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Specialized Departments

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  • Specialized Departments

    Just curious as to what some of y'all think of specialized police departments. I ask due to seeing a news report in L.A. on how LAPD is attempting to combat crime at the City libraries. LA City had General Services which covered the City libraries and parks. But the City decided to fold the unit and have LAPD handle it. Yes the GS was small about 400 officers to cover but they did a fairly good job. The same for LA County Office of Public Safety. They did the county parks, hospitals and county buildings. Due to politics the board of supervisors decided to fold OPS. Many officers were able to become deputies a lot where not. Now some of those buildings and parks have seen a rise in crime. I think those departments should have been left as is. The same can be said with the L.A. Housing Authority Police, it was said that LAPD didn't want the responsibility of the housing projects. Some felt HA police did a great job handling issues there, but politics again.

    how do city managers or BOS think by rolling services in with a larger animal they will be better? I think large municipalities should be some what divided. I see no problem with airport police departments, or harbor departments. Those are niches that need attention to.

    thoughts....
    I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

    It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

  • #2
    While I don’t really know the inner workings, look at NYPD. They had Transit and Housing rolled into their agency. Those two are huge subsets.

    I am all for consolidation but it must recognize that those agencies required a different approach and dedication to their field operations. The admin stuff is mostly the same so it makes total sense there.
    Last edited by RGDS; 01-09-2018, 12:19 AM.
    semper destravit

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    • #3
      Surely the LAPD rank and file can respond to crime at libraries and parks when it's called through. If there's a need for specialisation in a certain area or field then a sub-branch of a large department should be able to provide that service.

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      • #4
        The problem that lied with the consolidation of services was the fact the staffing levels were low from the start. I know for LA County the department of health services, parks department and welfare offices all paid for the services out of their budgets. There was always overtime all over the county. When LASD came in the absorbed those vacancies atop of their own current vacancies. The hospitals and offices and police officers assigned to those facilities so they saw an officer daily. The parks were a patrol. Guys would make their rounds. However, when consolidated things were manipulated visibility was high. Now years later not so much.

        so does having a dedicated force provide better coverage? Or is a bureau or unit good enough?
        I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

        It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

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        • #5
          You're never going to get as good as service anywhere as having your own police department with 100% focus on a specific area, facility, or district. Joining a larger agency means people will come and go quicker, mission creep will also be a factor, and slugs will be attracted to the specialized roles to avoid work. Now granted with good leadership, you can improve on some of these things, but usually not. Look at LASD losing the transit contract. MTA had some control over it because it was a contact, but the city libraries and facilities don't have any contract with LAPD as far as I know. No one should be shocked LAPD and LASD aren't accomplishing the mission as good as a specialized dept.

          That being said specialized depts are expensive. I think a better model is contracts with other agencies and heavy contract monitoring to ensure the big agencies are dedicating the necessary resources. Plenty of school districts contract out for SRO work, which I think is more effective than the school police dept in my area. Our local community college PD though is top notch, and there is no way my agency could give them as good as service as they currently receive.

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          • #6
            The bottom line in merging small agencies into larger ones is cost savings to the taxpayer. By having less administration the bean counters THINK they are saving money. And they are.

            They really don't care about cutting crime rates.........................they will just pressure the merged agency into stepping up their game by "doing more with less"

            It's all smoke and mirrors
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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            • #7
              Originally posted by moparfan View Post
              how do city managers or BOS think by rolling services in with a larger animal they will be better? I think large municipalities should be some what divided. I see no problem with airport police departments, or harbor departments. Those are niches that need attention to.

              thoughts....
              I think your giving too much credit to the city managers regarding their actual motivations. I don’t think police mergers like this occur to “be better” in terms of operational efficiency. I think they are simply looking at the bottom of what the city’s budget will save if a specialized police agency can be done away and its functions rolled into another LE agency.

              Politicians in large metro areas (and politicians in general) tend to be focused on things that benefit their political career (like touting how they saved the city $Xmillion by “realigning” police services) rather than actually doing things to improve efficiencies in public safety services.
              Last edited by Kimble; 01-10-2018, 01:22 PM.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                I think this will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some special districts (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) need their own police forces because of the nature of their jurisdiction and type of policing. Other specialized agencies could be folded into other departments.
                There are some things to consider. One is the tooth to tail ratio of commanders and support units to patrol, investigative, and specialized function. We share duties with the county police. Our sixty-two officer agency has three majors. The 1500 officer county department has three majors. Another issue is that many specialized agencies that market their jurisdiction (parks, housing, schools, etc.) have a vested interest in their police not doing law enforcement and creating the impression that all is well and people can certain visit their property in safety.
                John from Maryland

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                • #9
                  Here’s a perspective on how we do things. I know the decentralisation of policing in the US also stems from not wanting large police forces with lots of control over large segments of the population but I’ll just put it out there as a comparison.

                  We have two levels of policing: state and federal. All of our states have highly centralised urban populations. Nearly all states have a majority of the population living in the state capital. The federal police cover federal crimes and policing in the ACT (our equivalent to the District of Columbia). The federal police are basically the DEA, FBI, USPP, Secret Service and MPDC rolled into one.

                  In my state about 75% of the population live in Melbourne, the capital. Victoria Police is responsible for just about all policing that takes place outside the terminals of our largest airport.

                  Public transport systems? We do it
                  Rural areas? We do it
                  Prosecutions? We do it
                  River and water policing? Us again
                  Traffic
                  Univerisities

                  You get the idea. I get that such centralisation wouldn’t work in the US given the much larger population and mix of huge cities, suburban areas, large regional cities and rural areas and small towns.

                  On the other hand there’s very few issues with jurisdiction or which agency to contact and all of our police have gone through the same basic training academy and probationary system of general duties.

                  I think there is such a thing as overspecialising. I don’t think it’s really all that necessary for cities to have a separate police force just to patrol public libraries and parks. If we have a problem at a public library or park the police from the local station attend. Even if you wanted to have police specifically to patrol public parks and buildings surely it could be done just as effectively by a specialised LAPD unit. Does it really require a separate agency with its own chief and internal bureaucracy?

                  We police our transit system with a Transit Division. Just regular members of Victoria Police who undergo a bit of extra training around their powers and legislation when it comes to trains, trams and buses. It’s an important role but I don’t think it needs a separate police force to do it.

                  I know that local control of police is extremely important to the public in the US which is why just about every city has its own PD and sheriffs are elected but surely there’s room for rationalisation here and there?

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                  • #10
                    I think with a mission focused or speacliaized PD it can be beneficial to the entity being served. I came from one and see the difference since the big SD took over. Often time managers look at so called cost saving issues but I don't think there are always cost saving. No matter what be it a PD/AD unit or bureau or a stand alone you will always gets slugs or people coming or going. I think it's more personable to the entit.
                    I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

                    It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

                    Comment

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