I was very pleased to review the scores police received on the city’s most recent Citizen Satisfaction Survey: 62 percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with overall quality of police protection, up 2 percentage points from the previous year. Another 49 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the visibility of police in neighborhoods, up 5 percentage points from last year.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see numbers much higher than this, but we are steadily working toward that goal. Consider that in 2005, just 52 percent of Kansas Citians said they were satisfied with the overall quality of police protection. We have increased that number 10 percentage points since then, and it’s no accident.
During my tenure as Chief, we have embraced a data-driven approach to policing. This process identifies some of our biggest crime issues and areas and allocates resources to fight those specific problems. We also did a sweeping audit of all the department’s processes and formed eight task forces to implement the recommendations of the audit through the Blueprint for the Future initiative. Furthermore, we increased manpower to get more officers on the street, something which is becoming more and more difficult in these tough budget times.
But above all these things, we have adhered to the concept of community policing. The U.S. Department of Justice defines this as “a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.” The Department of Justice recognized our efforts and scored us as one of the best community-policing agencies in the country during the recent Recovery Act grant process. More than data or audits, our primary goal is to serve and protect the people of Kansas City.
In 2007, we adopted a new strategic plan that had goals of increasing our Citizen Satisfaction Survey scores by 2 percent annually. We’re right on track with achieving this goal. I want to thank the men and women of this department for dedicating themselves to addressing the concerns of the people who call Kansas City home. I assure you that we will not let up until these survey scores are higher, more people feel safe and more are satisfied with overall police protection.
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