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Our current RMS is outdated and does not meet our needs.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.