Hire More Police, Audit Recommends
The city’s Police Department is generally in good shape, but it needs more personnel, less overtime and more time for special projects in the community, according to a management audit released this week.
John Heiss, a consultant with David M. Griffith & Associates in Burlingame, recommended to City Council members that they add at least 10 officers and six dispatchers instead of relying on overtime to handle the workload.
“Last year, you spent the equivalent of 14 officer positions in overtime just to maintain staffing in the field,” he said at a workshop on the issue Monday.
Besides tiring the officers, the reliance on overtime meant less continuity on beats and, hence, less movement in the ongoing effort to make community policing a predominant philosophy, Heiss said.
The consultant, who began the study last year, recommended that the city restore a “mobile task force” to take on issues of community policing because those projects have a greater impact on residents.
That could be accomplished by removing some officers from traffic investigations and a regional narcotics task force, he said.
City officials said they are already preparing to hire six officers.
They will present their own recommendations on how to proceed with the consultant’s suggestions at a July 27 meeting.
Councilman Ralph Bauer said he was concerned because the problems cited have been common knowledge for some time.
“Some of these issues have been discussed for the last three or four years, and there seems to have been little action,” he said.
“I don’t think, in the face of this report, we are going to continue to allow nothing to happen.”