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  • Phoenix Police Department should downsize, firm says

    Phoenix Police Department should downsize, firm says
    The Phoenix Police Department should downsize its force of patrol officers to reflect the department's decreased workload in recent years, says a consulting firm hired to find ways to streamline the agency.

    Berkshire Advisors Inc., a Pennsylvania firm, said in its "innovation and efficiency review" made public Thursday that the department could "reallocate" almost a quarter of its jobs if officers worked five eight-hour shifts instead of the current four 10-hour shifts.

    Several of those positions could be eliminated, reassigned or handed over to civilian employees who can do the work at a lower cost, but one key city official said layoffs are unlikely.


    The city last summer commissioned studies of the Police and Fire departments, and a combined review of Municipal Court and the Public Defender and City Prosecutor's offices. The Police Department study, the first unveiled, cost $169,900.

    Public-safety departments make up about 70 percent of the city's $1.01 billion general-fund budget. The Police Department's budget this year is $539.6 million.

    Consultants said Phoenix police have less and less to do. They noted that between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2010, the department's number of calls for service declined by 17.9 percent. In 2010, 159,003 fewer calls were handled than in 2007.

    The report said the goal must be "right-sizing a department that has experienced a significant reduction in workload."

    The report does not specifically call for terminating employees. But it notes that as many employees retire in coming years, "significant resources will be available to deploy in more productive ways."

    The report said the department should:

    - Stop using a workweek of four 10-hour days.

    - Reduce patrol staffing to reflect diminished calls for service.

    - Cut the number of officers responding to calls.

    - Cut staffing in aircraft-support units and in the bomb squad.

    - Eliminate some duties for higher-ranking officers.

    - Deploy civilian employees rather than sworn officers whenever possible. The report suggested that about 106 positions now filled by sworn officers could be "civilianized."

    "In total, the recommendations presented in this report will enable the department to reallocate up to 714 positions," the report said.

    Mike Walker, president of Berkshire, clarified what "reallocate" means in the report.

    "We said there are 714 positions that could be got rid of to help balance the budget," Walker said. "They have a number of options on how they do that to reduce staff. Over the next several years, for instance, there are about 300 positions that will go away anyway through retirement."

    The department has about 3,100 sworn positions.

    Phoenix is not the only Valley police department facing financial pressures. Mesa, for instance, hopes to save $2.1 million in next year's police budget, but police officials say they likely can do it without layoffs. Leaving positions open that have been vacated by retirees and not filling some civilian positions might suffice, officials say.

    Phoenix Police Department management will spend the summer reviewing the study's findings to develop a plan based on some of the suggestions. City officials, however, say not every suggestion in the plan may be adopted.

    While resources may be shifted based on some of the report's suggestions, Assistant City Manager Ed Zuercher said, "I'm pretty certain there's not going to be layoffs."

    Instead, the study helps the city determine how Phoenix "can be more effective in how we reallocate the resources that we have so that the community can be even safer," he said.

    The report backs up its recommendations with numbers. It notes that to staff a precinct like Cactus Park in north Phoenix, with officers working five eight-hour shifts, means allocating 94 officers. But four 10-hour shifts take 108 officers.

    The report also says Phoenix officers respond to far fewer calls for service than police in other cities. A Los Angeles officer, for instance, is the "first responder" to 1,759 calls for service per year. A Mesa officer takes 1,016 calls. A Phoenix officer: 503.

    Zuercher said that although the study offers suggestions on how the city could be more efficient, there are some variables that haven't been taken into account, such as the city's commitment to "community-based policing" and other public-safety priorities residents may have.

    "I don't want it to be seen that we've got too many police officers," Zuercher said. "I don't think that the community would agree with you. I don't think that the council would agree with you or management would agree with you."

    The study uses occasional references that some patrol officers might question. It cites author Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink, which argues that "one-officer units are safer than two-officer units."

    Phoenix Law Enforcement Association Vice President Dave Kothe took issue with that finding and with other aspects of the report.

    "You cannot throw that out there for all circumstances and say one-man units are safer; that's being pretty broad," he said.

    Kothe said PLEA officials would have more to say about the report once they had a chance to review it thoroughly. Others also said they need time to digest the report.

    Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a police spokesman, said, "We have just received this study and are in the process of reviewing it.

    "We look forward to assessing the recommendations from the consultants with all of the involved stakeholders to determine the impact and feasibility of implementing the recommendations. The focus will be increasing efficiency without jeopardizing the safety of our employees or the community."

    City spokeswoman Toni Maccarone said the consultants began their work in September with an extensive review of Police Department data, including crime statistics, internal surveys of all Police Department employees, focus-group and individual interviews with community leaders, labor unions, city management, the mayor and City Council.

    The city already has taken some hard swipes at the police budget.

    In January 2010, City Manager David Cavazos proposed eliminating 353 sworn police positions to help the city close what was a $242 million general-fund deficit. The city wound up eliminating more than 100 vacant sworn positions but was able to avoid sworn employee layoffs in the Police and Fire departments after implementing an emergency 2 percent tax on food and working with employee unions to cut wages 3.2 percent.

    Phoenix has three voter- approved, dedicated sales taxes to support public safety, but the collections have been down because of the economic downturn. Phoenix ended fiscal 2010 with a $18.4 million shortfall in public-safety tax collections. The Police Department has had a hiring and promotion freeze since January 2009, which isn't expected to be lifted until 2014.

    The City Manager's Office will form an implementation and review committee consisting of the assistant city manager, the acting police chief and the city human-resources director to work with labor unions and the community to review the consultant's recommendations.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...#ixzz1Kxkedn5N

  • #2
    - Stop using a workweek of four 10-hour days.

    - Reduce patrol staffing to reflect diminished calls for service.

    - Cut the number of officers responding to calls.

    - Cut staffing in aircraft-support units and in the bomb squad.

    - Eliminate some duties for higher-ranking officers.
    This got my attention. Nothing like having a non-leo "consultant" tell the police how many people should be dispatched to certain calls.
    Last edited by Cyber_Saint; 04-29-2011, 10:05 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cyber_Saint View Post
      This got my attention. Nothing like having a non-leo "consultant" tell the police how many people should be dispatched to certain calls.
      Ya, 10-4 on that non-leo "consultant".... Typical....

      Well Just my .02, my priorities, if I were king of the land, would be:

      1) National thru local defense ( PoPo)
      2) military
      3) infrastructure
      4) education
      (the above does not include what my national fiscal moves would be)

      The rest? get rid of em, or slice and dice...

      And my question is, why don't those political zombies at least wait till Phx gets a Chief..?? Or is that just too goddamned logical?

      InspctrClouseau ., whats your take on this...? your in the biz????
      Last edited by asullivan; 04-30-2011, 04:55 PM.
      Originally posted by mookster
      Sully, usually I hafta glance over your posts cuz my brain would have issues with the imagery you portray, however with that one I get it. I agree one hundred percent with ya.
      Originally posted by CityCopDC
      I swear to god you are not human. I know a rogue VI when I see one.
      Originally posted by OfficerDotCom
      I think no one is probably happier than Sully and I that we ARE NOT the same person.(seriously thanking God for that one).
      -Frank




      Old Physicists neva' die, they just hop on a horsey and fly away inta' an infinitely massive black ho ...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by asullivan View Post
        InspctrClouseau ., whats your take on this...? your in the biz????
        Well...I'm not sworn, but I do work in LE, and I have to agree that it sounds like a bunch of BS. While running certain aspects of LE like a business is great and seems to work fine, not everything fits into the 'business' category as this 'study' seems to suggest it should.
        Take calls for service, for example. This 'study' does not seem to take into account the amount of officer-initiated services that occur. Just because an officer may not have calls for service backed up does not mean he/she isn't being proactive. They seem to have the expectation that police work should operate like a check-out line at a retail store, which isn't the way it works. Also, you get what you pay for. If government officials and the public want to go with the lowest bidder and make police work a living nightmare for officers, then have fun when someone from Valley Protective Services shows up your front door when you call 911 instead of a professional law enforcement officer.

        Comment


        • #5
          40hrs IS 40hrs--whether it's 4/10 or 5/8. I worked 5/8s here years ago & there was NO difference in number of calls, effectivness or anything else. You cannot tell officers NOT to back someone up on a call & expect reprocussions (aka lawsuit) so how's THAT saving money?
          If they're going to "cut staffing" it should be at the Management level as there are Sgts & Lts here that simply don't supervise anyone or only 1 or 2 people. If they really want to save money they need to consolidate jobs, go to 2-man units, cut down on the number of aircraft, and ( GOD'S SAKE'S!) try economizing a little at HQ & the precinct stations........

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by hemicop View Post
            40hrs IS 40hrs--whether it's 4/10 or 5/8. I worked 5/8s here years ago & there was NO difference in number of calls, effectivness or anything else. You cannot tell officers NOT to back someone up on a call & expect reprocussions (aka lawsuit) so how's THAT saving money?
            If they're going to "cut staffing" it should be at the Management level as there are Sgts & Lts here that simply don't supervise anyone or only 1 or 2 people. If they really want to save money they need to consolidate jobs, go to 2-man units, cut down on the number of aircraft, and ( GOD'S SAKE'S!) try economizing a little at HQ & the precinct stations........
            I think they are talking overlaps. we work 4 10's but relief squads start at various time so that beats get the most coverage when it's busy. I think this guy was told what times needed the most coverage and what the dead times were. I doubt he looked at overhead like reports. if he aligns five 8 hour shifts with the busiest time, there is going to be more OT for reports. probably didn't look at things like vehicle fueling either. I do it at the end of each shift whether it's 8 or 10 hours. same with briefing. Once a shift whether it's 8 or 10 hours.

            Two man cars might make sense. just determine how many cars they need on the street and put the "extra" officers in cars. Heck, put the sgts and LTs in two man cars. They are always together at denny's or ihop anyway. might as well carpool .

            didn't phx negotiate some sort of deal to keep new sgts at their rank and pay but not make them sups at the last round of budget cuts?
            "Did that hurt? It looked like it hurt"

            Comment


            • #7
              Given the financial constraints, I doubt that Phoenix PD has any choice about whether to downsize.
              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

              Comment


              • #8
                The 5 x 8 being a money saver is based on math...3x8 is 3 people in 24 hours...it still takes 3 people to cover a day with 10's but the total hours is 30. Yes, it gives you time to write reports, brief, and load/unload your crap...but with so few calls to answer that shouldn't be a problem...LOL

                As for cops per call...ask George Cortez what he thinks...oh wait he was killed answering a "simple call" by himself.

                Comment

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