Georgia State University Police

Georgia State University Police Department
Builds Morale and Successful Peer Initiatives with an Early Intervention System

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About the Customer

The Georgia State University Police Department (GSUPD) provides law enforcement, security, and safety services to the university community and the immediate surrounding areas. Georgia State University boasts one of the largest university police forces in the state, with 171 officers across all six metro Atlanta campuses. The department, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, offers crime prevention, emergency management, key control, and safety escorts. Campus police also partner with Atlanta Police Department officers to patrol Georgia State’s downtown campus and respond to emergencies.

 

Background

Before implementing an early intervention system, the department had relied on Excel documents and emails to track officer performance. Because the tactics used were in different systems, information often got lost or was hard to find. Redundancy was also a big challenge. Documented behaviors heavily emphasized disciplinary actions. Police officers already face constant scrutiny and backlash from the community, but with riots ongoing, officers were working 16–20 hours each day, leading to morale challenges and a need for positive support.

 

Opportunity

The department recognized an opportunity to grow, learn, and improve and realized that technology could support its growth. While the department was already improving culture, it needed a tool that would better track behaviors and incidents—both good and bad—and support its mission to build a department that could be an example for police agencies across the nation.

 

Goals

By implementing the early intervention system, their goals for its use included both direct and parallel tactics to impact processes as a whole for the department:

  • Track officer behaviors and incidents in one system that allows transparency at multiple levels of the organization.
  • Focus on identifying both positive and negative performance that would be either lauded or corrected quickly.
  • Build a peer program that utilizes technology to help identify officers that may require extra support, be it from fellow officers or leadership.

 

Solution Deployed

After implementing the early intervention system a year ago, the tool has proven valuable in achieving GSUPD’s goals. Overall, it has helped strengthen the department’s culture and improved officer behavior across the board.

The system allows for mass communication of good deeds to employees at all levels of the organization. The amplification of a consistent stream of positives has had a ripple effect across the organization—officers talk and act more positively daily within the department and in the community.

Leaders and supervisors can input daily duties and officer development, flag behaviors, keep in touch with their direct reports, and better understand the various situations they are dealing with day-to-day. Ultimately, when good or bad behavior is flagged, tracking seemingly insignificant events can help leaders understand the whole story and make a better decision on appropriate actions.

More positive comments on officers performance and training development will eventually make its way throughout the whole organization. That, in turn, can help build positive morale and assist other officers towards making better choices in the field and in career development. Many alerts we have been getting here lately have been mostly positive peer commendations
rather than disciplinary or negatively related.

Leadership can easily pull reports from the system without assistance, enabling transparency and making reporting more efficient and reliable.

With the help of the early intervention system, a peer support and counseling group was formed. This group gives extra support to officers that need to talk or need help without fearing repercussions from leadership. The peer program has reinforced positivity while also providing confidentiality.

A peer referral function in the system allows officers to refer fellow officers in crisis without having to go to their direct lieutenant.

 

The Result

The emphasis on training and providing feedback and examples on how leaders and officers in the department can use the program and build positive peer-to-peer interactions helped solidify the incredible impact the technology has had on the police department.

“Let’s say an officer is conducting a traffic stop and another officer shows up. There are key things you have to do when you conduct a traffic stop, and let’s say that other officer helps support those things. Later on, after the citation is written and the paperwork is done, you may want to commend that officer for the support they gave you. You can give that commendation within the early intervention system, which will then alert that officer about the positive comment. Who doesn’t like to get an alert on their phone, a thank you, or an appreciative comment? And with the mass communication capabilities in the system, that officer’s supervisor, the chief, and fellow officers will also know about that positive interaction,” stated Brian Lawton.

With the implementation of the system, there has been a decrease in disciplinary actions. And now that transparent feedback is shown across levels in the organization, officers are more aware of their behavior.