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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Police Resources

The New York Times printed a great story on police and the impact we have on crime.  It also focused on spending for police versus the spending for incarceration.  In the story Lawrence W. Sherman,  an American criminologist on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Cambridge University in Britain is quoted saying “The United States today is the only country I know of that spends more on prisons than police,”  . “In England and Wales, the spending on police is twice as high as on corrections. In Australia it’s more than three times higher. In Japan it’s seven times higher. Only in the United States is it lower, and only in our recent history.”     The story goes on to focus on the relationship between more police on the street and lower crime rate.  Here's the link to the article

The NY Times article's focus matches up with a news story by Duluth's ABC station on the additional police stationed in the area of the Last Place on Earth and how their presence is making a difference.   Here is that story

So, how about cutting the Department of Corrections budget and giving that money to communities with higher crime areas to hire more police officers?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bratton goes to Oakland

The former chief of NYPD and LAPD is now heading to Oakland.  Bratton has made incredible strides in both cities.  It will be interesting to see what he can do in Oakland.   He is one person I wish I could have worked for.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Since the Sandy Hook murders, a lot of attention has been focused on gun violence.   On Friday, I was asked to go on Almanac North to talk about gun control.  To prepare I checked recent calls in Duluth involving guns.  One that jumped out at me was a incident that actually happened Friday.  An individual intentionally left his handgun in his car while he was at work and someone broke into his car and stole the gun.  A criminal is now likely in possession of that gun. The majority of Duluth's gun incident involve stolen guns and habitual offenders (many of whom cannot legally posses guns in the first place). While the ideas and discussions are great on how to stop gun violence,  recognize we need to have serious sentences for the habitual offenders who continuously victimize our citizens and use or possess guns.  We need to start throwing the book at these folks now!  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Goals

The Duluth Police Department leadership team met a month ago and spent a day updating our strategic plan and goals for 2013.  Because of unpredictable staffing changes and budgets it makes planning more than a year out slightly more challenging.  Here are our 2012 goals.
Goal One:  Succession Planning
One major area of concern is the upcoming changes to the retirement for Minnesota police officers.   This could result in over 20 retirements by 2015.  Many of those retiring will be command staff and supervisory positions and will have a major impact on our already young police department.  As a result of the potential loss of command and supervisory staff we are ramping up succession planning to our number one goal and major focus for 2013.   To start, we are hosting a three week leadership school in the spring, titled “Leadership in Police Organizations.”  This training caught my attention in 2007 and is best described by the International Association of Chiefs of Police; “The distinguishing feature of the IACP three-week course is a focus on the systematic development of leaders at all levels of an organization- the concept of “every officer a leader.” In the 21st century, police organizations can no longer rely on an individual or small group of leaders. To develop leaders, law enforcement executives must create a culture in their organizations that is supportive of dispersed leadership. This means establishing expectations that all officers will take leadership initiatives at their levels of responsibility.”  A major component of the training is ethics in policing.  While training is just one example of our effort to build future leaders, we are utilizing mentoring, internal opportunities and other avenues to accomplish our goal.
Goal Two: New Records Management System (RMS)
Our current RMS is outdated and does not meet our needs.  Internal surveys conducted over the last four years indicate tremendous frustration by our police and support staff.  Duplication of the reporting process is the biggest frustration as well as the lack of progress on the ability for officers to file reports in the field (something I have been trying to attain since 2007).  Cost analysis research conducted indicates a one to two year payback on the cost of a new system.  This is something desperately needed for the efficiency of our staff and for the ability to improve our efforts to have real time police records (which will in turn improve our data driven/intelligence led policing efforts).
Goal Three:  Introduce New Staffing Plan
We currently have six patrol districts throughout the City.  Historically, we have staffed districts with the same numbers of officers despite significant variation in the in the call load by officer.  With declining budgets, we need to staff efficiently and are placing more officers in problem areas and scheduling them to work during our busiest times of the day.   This will improve our ability to respond to problem areas, increase safety and reduce crime. 
Goal Four: Prevent Crime Through Improved Intelligence-led Policing Efforts
JH Ratcliffe defines intelligence led policing clearly as “Intelligence-led policing is a business model and managerial philosophy where data analysis and crime intelligence are pivotal to an objective, decision-making framework that facilitates crime and problem reduction, disruption and prevention through both strategic management and effective enforcement strategies that target prolific and serious offenders.”  Bottom line, we want to use crime and criminal data to structure our efforts to improve our efforts in addressing habitual offenders and problem areas.  It is how we reduce and prevent crime in an urban environment.
Goal Five:  Create a Crime Analysis Unit (Utilizing existing resources)
We currently have three crime analysts that are non-sworn staff who identify and study trends and patterns in crime.  Analysts make our police officers and investigators much more efficient by providing data and intelligence that helps them devise solutions and strategies to solve and prevent crime.   Crime analysts have become a critical part of our operations and are here to stay.  By centralizing this unit it will provide for improved communication and will better assist all units and bureaus within the department.
I wish you the very best for 2013 and please contact me if you have thoughts on how we can improve our service to you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Eve

I spent my night Downtown....working.   I am amazed at how busy Downtown has become at night.  Despite bitter cold I saw lines of people outside of a few establishments waiting to get in.   While Canal Park used to be the main attraction, I have noticed a steady increase in the number of bars and clubs Downtown.  It is good to see it so alive. 

I am also happy to say there were no major incidents.  A couple of drunks arguing here and there, a fist fight in a gas station, a trip to detox, a couple of drunk engineers from out of town fell into a 7 foot gum ball machine and sent it spilling on the floor (the janitors were not happy with that one and the engineers were appropriately embarrassed and are going to pay for the damage), a runaway, broken down car and catching up with a few of the guys who were keeping our streets safe was about it before I went home for the night.  I drifted off to sleep thinking how much I miss working the street.....