Police Chief Ernest Brown released this week the first in a series of reports that he says will help the determine appropriate staffing levels.
The workload analysis examines how much time officers spent responding to incidents during October and when they were busiest.
“The goal is to lend a mathematical equation to the determination of how many police officers (are) necessary to provide service to the community,” Brown wrote in the report.
Twenty officers collectively spent 798.5 hours, or 27.9 percent of their work time, acting on 911 calls and incidents observed during patrols, Brown’s report said. The figure does not include sergeants’ on-duty activities.
The remainder of the time in a typical month would be used for training and patrolling, Brown wrote.
When other officers such as sergeants were included in the totals, incident response accounted for about 33 percent of work hours.
That’s typical for a suburban police department, Brown wrote.
“It should be clear that theses results do not indicate that there is too much down time or that we have too many officers,” he wrote. “What should be clear is that with that level of discretionary time that there is considerable latitude to maximize the efficiency and enhance our crime fighting and crime prevention capability.”
Officer-initiated activities, such as pulling over a speeding driver, accounted for nearly 45 percent of the events.
Many report findings confirm through statistics the conventional police wisdom on crime trends, Brown wrote.
Incidents requiring police response happen at the highest rate, for example, on weekends and in the late evening, the report showed.
About 19.8 percent of the action happened on Saturdays, making it the busiest day of the week.
The most active time of day, with 29.3 percent of the events, was between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Early mornings between 5 and 8 a.m. were quietest, seeing only 9.3 percent of incidents.
The department schedules the same number of officers for each shift, but Brown wrote that the data indicates it could serve Darien well to reallocate some officers to busier shifts from slower ones.
DU-COMM, which provides police dispatch services for Darien, supplied the data for the report.
Brown will formally present the results, published earlier this week on the city of Darien website, at Thursday’s .
In the coming months, Brown wrote that he will analyze data from at least one spring and one summer month to account for seasonal differences in crime levels.
He also plans to examine the period from May to December 2011 after Darien transferred its dispatch services to DU-COMM.