Chief Ernest Brown: Jobs Aren't at Stake in Police Workload Review
Brown said he plans to analyze staffing from an eight-month period by March.
A number of officers told Chief Ernest Brown last fall that they believed he was brought to Darien to cut police jobs, Brown said during Thursday's Police Committee meeting.
While he is reviewing the police department's staffing practices, he said the analysis is not a means to justify trimming officers.
“The more appropriate use of this is to make sure we are staffing in the most appropriate way and allocating resources in the most appropriate way by looking at the data clearly,” he said.
The workload analysis released earlier this week is just the first step in a comprehensive review scheduled to be completed by March.
That analysis will cover an eight-month period that spans from May 1—the date Darien switched its police dispatch services to DU-COMM—through the end of 2011.
The report released this week, which covers the percentage of time officers spent responding to incidents in October 2011, as well as the busiest days and times for activity, establishes the framework for the deeper analysis.
Twenty officers spent roughly 27 percent of their time responding to calls and acting on things they observed on patrol, Brown said.
“It does not mean officers have way too much time on their hands,” he said. The average percentage of time spent dealing with incidents in a community such as Darien is around 30 percent, he said.
The number, however, requires greater analysis, he said. Training and hours spent in court cut away at an officer’s work day, resulting in less discretionary time for patrolling.
Ultimately Brown said he wants to be able to direct the discretionary time officers do have to activities such as cruising residential streets and patrolling businesses for burglars.
He is also considering reinstating bike patrols as soon as March or April. The department has six or seven bikes from its previous bike patrol program.
The raw data contained in this report does have some flaws, Brown said.
Some of the figures for the time spent responding to incidents, for example, are lower than the reality because certain officers will clock the event as closed while they’re still filling out a report. The clock should continue to run until the officer has completed the report to more accurately reflect time devoted to incidents, Brown said.
A list that reports the percentage of time individual officers spent responding to incidents uniformly calculates the figure as if the officer worked a full schedule throughout the month. It does not account for time the officer may have taken as sick days or vacation.
After completing the comprehensive analysis, Brown said he will send the report to two pro bono consultants for review.