizable reporting capabilities allow DCJS to report on any data collected to any interested parties, including the legislature, in a timely manner. TRACER also allowed officers to access their own training records for the first time, empowering officers to view their status and plan their trainings to maintain certification.
The TRACER application:
Saved academies five hours of meetings per week dedicated to simply communicating available classes to officers
Removed the need for more than 10 separate manual forms around officer and instructor training
Reduced the time to produce reports by ~50%, and validations identified previously unknown data errors, and ensured they don’t happen again
Provided users with records are easier to generate, maintain, and verify
Consolidated more than 40 databases to create a singular, easily accessible solution for all training and certification information
Provided visibility into all classes offered in Virginia, which saves an estimated three hours per week previously spent in meeting
Provided academies and agencies the ability to quickly view their officers' training status via live reporting
Removed at least 10 paper forms and the manual processes around them between each academy and DCJS reducing the risk of human error, which made official certification and de-certification data available to all academies and agencies, improving visibility and transparency into the population of law enforcement officers who are fit to serve
Gave officers access to their own training records for the first time
Ensured a cleaner dataset with fewer errors since data was validated upon entry