Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
THE PERF REPORT
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) just completed their audit of how our police department is organized, including their recommendations on how to better deploy our officers. The goal is to get to more of a community policing model that has proved successful in many other cities.
The report recognized that given our budget challenges, we are not going to be able to add the personnel in the short term that would allow us to fully implement a community policing strategy, but they did note that there are things that can be done right now to get us headed in the right direction. They also noted that overall we have a very good police department that does not have many of the problems they have found in other cities.
Among their suggestions for immediate implementation are:
- Establishing specific beats for patrol officers
- Using patrol supervisors as beat managers
- Beginning North-South reporting systems
- Creating weekly Community Policing CompStat meetings
- Restructuring Crime Suppression Unit operations so they work to support specific community problem solving efforts.
The also reported that “setting staffing targets by seeking to achieve a ratio of officers to population is of little value….these ratios have little relationship to crime or the effectiveness of local law enforcement.”
They also suggested reorganizing detectives work schedules to optimize their performance and avoid cases “growing colder.”
I will be working with Chief Mew to develop an implementation plan that will help us develop a more effective police force.
WORKING WITH OUR EMPLOYEES
A recent Compass article in the Anchorage Daily News by union leader Jillann Inglis shows that the upcoming budget process will include the normal posturing by those who wish to protect their economic interests. I don’t blame her for fighting for her members, as that is what she is hired to do. However, Ms. Inglis seems to feel that the key to solving our budget challenges is to tax to the tax cap, which would be about a 9% increase in property taxes.
I am not particularly interested in dramatically raising property taxes during tough economic times. In fact, even if we did tax to the cap, we are still over 8 million dollars in deficit. That means we have to consider reducing the costs of employees or reducing the number of employees, as well as continuing our efforts to find savings and efficiencies in all areas.
We will be introducing our budget to the Assembly on October 1. I expect there will be spirited debate and a lot of lobbying by groups that want more public dollars. Stay tuned.