Idaho Police Department Builds Lean-Inspired Facility

Idaho Police Department Builds Lean-Inspired Facility

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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In late 2016, the District 5 Idaho State Police decided to condense and consolidate their headquarters. As of November 2017, they’re starting to see the results of that initiative.

In order to understand the impact of their consolidation, you must first understand how a police department operates. It’s not a typical office space; instead, a department is made up of several distinct units – forensic, investigative, patrol, administrative, etc. Each of those units work together to help prevent and address local crime, and strong communication is imperative to accomplishing those goals.

That need for communication was the motivation behind District 5’s biggest change. All of those units – investigative, forensic, and the rest – work in the same building now.

Improved Processes

It took a full year of construction and $6 million in costs, but all major arms of the District 5 police force now fit into a single 23,000-square-foot facility. It’s Idaho’s first new state police complex in almost 10 years, and with everyone in close proximity, the police force has completely streamlined its systems and processes.

Take evidence analysis, for example. An officer can visit an in-house evidence laboratory (one of three in the entire state), where they can conduct toxicology analyses, calibrate blood-alcohol devices, and run drug chemistry – all without ever leaving the building.

“About half to three-quarters of the toxicology analyses completed across the state take place at this facility,” Matthew Gamette, the Idaho State Police director of Forensic Services, told the Idaho State Journal. “About one-third of the state’s breath-alcohol instruments come here and about one-third of the drug chemistry analyses comes through this lab.”

Every piece of evidence that passes through District 5 gets logged into a tracking system. Each entry gets its own barcode, so it can be tracked as it moves from department-to-department within the new facility. Everything is accounted for. There is no wasted movement.

It’s all efficiency, all the time.

Lean and Law Enforcement

What inspired the design of the lab? Lean Six Sigma principles.

Gamette said the laboratory was constructed to lessen the number of steps involved in the evidence analysis processes.

“Once the evidence enters the vault, it goes straight to the analysts,” Gamette said. “And throughout the design of the building, the analysts’ work spaces are triangulated with anywhere they need to go. From their evidence to their instruments and workspaces, everything is positioned to minimize the number of steps.”

And the lab isn’t the only improvement. The new facility boasts weight rooms (which are, presumably, also Lean Six Sigma-inspired), as well as video testimony rooms for officials who need to digitally participate in court proceedings.

Lean Six Sigma – like firearms, tasers, radios and automobiles – can be an effective tool in many facets of law enforcement. District 5 put the principles to work in redesigning their headquarters, but the methodology, by itself, can inspire officers to start thinking critically about the systems and processes the use every day.

After all, in a line of work as sensitive as law enforcement, efficiency and consistent outcomes are more important than ever. District 5 realized that in late 2016, and it took only one year for them to reap the benefits.

The post Idaho Police Department Builds Lean-Inspired Facility appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: James LoPresti
Posted: December 27, 2017, 2:28 pm

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