There has been a lot of talk about police reform and many believe this would create a reduction in peace officers. This may happen, but it does not mean a budget should be reduced. What should happen, is a proper review. Off hand, the first thing we think about with reform is the definition of “peace officer.”
We bring this up because that is the primary function of the job and anything else may be considered a secondary function. If officers are tied up on secondary functions and cannot respond to a primary need, there are issues.
The first thing to review is not the call volume (as a sum), but which ones meet the threshold of peace officer duties. Those are the ones that will always get a response from a peace officer. This means, other matters where reports can be taken by another method (live stream, email, database submission, or otherwise) should receive no peace officer presence.
The next matter to consider is the scope of duties per badge holder. This means a collaboration between Sheriff, Constable, and Municipality Chief. This will help align services properly. This will give the Constables opportunity and funding to achieve their primary function of process and warrant service. It will alleviate strain of the Sheriff and Municipality to allocate resources.
The Constables are also the ones which may lead the search warrants, and high risk arrest warrants. This is a primary function of their office. Does this mean the other agencies shouldn’t be prepared? Not at all, but the allocation of resources properly will allow for a better use of time for community needs.
We have to reduce the waste to see what we really have to work with, and creating a bigger budget for a Constables office is not a promising concept. Honestly, in our opinion, Constables shouldn’t have time to conduct traffic stops.
So, in the municipality, we have been able to reduce the call load of peace officers by reevaluating true need and implementing other methods to report. Technology will allow for two way communications from a central location and a callers location. The development of an application or a networked system, will create a return on investment, which will greatly improve community relations.
The community of remote reporting will come down to proper training, and development of the role to exceed the standards of a traditional front line peace officer report. This will allow for better information for detectives.
The flow of investigator work will also need to be reviewed. There needs to be a proper amount of staff, but this process needs a traditional lean six sigma, type, project to see what is really going on with the investigative component. There may also be techniques investigators are not aware of which may expedite conclusions of their cases.
Now, we can look at what New York City (NYC) was able to do with peace officers everywhere. When NYC had presence, their violent crimes went drown. Once presence was removed, the violent crimes went up. Peace Officers cannot be present if they are tied up on non-essential functions. This allows for more engaging patrols. Maybe the goal of patrol becomes “field interviews,” and not enforcement activities. The idea is to mingle with the community. Then dump the information in a system which can be managed to determine valid intelligence.
This is our stop for now. There is a lot to review and consider. We have presented a very high level view of actual reform, but we definitely would like your input.
We have also addressed one component of background investigations of officers, in another publishing of ours. The second part of the two parts, we have yet to publish, but we have consulted with individuals about it and such consultation may be the extent of that component.
We welcome your input. We have a lot of concepts to provide, to include an overall compliance operation to assure such methods are appreciated by the public and those having to follow them.