Budget and Project Update
The Town council has approved the FY15 budget which is effective on July 1, 2014. The Police Department received the following positions: two police officers, two civilian patrol technicians, and two detention transport supervisors for the pending holding facility project. Our focus this year was to fill patrol resource positions and the detention supervisor positions. The police officer and civilian patrol technician (CPT) positions were requested as patrol resources, based on the requirements identified in our patrol staffing analytical program. The program identifies patrol staffing needs based on computer assisted dispatching (CAD) data and operational service goals. Tentatively, we are planning to assign the CPTs to a swing shift. This will give us a total two CPTs on day shift and four on swing shift providing coverage every day of the week. The CPTs are being trained to collect DNA and fingerprint evidence in order to collect evidence to support the expansion of the types of calls taken by Teleserve. CPTs will continue to investigate traffic collisions, abandoned vehicles, and enforce parking violations. The expansion of the Teleserve/CPT function will reduce the patrol workload, allowing officers to focus their efforts on prevention, enforcement, and crime reduction.
It will take a year to eighteen months to train and hire the two new police officer positions. Once that is completed, the tentative plan is to assign them to a family violence response team. This team will have the responsibility for initial response and investigation of domestic violence related calls for service, violations of domestic related court orders, incorrigible juveniles, and child neglect / abuse. The team will review all domestic violence related offense reports and lethality assessments, work in coordination with victim advocates and our counseling staff, and to develop safety plans for DV victims. The team will conduct follow-up on cases not otherwise assigned to Investigations and will work arrest warrants for DV cases. Officers assigned to this team will receive additional training in family violence. This response team will be a subgroup of the Crime Suppression Team and will be assigned to a swing shift with seven day coverage. Additionally, these officers will respond as back up or support units to emergency and priority calls for service. A supervisor will be requested in the FY15 budget process to divide Crime Suppression Team responsibilities, subsequently this will reduce fill in responsibilities currently performed by patrol supervisors. The additional supervisor would be in place when the officers are trained and fully functional. This program will reduce workload for patrol officers and will provide greater focus on domestic and family violence in order to prevent further acts of violence. In addition to the sworn sergeant in FY15, we will focus on filling support positions in Investigations to address increasing workloads and our increased focus on career criminals. We will also request school resource officers to fill two schools which have been added in the last couple of years.
We recently received the body worn cameras for the initial testing phase which we plan to implement within the next two months. We are working to finalize the appropriate general orders and will be working to develop training on the operational aspects of the cameras and storage systems. During the testing period, cameras will be on a two-week rotation between each Patrol team, Traffic and Crime Suppression; additionally cameras will be assigned to the Criminal Apprehension Team (CAT) for the duration of the testing period. By testing the cameras before full implementation, officers will have the opportunity to become familiar with the operation of the camera, the uploading system, and the rules surrounding their use. At the end of the testing period we will evaluate the effectiveness of the general orders and modify them if necessary. Full implementation will take place sometime after July 1, at which time each uniformed officer assigned to Patrol, Traffic, Crime Suppression, and CAT officer will be equipped with a camera.
Another major technology related project is the electronic citation program. Tablets with mobile data and RMS access have been purchased for all traffic officers. Traffic officers will be equipped with portable printers and electronic citation software that will allow them to scan driver’s license and vehicle registration data directly into the electronic citation. The citation will be transferred directly into our records management and court management systems, avoiding manual entry and potential errors. We hope to include an electronic warning, which will allow us to capture data and information on violators who are issued verbal warnings. The program will eventually be implemented in patrol as lap-top computers are eventually replaced by improved tablets, based on end-of-service-life of the existing lap top computers within the next three to four years.
The Gilbert-Chandler Unified Holding Facility (G-CUHF) is moving forward. The two new detention transport supervisors that were approved in the budget are needed to staff and supervise the facility. Modifications to our current facility should start within the next thirty days and we hope the G-CUHF will be operational by September. Combining resources with the Chandler Police Department is a cost effective solution to our detention holding needs and will increase the availability of sworn police resources in both of our communities. Increased availability allows us to direct our sworn resources towards the timely response to calls for service and crime reduction / prevention activities.
Our Intelligence and Analysis Unit was recently requested to identify data on our response to calls for service involving mental illness and substance abuse, in conjunction with a social needs assessment for our community. From May 2013 through May 2014, Gilbert police officers responded to more than 404 incidents involving subjects who were making threats to harm themselves or others; 21 suicides; 198 attempted suicides, 193 emergency mental health petitions, and 80 mentally disturbed persons acting in a disruptive or threatening manner; this is an average of 17 mental health related calls per week. During this same period, officers made 1,231 arrests for drug related offenses. Other than suicides, all of these incidents were resolved without death or serious injury to the public, the suspect, or to officers. Each one of these calls potentially resulted in a life being saved. During Fiscal Year 2013, we recorded one use of force event for every 551 calls for service we responded to, and one use of force event per 34 arrests. The majority of our uses of force involve control holds and take downs. I believe that this information demonstrates that our highly trained officers demonstrate considerable restraint, but are prepared to use the force necessary to control dangerous and quickly evolving situations in an environment of increased violence towards police officers.
If you have not heard, Gilbert is now the sixth largest community in Arizona with an estimated 2013 population of 229,972.