Patrol workload staffing can be tedious. It may require trial and error before getting to that optimized point where the staff allocation is exactly the level needed to fully cover the community and respond to its calls for service. In Chicago, this dilemma is further magnified with the city’s population demographics. The patrol’s beat staffing isn’t able to address the unique challenges of Chicago being a highly diverse yet segregated city which resulted in delayed response in neighborhoods with higher minority populations and higher rates of violent crimes.
To talk about the intricacies of this issue is Dr. Alexander Weiss, Ph.D. Dr. Weiss has a prolific 40-year career as a public safety practitioner, researcher, trainer, and consultant. He’s previously served as the director of Northwestern University Center for Public Safety and Professor of Management and Strategy at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern. He currently works as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University and is the president of Alexander Weiss Consulting.
Points discussed in this session include:
- The initial workload analysis conducted for the Chicago Police Department in 2010 that found disproportionality of patrol deployment and how the Chicago PD leadership responded to the findings of the study.
- The need for additional personnel that was left unaddressed that resulted in more spending in overtime hours.
- The decision to repeat the workload analysis and the zero-based approach employed to create staffing allocation.
- The concept of urban service delivery from a 1975 Houston PD Study that found out that minority communities are actually getting their share of public services and there is no racial disparity when it comes to the response time of deployment.
- A look into the demographics and characteristics of Chicago, the organizational structure of Chicago PD, and the concentration of crime in its neighborhoods.
- The three pockets of district staffing where officers are allocated based on the Deputy Chief’s discretion.
- A look into Chicago’s beat configuration and how beat staffing is initially determined.
- The actual beat workload based on the average number of calls for service and other variables factored in for the analysis.
- Figuring out the beat staffing minimums and using the workload approach to come up with the optimal number of officers per beat.
- Tables and statistics that illustrate the workload of the Chicago PD segmented by day, month, time, district, calls for service types, priority level, and call time.
- The problem posed by uncoordinated multiple-unit response that likewise creates patrol allocation imbalance.
- The issues encountered by Chicago PD in their effort to fix their staffing through a data-driven approach.
- Points raised during the Q&A segment were about:
- The impact of 10-hour shifts to the workload.
- Things to take into account in the number of officers to assign for foot patrol.
- The types of staffing system used by the agencies.
- Utilizing tactical and rapid response teams for calls for service.
- Deployment considerations for critical incidents.
- Defining terms and explaining methodology when working with agencies.
- The importance of gathering as much data during calls that may be used for analysis.
- “How important utilizing data over time impacts decision making.” — Diane
- “The most valuable thing I learned from this webinar was the breakdown of the beat system, the number of officers that were staffed using each beat, and the number of calls.” — Erin
- “An interesting tip was to approach future staffing without knowing current staffing to determine the true need for personnel.” — Ken
- “It can be useful for many different dept. Corrections, Probation & Parole.” — Marieclaire
- “A very good presentation! Well laid out – Dr. Weiss did a nice job of walking one through the thought process behind an analysis of calls, staffing levels and a multitude of other factors to consider. Excellent!” — Steve