How the Louisville Metro Police Department overcame a massive training challenge
A training platform that produced significant results and saved hours of valuable time
In 2020, Sergeant Natalie Hughes faced a massive challenge. Upon joining the training team for the Louisville Metro Police Department in Louisville, Kentucky, she discovered bureaucratic and time-consuming chaos in her very first week.
The LMPD has over 1,000 officers, and Hughes was tasked with ensuring that all officers remained current with mandated training. Kentucky state law mandates that law enforcement officers take 40 hours of training every year through their local police force, as determined by the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.
It wasn’t the first time Hughes had faced a challenge. She spent four years as a police officer “on the beat” and three years as a housing authority liaison officer (HALO) and she regularly addressed firearms and narcotics violations. In 2020, the LMPD promoted her to sergeant when she was eight months pregnant, and when she returned to work with a two-month-old, she started working nights, leading to no sleep.
The challenges in the training environment were different than what she had faced to date, but still difficult. These challenges included:
- A training tracking system that relied on hours of work managing spreadsheets, outdated files, and physical documents
- An internal culture that resisted changes to training and implementing new technology
- Budget constraints that delayed implementation of crucial systems
- Administrative work in the form of keeping up with grades, forms, certificates, and hundreds of daily emails
As soon as she took over the management of the LMPD training program, the day-to-day life of Sergeant Hughes included managing disorganized spreadsheets, a blizzard of emails, keeping physical backups, and tedious paperwork. Even with a full-time assistant, Hughes regularly felt overwhelmed. The system also meant that human error in record keeping was an increased possibility.
Hughes estimated that record keeping required at least one hour per year for each officer. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to 1,000 hours for the entire force, before other responsibilities and requirements. Sometimes, officers didn’t help by being disorganized.
“I’d get an email from an officer asking to be dropped from training because their Great Aunt Susie passed away for the third time that year,” she said. The workload and the “mess” were so great that Hughes thought, “There has to be a better way.”
Fortunately, Hughes found that better way, with help from Anthology and some of its learning management technology.
A better way to organize training
Led by Anthology senior account executive Tom Herrmann, the Anthology team set up the Blackboard® Learn training platform and Blackboard Registration and Management for the LMPD.
The technology has transformed the monitoring of mandated training at the department. Each officer was now responsible for creating an account. Once in the system, officers could sign up for and take mandated training, get certificates, and perform other tasks.
For Hughes and her team, the Anthology technology helped her monitor this training. It also automated numerous tasks that used to take several hours.
In addition, Hughes always knew she could contact Anthology for support if she had questions or needed some type of assistance. It takes time to adopt new technology, but the Anthology team helped Hughes and her department get up to speed quickly and was there when she had questions.
Order instead of chaos
Hughes is enjoying numerous benefits as part of working with Anthology:
- It’s easy to run reports and get a clear picture of who has taken mandated training and who still needs to take the training
- Much less time is spent monitoring email and managing individual officers
- Training is easier to take and is more effective
- The training is in complete compliance with state agencies
- It’s easy to import and export key training information
- Officers can quickly access their training history so they can prove compliance and see which training they need to take
With the addition of Anthology® Ally, the LMPD was able to adapt training to help officers with different learning styles. This means that more officers pass tests, remain compliant, and help to keep communities safe.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to Hughes and her team is the ability to manage a mountain of data quickly and efficiently. With Anthology technology, a simple click replaced hours of tedious work.
“Oh my gosh, this is so much easier,” she said. “I just clicked a few buttons, I ran a report, and it was done.
“It was literally just me asking the Anthology team, ‘Hey, this is my problem. I don't know how to fix it. Can you guys make it better?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, that's no big deal. Let me show you how to make a report.’”
What’s next for Hugues and LMPD
Anthology has been working with police departments and government agencies for over 25 years. However, the relationship with the LMPD is relatively new.
Hughes and her team are close to getting fully up-to-speed with the Anthology technology. Hughes knows the Anthology team is there to provide support and ensure the training program is effective and efficient.
The police training environment changes as the needs of communities change. The Anthology system will help the LMPD keep up with these changes and help to maintain a high level of service to the Louisville community.
Another important step for Hughes and her team is integrating the Anthology technology with OnBase, which is the digital ‘file cabinet’ used by the LMPD. This step will lead to full integration with state compliance agencies. Eventually, paper tests will disappear, and all testing will take place on iPads and similar devices.
During her career in law enforcement with the LMPD, Hughes has faced a variety of challenges. The training department provided her with yet another challenge, albeit one of a different type. Fortunately, she discovered the right technology and the right technology partner and turned a difficult environment into an efficient department that serves the needs of law enforcement and the community.
Discover more about Anthology and Anthology solutions today.
Westlund joined Anthology in 2021, bringing nearly 11 years of government and marketing experience, including over 7 years at the U.S. Institute of Peace and 3.5 years at a MarTech company. In her role at Anthology, she works to create awareness and demand for our EdTech solutions in federal, state, and local governments, and within corporate entities. Westlund graduated from Washington State University with an M.A. in strategic communication and previously earned an M.A. from American University in international peace and conflict resolution, with a focus on conflict in the Southern Balkans.