Manager's Report: Performance matters — The Police Department

Interpreting the SEA report

Steve Thompson

Steve Thompson

In this article we continue the review of performance measures for city operations included in the report on Service Efforts and Accomplishments — the SEA Report — with a specific focus on the services of the Police Department.

As with each section of the report, we present a summary of how the services of the city are making the Island a better place, and how we measure success.

Three different publications of the city help to answer the questions of stewardship — the budget defines the city’s priorities by defining the services and projects funded with public dollars; the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report provides an efficiency report, with an accounting of how funds were spent; and the SEA Report provides a summary of the effectiveness of the use of these funds.

This article suggests reasonable conclusions based on the performance measures listed for the Police Department. The cycle of reporting for law enforcement is driven largely by state and federal reporting requirements, so typically these will be based on the latest complete information available, gathered in 2008.

Chief Thom Carr and the officers and employees of the Police Department give a professional and extraordinary effort every day on this Island, and work to promote, preserve, and deliver a feeling of security, safety, and quality services through a variety of prevention, patrol and specialized services.

The primary challenge facing the department is how to provide the same high level of exceptional community-based services while facing significant increases in demands for service in a lean staffed organization. During 2008 the Department responded to a considerable increase in demand for service, with a 5 percent increase in crime and incident reports and a 42 percent increase in residential and commercial alarms. Theft complaints increased by 11 percent, marine complaints increased by 31 percent, and boating accidents increased by 44 percent.

The department responded with an increase in residential and commercial patrols, up 135 percent, and foot and bike patrols, up 43 percent. With this need for greater patrol efforts the department spends less time on traffic and traffic-related responses, and experience shows that in future years this could result in higher demand for vehicle and traffic accident responses, which in turn require much greater time for response and resolution than traffic stops, citations and warnings.

Statistically speaking, however, Marco Island is a low crime area, and experienced decreases in a number of important areas — fewer calls and complaints on fights or disturbances, damaged property, domestic violence and burglary.

Some of the performance measures for the department are listed below, with a brief summary in italics of why this performance goal is important and the status of the efforts:

Conduct a Citizen’s Police Academy: The Academy, held for the first time in 2009, both informs residents on the changes and challenges in law enforcement and provides an opportunity for two-way communication on community and departmental needs. Status — Completed.

Conduct 730 hours radar or electronic speed measurement device patrols: Constant training allows officers to better serve the community with the right technology and the right attitude. Status — 370 hours completed.

Deploy our radar/message sign trailer 292 days to raise awareness regarding traffic and pedestrian safety. The message trailer, with the ability to display speeds for oncoming traffic, helps to inform and educate motorists traveling in designated areas and to encourage voluntary compliance with the speed limits on the Island. Status — 90 days.

Increase the UCR Part I Crimes clearance rate, as measured by the Uniform Crime Reports, to 24 percent, and maintain a UCR Part II Crimes clearance rate, as measured by the Uniform Crime Reports, of 70 percent. Crime clearance is often the measure used to show the effectiveness in investigation and enforcement with a police department, and an increasing clearance rate is an improving percentage of solved and cleared crimes.

As anticipated for the first time since 2000, the crime rate on Marco Island will not decrease, based on criteria in the 2008 Unified Crime Report (UCR). For the tenth consecutive year, however, UCR data will demonstrate an increased crime clearance rate supported by an increase in those arrested and charged with committing crimes on Marco Island, Part One Crimes, 30.41 percent and Part Two Crimes, 95.23 percent. Status — Part 1 Clearance Rate, 35 percent; Part 2 Clearance Rate, 81 percent.

Each department, employee and volunteer contributes to the successful operation of the city, and the Police Department certainly serves to provide the community support and assistance needed by residents and businesses. Information on the Police Department, and the SEA Report, is only usable if it is widely available and distributed, and this information is available through the city’s Web site (cityofmarcoisland.com) and through notices provided in the city’s written and electronic communications.

Thank you for living and working in this community, and I appreciate your support and discussion of the issues and trends that we face.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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