Report: Community Policing can begin with “no additional resources”
Changes to organizational structures, reorganization also recommended
Contact: Sarah Erkmann
ANCHORAGE- Mayor Dan Sullivan, Chief of Police Mark Mew and a representative of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) provided an overview of the recently completed deployment audit of the Anchorage Police Department (APD) at a news conference at City Hall today.
“The audit provides a roadmap for expanding our community policing efforts within our existing resources,” said Mayor Sullivan. ”It also gives us direction on how to expand those efforts once we are in a better financial situation.”
Community policing is the term used to describe policing that attempts to integrate officers into the local community in order to reduce crime and foster good community relations. Since taking office, Mayor Sullivan has expressed his intent for APD to move to a broader community policing model.
The audit was conducted this summer. PERF professionals interviewed current APD staff, looked at organizational structures and compared them against national best practices and standards to develop their recommendations.
Among the recommendations are:
Creating cross-time teams of patrol officer beat owners and supporting them through beat-specific information and through limiting out-of-beat assignments for beat owners;
Using patrol supervisors as beat managers;
Beginning North – South reporting systems;
Creating weekly Community Policing CompStat meetings; and
Restructuring Crime Suppression Unit operations so they work to support specific community problem-solving efforts.
The process of reviewing, assessing, and—as appropriate—implementing the various recommendations has not yet begun, but Mayor Sullivan and Chief Mew are eager to begin.
“This report is a guide for how we can best utilize our very valuable, highly skilled police force,” said Mayor Sullivan. “Now that we have the recommendations in front of us, we can begin talking with stakeholders, especially employees, about how best to achieve them. In some cases, changes won’t be implemented right away, but having a long-term vision for what kind of police department we want is important.”
“I plan to proceed gradually and deliberately as we work to restructure how we do business,” said Chief Mark Mew. “Once we get past the current budget challenges, we can put the report’s longer term goals into practice. In the meantime, it’s good to know that there are things we can do right now to make real impacts in the communities we serve.”
Other highlights of the report include:
The statement 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.” (page 6)
Where and how many additional personnel should be allocated when the city’s financial condition improves (page 151)
The recommendation to reorganize detectives’ work schedules to optimize their performance and avoid cases “growing colder.” (pages 147-48)
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is a national membership organization of progressive police executives from the largest city, county and state law enforcement agencies. PERF is dedicated to improving policing and advancing professionalism through research and involvement in public policy debate.
A full copy of the PERF report is available online at www.muni.org/police.