Value for Taxes

Safe Community

Public Safety Staffing

Due: December 2021

Principle: Ensures the Police Department has appropriate staffing levels; communication, information, financial management support; and leadership services to achieve strategic and operational results, including maintaining a well-informed community.

Description

This Strategic Result focuses on the efforts the Arvada Police Department is investing into recruiting and retaining the high performing police professionals the City demands with the goal of maintaining staffing levels at 95% or higher on an ongoing basis.

Note: With 191 officers, 95% is 182 officers

Significance

According to Police Research Forum fewer people are applying to become police officers, and more people are leaving the profession, often after only a few years on the job. These trends are occurring even as many police and sheriffs’ offices are already short-staffed and facing challenges in developing a diverse workforce. The workforce crisis is affecting law enforcement agencies of all sizes and types large, medium, and small; local, state, and federal. And it is hitting departments in all parts of the country. 

There are ominous signs that the workforce crisis in policing may be getting worse. Traditional sources of job applicants including the military and family members of current officers are diminishing. A robust economy and strong job growth are creating more options for people entering the labor market, so police agencies are facing more competition. And the often rigid, quasi-military organizational structure of most police agencies does not align with the preferences of many of today’s job applicants.

An important issue complicating the situation is the fact that the work of policing itself is changing. The work of police officers is becoming more challenging. Criminal offenders are committing new types of cyber-crime, and are using computers to commit old types of crime in new ways, so officers must understand and be comfortable with new technologies. Furthermore, today’s police officers increasingly are being asked to deal with social problems, such as untreated mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness. As a result, the skills, temperament, and life experiences needed to succeed as an officer are becoming more complex. 

Lastly, the civil unrest that occurred in 2020 may also impact the size of our candidate pool moving forward.


Analysis

As of the end of 2020, the Arvada Police Department was fully staffed with some minor fluctuations and is above the 95% goal to date in 2021. The following is a list of projects and items that played a significant role in achieving this Strategic Result:

  • Built Blue recruitment campaign 
  • Enhanced hiring procedures allow faster onboarding
  • Competitive paying benefits and overall compensation package
  • Altered procedures for social distancing allowed hiring during COVID pandemic

The department plans on expanding the Built Blue recruitment campaign in 2021. 

Work System
Performance Measures

Police Officer Ratio

Description

Municipalities routinely monitor how many sworn personnel there are compared to the total population. CALEA drives this ratio for Arvada.

Significance

A law enforcement presence plays a key role in crime prevention and the overall safety of the community. Having the lowest ratio shows that Arvada employs more sworn officers per capita than benchmark municipalities.

Analysis

Police Response Time

Description

These high priority calls are defined as urgent or emergency calls.

Examples:

Priority 0 = officer foot pursuit, officer needs help, and shots fired

Priority 1 = person with a gun, hold up/panic alarm, domestic, robbery, stabbing, disturbance, injury accident, overdose

The measure monitors the time it takes for an officer to arrive at a priority 0-1 call for service (from dispatch pending receipt of call to officer arrival on scene). The intent is to measure our ability to rapidly respond to emergency calls for service; containment of critical incidents and increased opportunity to identify and arrest offenders.

The Industry average is 10 minutes. 

Significance

Emergency call response time is a critical element to citizen safety and customer service.  Citizens need and expect a prompt response from the Police Department when calling for help.  

Analysis

Q4-20 - We are still working under Colorado’s COVID-19 "Safer at Home" restrictions.  Baker Sector was the busiest sector, Adam Sector was the second busiest, Charlie Sector was the third busiest and Delta Sector was the least busy sector.  This is historically consistent.  Based on this, Delta is often the lightest staffed sector.  The call load in Adam, Baker and Charlie cause the few officers who are assigned to Delta to drift towards the busier sectors to help their team cover calls.  The sectors receiving more calls for service tend to have more officers in them during their shifts.  Baker has more officers working a smaller area so they can arrive sooner.  Officers working Delta tend to have a larger distance to travel in order to arrive on scene.  This is especially true if they are called outside of their sector for a call for service prior to receiving a higher priority call in Delta.  Geographic constraints also impact response times for officers assigned to Delta as they are unable to travel in a direct line.  Officers must travel around a large railroad shipping corridor to get between the two largest residential areas, Candelas and Leyden Rock.  The amount of calls for service in Delta is well below the average for the city.  This causes a larger hit to their response time if any calls for service are not responded to in less than 5 minutes.  This will always pull the Department Average down based on equally weighing the 4 sectors.  Calculating response times (YTD) using all 4 of the sectors, the combined response times to priority 0 or 1 calls are 78.56%.  This is a slight decrease from Q3-20.   Officers improved their response times in Adam and Delta sectors.   Officers decreased their response times in Baker and Charlie sectors.   Arvada PD suffered several injuries and this caused some manpower issues.  We will continue to request for officers to stay in their assigned sectors to limit the amount of time it takes to respond to priority 0-1 calls.

Data Source

Post March 21 2018, the data is now provided by Jeffcom and the Computer Aided Dispatch system, TriTech.    The priorities of all call types are set to default to the highest necessary response for that incident type.  However, the priority of these incident types can be changed, if the call taker determines the necessity.