When opportunity knocks, open the door.
It all started in 2004 with an unexpected assignment in Records. Shortly after getting promoted to sergeant, I was put in charge of the Records and Data Management Unit, a new position created to get the department’s records and systems in order. Of course, nobody applied for this new role since it wasn’t exactly every cops’ dream to work in Records, yet it needed to be filled. As the newest sergeant with no seniority, I got transferred accordingly. What a blessing it ended up being.
I quickly discovered we had serious issues in Records, creating risk and liability for the agency. The dysfunction was extensive, as the operation was backlogged, non-compliant, and underperforming. There was much work to do. The culture needed to change, business process needed reengineering, and outdated approaches to managing records and data had to go. We needed to rebuild from the ground up, and so the journey began.
Over the next several years, after much training, research, learning, planning, and implementation of a coherent strategy to get the agency in compliance with UCR, retention schedules, and data standards, and officers armed with timely and accurate information utilizing new technology, the operation became a model of information management excellence.
In 2006, I had the honor of speaking at an IACP Conference in a session I called “Building a Model Police Records Unit”. Much to my surprise, there was standing room only. The session was filled with other agencies from around the country experiencing the same challenges I had at mine.
Apparently the model, based on four simple pillars of 1) sound business process 2) people’s performance 3) technology and 4) compliance, struck a chord. I began to receive requests for assistance from other law enforcement agencies to help fix their information management issues and records operations. It was then the seed was planted… and I got bit by the entrepreneurial bug.
In 2008, after getting promoted to lieutenant, and placed in charge of night shift patrol operations, I launched PRI out of my living room, having created the first law enforcement seminar of its kind, “Building a Model Police Records Unit”.
For the next several years, I worked in law enforcement at night, and was in business during the day, grinding away to scale what became a dream. As a student of political science and criminal justice, I truly knew nothing about business, so I read, read, and read some more, got a masters degree, and completed the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses program.
The market had spoken, the need was there, and PRI took off.
We created more seminars and began to win consulting contracts, hire employees, and created the only firm of its kind in America. In 2014, I was ready to commit full-time to PRI. Despite many people telling me I was crazy to leave behind a well-paying, stable government job, I retired…and haven’t looked back since.
As of 2022, PRI trains law enforcement in 43 states, with nearly 6000 people attending our programs annually. We average a dozen consulting contracts each year, providing compliance, technology, and project management services with the utmost level integrity and professionalism, bringing success to local and state government agencies. We’ve launched GovQuest, and will be developing fully integrated applications to manage city and county government operations, uniting disparate teams, projects, and communications under one platform.
Life is a gift. I’m thankful for it every day, and am humbled by the trust law enforcement continues to place in PRI.