Monday, July 28, 2008

Attention mayoral candidates

In my opinion, one of the top issues in the race will be the state of the police department. We need a) more cops; and b) better cops. But thats not anything new.

Hopefully the mayoral candidates don't need me to tell them that, or to bring this audit to their attention. But this is my blog, wherein I rant about these things. So I'll highlight the key points, from my perspective:
About 9 percent of the 1,600-member force left last year ... In 2004, the departure rate was nearly 7 percent...

Auditors found the staffing problems have resulted in fewer officers on patrol. During one day in August, each of the city's six zones had one beat uncovered during a shift....

The auditors wrote that police commanders should focus more on why officers are leaving. One-half of the police officers who left in 2006 took lateral or lower-paying jobs, according to exit interviews reviewed by the auditors.
For starters, we need to pay them more. The fire fighters pitch a fit every time the city tries to increase cop salaries, but the cops are simply more important. The next mayor needs to be able to rally the council to stand up to the firefighters and give the cops a real pay increase (i.e. more than a 3% cost of living increase) to the cops.

Next, we need to clean up the fucking department. If people are leaving to take lateral or lower-paying jobs, there is something seriously wrong with that work environment beyond the pay scale. In my experience, that sort of attrition suggests systemic management failure. It's not just dirty and incompetent cops, although I'm sure there are plenty of each.

Requirements like this
probably aren't helping:
... several police officers have told CL that Pennington has placed an alleged quota system on officers. Though it's not on the books, insiders say officers must churn out arrests and warrants in order to receive outstanding performance reviews.
While Ceasar Mitchell is trying to score political points with Fire House 7, can a mayoral candidate please start throwing out some ideas to reform the police department? I want more than a citizens' review panel with no teeth.

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