The Nebraska news outlet the Grand Island Independent had a piece about staffing levels at the Grand Island Police Department. The city brought in an outside consultant to look at the workload of GIPD who came to the conclusion that they were understaffed for the workload they have. In the piece was an item that I think is worth kicking around. From the story:
“Officers here on patrol are busy,” McCabe told the city council. “Just about all day … officers are dedicated to calls for service.”GIPD isn't the only agency that's had to rethink the services they provide and where they fit into their agency's mission. It's important to stay focused on your agency's mission and devote as many resources as possible to that mission. For many agencies that means that minor traffic accidents, alarm calls, funeral escorts, etc. are out.
So it may be time for Grand Island to break away from the “full service” department it has been. McCabe suggested not responding to vehicle accidents resulting only in property damage. There’s really no need to babysit vehicle owners swapping insurance information, he said. Likewise the department uses a lot of time and resources, but gets little enforcement gain, from responding to alarm calls and conducting routine checks.
No matter how minor, there is a dollar value on every call for service your agency provides. Additionally, you want your officers to have as much discretionary time as possible for your crime fighting efforts to be effective. Every minor accident call and every false alarm call takes away from that discretionary time.
We should always ask ourselves, why do we do this? If the answer is "because we've always done it" or "because the public expects it" and not "because it contributes to making our community safer" it might be time to stop doing it.
Has your agency cut back on the non-essential services you provide?