Monday, May 26, 2008

Help us answer the call(s)....

I've mulled over the problems with our department over the past few months and what it really comes back to is a frustrating feeling of helplessness.

Each of us went into policing because we had a calling. No one unrealistically expected to become rich. We did expect to be treated fairly. We also expected to be able to have an impact in the community and to make a difference. That WAS and IS our calling.

We are disappointed to be in a position where we find ourselves reacting to what happens around us. I the "golden years" of DeKalb PD, we took the tiger by the tail and took the fight to the criminal element. We were in control of the streets.

Today, we find ourselves writing reports after the fact. Yesterday, we pro actively snuck into these questionable apartment complexes, motels, business districts, and neighborhoods in order to surprise the criminal element.

We went after crime before it became a problem for the general public. We were the Thin Blue Line!

Let us once again become that DISTINCT and DEFINITE BLUE LINE!

Today we do a report after the fact so the public can file an insurance claim.

What we really want is the ability, the leadership, and the resources we need to get back to proactive policing. We want to answer the call.

Let us answer the call. Let us do what we came to here to do. Let us help you, the general public.

Help us once again take charge of the streets of Dekalb. It belongs to you,and it is our job and calling to make sure it stays under your control.

You deserve better.



Kim said...

This is a great call to action but it is not clear to me (Joe citizen) what the needed actions are in this case. Can you post a follow-up with some specific suggestions? I think you will find willing and able supporters in the community and just need to tick off a few quick things folks can do to help. I will certainly spread the word through my civic networks in DeKalb. Here's to the once and future DeKalb!

Kim said...

... btw, your complaint about writing reports after the fact is interesting to me because it is the number one complaint I hear from DeKalb neighbors. I believe crime in our communities are under-reported because folks only think of reports in terms of insurance, not prevention or investigation.

Notcar1 said...

Here's a "semi-condensed" version of my original reply.

Tickets are a means to an end, not the end game. Writing tickets make us visible on the streets and creates a high profile that is also visible to the criminal element. Traffic stops lead to bigger things: wanted people, guns, drugs, and again high visibility.

Right or wrong, officers have the impression that the ticket is the end game. Officers don't have the time to really dig on a traffic stop. They need to quickly investigate and write the ticket if something larger isn't immediately apparent.

(I remember a time when it was a mortal sin to tell Radio to put a dispatched call on hold because you were going to make a traffic stop. If you had a dispatched call and went out on a traffic stop, you better have had a good reason.)

Officers are focused on areas that will be productive - tickets or quick arrests.

Some areas are under patrolled because we need to show productivity. Patrolling those areas do not show up on the daily individualized productivity reports the go to the captains and majors.

If the captains and majors don’t see tickets, arrests or a number of dispatched calls, our Sgt’s and Lt.’s tell us they have some explaining to do on our behalf. We could potentially be sent to another watch, if there is not an acceptable reason.

Resources: enough cars so officers don't wait for cars or come in early to give their cars to the next team. (I would love to see a study on how take home or assigned cars would impact the annual total of number of hours spent on patrol instead of waiting for cars, coming in early, checking out cars, and the loading and unloading of cars.)

Enough officers on the street to enable us to cover the territories. We're spending more time answering calls instead of proactively patrolling. Answering calls is part of the job, but there has to be a good mix.

We're spending time running to back up officers or get into position to potentially back officers that are a lot further away than they were in the past. We always backed other officers in the past, however, there are now fewer of us to do that.

Instead of backing the other officer in the SAME territory, you are now backing the officer in the territory NEXT TO YOU.

Computers and software that work would be helpful.

The system is constantly going down. Often, we can't run tags or people from the patrol cars. We have to go to another radio channel and wait in line for the radio operator to run someone or something for us.

Plain and simple: the new software sucks. It doesn't work and is not as functional.

There are patrol cars that are equipped with computers that have non-working touch screens (very useful when you are not able to use a normal mouse) and keyboards that have less than functional keys. It takes longer to write a report or a summary of an arrest by citation when the keys don't work properly.

Detectives and PIO’s need properly equipped cars with low mileage. One detective has no A/C. They need cars with built-in hidden lights and sirens. Right now they drive like the wind to crime scenes with a single barely visible blue light they put in the window. It reminds of SWAT officers driving great guns to a callout in their POV’s.

kim said...

As I read it then, besides the prioritization issue with ticketing vs patroling, there's either enough but poorly-managed money or there's not enough money.

If we need public attention/support for these operational issues you describe, do we need folks calling for better management or more money? (Why do I have the sinking feeling that the answer is "both?" :)

OU812 said...

Yes, it is both, but it is more management. We have a Chief of Police that is spending taxpayer money like it grows on trees. He is not spending it on the needs of the police officers or the citizens of DeKalb County.
1.8 million dollars on Recreation Vehicles? You are invited Kim to visit any precinct and take a tour of these lavish campers. To go along with the buses, you have attached to them 50 officers including take home cars. How much is the fuel cost? They have overtime rules the same as detectives, which pretty much includes all the overtime they can handle. And the kicker is they do not answer 911 calls!
The list could go on and on and on of the mismanagement of the taxpayers dollars. It would be interesting if an audit was called for. Fulton County just discovered 145 millions dollars of taxpayer money unaccounted for. How much money is unaccounted for in the police department?
How does Terrell Bolton afford to fly or drive to Dallas, Texas where he lives. every weekend?

Internal Affairs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Notcar1 said...

Not participating in or having the budget I can't say whether or not we have enough money.

I would have to defer that to someone with more information.

Let's have a foresic audit done.

Let's see where your tax dollars are being spent.

I would be interesting to:

1)See the results and

2) If the results, as in the case of the salary study commissioned and paid for by the County, are ignored.

655321 said...

OU812, let's not muddy the waters here, let's use facts. There are more than enough to make our case, and make it strong.

The RVs were NOT bought with taxpayer money, they were paid for with funds seized in narcotics investigations. Those funds can only LEGALLY be used for non-salary, non-routine things. That means no police cars, etc. Tasers, possibly.

But you're right, the ICP cars and officers - though probably a good idea - were implemented too soon. We need those officers answering calls. Especially since most of those 50 officers are the experienced officers we need out there training our plethora of new rookies.

I know there's a fair amount of poor morale - and I'm no fan of the way this place is being run - but by no researching our arguments and making sure they're solid, we're just hurting our own arguments. Which are already solid enough just using the truth.

Fly on the Wall said...

If you read all the comments, you will see that this department is spiraling downward. I hope the next CEO will take this department back to what it was years ago. If the citizens know the real truth , we will survive.