In the law enforcement environment of today a significant amount of focus is being directed towards public safety reform. Merriam-Webster defines reform as “to put or change into an improved form or condition.” Synonyms include improvement, transformation, reorganization, refine and modification. Public safety reform can include a wide range of topics such as department structure, strategic and mission objectives; public safety initiatives, policies and procedures; workflows and business processes; training protocols; and performance metrics. The topic is so wide-ranging that it can be difficult to develop an actionable plan that provides value both to the community and public safety operations.
The attention on reform provides departments the ability to take an objective and comprehensive review of their current state of their agency to identify opportunities for improvement. However, reform implies change and the statement “not every department has a positive culture for change” will surprise no one. Many departments need a catalyst to implement change to improve their operations whether it be focused on culture, operational effectiveness, time efficiency or value to the community they serve. This article is intended to identify a variety of opportunities at a high-level that departments could consider in exploring areas of reform.
Reform initiatives must benefit a diverse audience including the community being served:elected officials, city/county management, and public safety. Reform initiatives must be realistic and capable of demonstrating tangible and measurable improvements. The goals of the reform need to be clearly stated. A cost benefit analysis should be completed for each initiative in order to fully understand the total cost. This total cost includes initial and recurring costs; level of effort to implement; and all the requirements for staffing, infrastructure and technology. This process enables the department to to determine if there will be a positive Return on Investment (ROI) prior to green lighting an initiative. Achieving a positive Return on Investment is a key component to the successful implementation of any reform.
Areas for Improvement
Below are some of the wide range of opportunities for departmental improvement. As you can see, some are more complex and may require significant planning, while some are much smaller in scope and can be accomplished quickly.
Policies and Procedures
Monitoring Department Performance – Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement
Community Communications and Involvement
Winbourne Consulting has assisted numerous agencies in analyzing, evaluating and implementing departmental programs. For more information on how they could assist your department, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reforming Public Safety
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The attention on reform provides departments the ability to take an objective and comprehensive review of their current state of their agency to identify opportunities for improvement. However, reform implies change and the statement “not every department has a positive culture for change” will surprise no one.