Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Patrol division business plans help us reach crime-fighting goals

The Kansas City Police Department is unlike most other businesses you would think of. We’re not interested in sales or profits. But we’re similar to a lot of businesses in that we value customer satisfaction and have set goals and outlined ways to achieve them.

When Deputy Chief Cy Ritter took the helm of the Patrol Bureau in January 2009, he asked the leaders of each of the six patrol divisions and the Special Operations Division to write a business plan. The plans are intended to address how each division will attack crime in their specific area. We did this because the officers and commanders in that area know the concerns and problems of the people in the neighborhoods they serve far better than I or anyone at Headquarters does. For example, the Shoal Creek Patrol Division doesn’t have an officer deployment strategy to address homicides, but the Central Patrol Division does. (SCPD had two homicides last year while CPD had 35.) Shoal Creek does, however, deploy officers to address one of their largest crime problems – thefts from vehicles.

Each division’s plan includes the following:
1. Boundaries and population information
2. A demographic summary of the people who live in the division as well as prominent businesses, retail areas and other unique features within the division’s boundaries, and elected officials who serve the area
3. The make-up of the division station including police officers (and those who have special skills – such as those who speak another language or are trained in dealing with the mentally ill), civilian staff, equipment/vehicles and the condition of those
4. Deployment of personnel on each shift
5. Day-to-day actions and operations
6. Special projects
7. Needs (personnel, equipment, etc.)
8. A “State of the Division” summarizing where it is now and short and long-term goals

Division commanders are required to update these business plans at least once a year and are encouraged to do so more often. We use these business plans at our weekly CSTAR meetings to hold each patrol division accountable to achieving their goals. Many of the goals are linked to the City’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey.

We do not want officers just throwing resources at a problem area. We want them to specifically identify the problem, create a plan to address it and then track and report their progress. The business plans keep us at Headquarters accountable, too. If a division repeatedly tells us they need more officers on a shift or radios for personnel, and we fail to find a way to provide it to them or address the issue in other ways, we have failed them and the citizens of Kansas City.

I just wanted to show you one of the ways we’re holding ourselves accountable, and we ask that you continue to hold us accountable, as well.

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