About the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is one of three counties that sit in the Portland, Oregon metro area and where most of the City of Portland is located. MCSO serves close to 820,000 residents with over 800 sworn deputies and over 200 non-sworn employees.
MCSO provides an Enforcement Division, Corrections Division, Marine River Patrol, Special Investigations Unit, and Specialty Units such as CERT, Dive Team, Traffic, and Facilities Security Units.
The Field Training Model
MCSO uses the San Jose Model of training established by the San Jose, California Police Department in the 1970s. The San Jose Model, commonly referred to as the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP), is widespread across the United States and abroad. One of the fundamental pieces of this training is the in-depth documentation process. The recruit knows how they are performing at every step.
The Field Training Officer (FTO) each day completes a Daily Observation Report (DOR) in which the recruit is graded on a variety of performance topics from appearance to officer safety and is given a numerical grade on a scale from one (1) to seven (7). In addition to the daily reports, recruits are given a bi-weekly performance report and an end-of-phase report when the recruit finishes a phase of training with their FTO.
The Field Training Challenges
When MCSO met with the team at Tracwire, they were faced with several unique challenges. After testing several other software solutions, the Training Division choose Tracwire’s Recruit Management Software (RMS) as their solution to manage their field training program.
Challenge Number One: Delay in Recruit Performance Data
Because of MCSO’s size and the population they serve, several facilities are scattered throughout the county. The Enforcement Division is located at the Sheriff’s Office in Troutdale, Oregon (east of Portland, Oregon). The primary jail facility, Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC), is located in downtown Portland. An additional jail facility, the Multnomah County Inverness Jail (MCIJ), is located in northeast Portland, approximately 12 miles away. Other facilities include the Multnomah County Court House in downtown Portland and the East Multnomah County Court House in Gresham, Oregon. Separate from all of these facilities is the MCSO Training Division, where the training supervisors from each division worked.
MCSO completed their reports using a variety of Microsoft Word, Adobe PDFs, and printed reports. These reports were then sent to the Training Division via an interagency mail courier system. This system took days to get the reports to the training division. Often, supervisors would wait to collect several weeks of reports before mailing them to the Training Division, causing further delays in the process.
Because of this, it could take weeks or months before the Training Division was aware of potential recruit performance issues. By the time problems were known to the Training Division, it was possible the matter was already resolved, or the recruit was moved to another phase. The delay in documentation meant a significant delay in the management of the training program. With several dozen recruits in training, at any one time and across all divisions, this was a logical nightmare. This problem was further perpetuated if/when reports needed to be corrected, sent back to the FTO via interagency mail, and eventually returned to the Training Division.
Tracwire Solution: Instant Access to Recruit Documentation
Because Tracwire’s RMS Field Training Software is cloud-based, this gave the Training Division instant access to the reports, even when in draft status and at any point during the signature process. Training Coordinators could provide feedback immediately and even take action before coming to them for approval.
Reports signature notification was instant, and when a report was ready for review, it could be seen from anywhere and addressed without delay. This allowed the Training Coordinators to see a drastic improvement in the time it took to approve reports, reduced from weeks to a day or two.
Furthermore, recruit performance issues could be discovered in real-time, making it easier to develop a training plan to address those issues.
Challenge Number Two: Multiple Division within MCSO
Because MCSO’s had multiple divisions (Enforcement, Corrections, Facility Security), they wanted a solution where Training Coordinators from the Enforcement Division didn’t have to sift through reports from other divisions, as they didn’t apply to them.
Their previous solution didn’t provide an opportunity to address this problem as paperwork had to be further sorted at the Training Division to ensure the correct Training Coordinator was receiving the relevant documents.
Tracwire Solution: Silo’d Divisions within an Agency
Tracwire’s RMS Field Training Software was specifically designed to handle multiple divisions within any agency. This allows agencies to grant access to users in a specific division where they don’t see user data from other divisions. This allows the user to focus on information relevant to them without being presented with data that isn’t. However, users can still be given access to multiple divisions within an agency as needed. This allowed MCSO to have a division for Enforcement, Corrections, Facility Security, and ultimately MCSO developed a Sergeant’s FTEP and created a division for that. Each division has unique roles, SEG’s and other documentation allowing them to perform their duties without interference from other divisions.