The budget burden

It’s the 200-pound brute cohabitating every police management office across the states: the budget gorilla. This year’s roundtable proves that some curse words have more than four letters, and the big one of these last years, and according to the...

What are your agency’s short (remainder of the year) and long-term goals (1 – 3 years)?

Twombly: We have a philosophy in our agency that we respond to all calls for service unlike some agencies. One example is the City of Madison, depending on the kind of incident—you had something stolen from your car, as an example—a minor crash, you get forwarded to a self-report phone number and basically they mail you the forms and you fill them out yourself. The sheriff’s office, we’ve never done that. If you call  in an incident, a deputy will show up. As far as providing that level of service to our constituents is a goal that we definitely want to maintain. Continuing to have the highest quality people that we can find to perform the different jobs within the sheriff’s office just to maintain our level of quality and service. Again, expanding with other community partners to try and address some of these issues facing society, to find if there’s better ways of dealing with them, I guess those are continuing goals. They’re not new by any means.

Yaniero: Our short-term goal over the next several months is to detect methods to reduce patrol time, allowing officers to engage in proactive, community based problem solving approaches, as opposed reacting to problems after they have occurred. This goal is linked to the growth within our city jurisdiction and the corresponding increase in demand for police service. We have several long-term goals. The first long includes the recruitment of a diverse work force for the future. The agency has been focused on policy revision, specifically those concerning recruitment, selection, training, performance evaluation, and rewards, to develop policies that more accurately reflect our commitment to the philosophy and practice of community policing. The Jacksonville Police Department has occupied the same facility since 1956. The building is outdated and is in dire need of replacement. The City has hired an architectural firm, purchased property and is in currently engaged in the design process. The police department’s goal is to construct a technologically-friendly building that will improve the operational aspects of police services. The development of appropriate quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate policing is another long time goal of our agency. These measures would prevent falling back to an overemphasis on meaningless statistics such as number of citations issued and response time.

Split optimism

And if this year’s roundtable participants are right, the 200-lb. gorilla is not vacating soon, nor within the next couple years.

And Twombly’s confidence in a drastic economic mood swing before he retires from law enforcement is split.

You listen to the quote unquote experts and that can scare the crap out of you, quite frankly,” He says. “I’m hopeful that by the time I retire, in the next three to five years, there’ll start to be an upswing. But am I confident? I can’t say that I am.

But with optimistic consideration he adds: “I hope I’m wrong.”

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