Technology is continuously evolving to help improve and streamline tasks and processes in policing. Agency leadership will usually spot an area in need of improvement, do their research or put out an RFP, pick out the technology that best fits the agency, get the necessary approvals and it’s ready to roll out. Easy peasy, right?
Errrr… it’s not usually that simple. (We think you already know that.)
Change is hard
Implementing new technologies typically yields a collective groan from the officers that are expected to use them. This is particularly challenging when enlisting a technology where one doesn’t currently exist - or if it does, it’s outdated. (Much like the software often is in off-duty management, offering not much more than a glorified spreadsheet with little in the way of automated invoicing or payment options.)
Enlisting a new technology is hard, but relax! This is normal. A few simple steps can help you get ahead of some of the internal resistance for a smoother transition.
1. Set Expectations and Clearly Communicate them
Articulate to the entire agency, but particularly the officers and staff it will affect most, the need for the new technology and any policy changes that may accompany this transition. A few reasons could be easy scheduling, better communication with officers, easy invoicing, faster payments and insurance for off-duty details.
2. Take advantage of provided training
When choosing new technology, it’s important to choose a company that will provide robust training for the officers so everyone can adopt the technology quickly and painlessly. Taking advantage of provided training also helps all staff understand the nuances, tips and any shortcuts that make the technology easier to use for any given role. Also, people learn in different ways so be flexible with different learning styles. Identify a few different options for learning, be it online or in-person training, so officers and staff can choose what will work best for them.
3. Make sure leadership is aligned
It’s important for agency leaders to have all of their questions answered and concerns addressed before sending any communications to the rest of the team. That way the administration can present a united front to the department.
4. Get a roadmap of the implementation process
Put all the details out to the officers as early as possible, from training deadlines and expectations to full-fledged implementation, by creating a roadmap of each step of the process. The company you choose may already have the process mapped out for you. This will help you work through any questions and concerns officers have prior to training and implementation.
5. Plan for resistance
Expect that some of the officers will put up resistance. Be prepared to overcome any internal resistance by rewarding early adopters and finding a few key internal individuals that you can enlist as influencers within your organization to help perpetuate enthusiasm for the new technology.
We know that adapting to new technologies presents challenges for any department, however, putting in a little bit of planning upfront will help the process go more smoothly in the long run. Be prepared, plan a roadmap and choose a technology company that operates as your partner every step of the way.