Virtual Police Department
Virtual Police Department
Note: Background information on the Virtual Police Department for the final project is found in Course Content.
The assignment is to read the document in the course syllabus labeled “Virtual P D Case Study.” This document describes The Virtual Police Department, medium-sized police department with an average amount of crime.
You will write a 7-10-page report (cover page and bibliography not included in page count) that addresses the issues and problems listed. The paper must:
1.Identify the four (4) most critical issues/problems facing the Virtual Police Department
2.describe how the history of the agency has contributed to any of these issues/problems
3.discuss how the department is organized and managed, and what changes should be made to address the selected issues/problems
4.discuss the demographic differences in the community and the police department, and what strategies could be implemented to make the agency more reflective of the community
5.discuss how the agency culture has contributed to any of the selected issues/problems and describe how to create change in this area
6.provide an analysis of the crime statistics and identify strategies/tactics to reduce crime and/or increase closure
7.provide a discussion on possible solutions to any of the other issues/problems selected from the case study
NOTE: References must include the text and at least three (3) external scholarly sources, (textbooks or reference publications, peer-review articles, which support the points made in the report. Scholarly sources do not include news articles, text produced solely for the Internet, Wikipedia, etc. See Library Services for assistance in this area.
Formatting requirements: Your report should include
•· a cover page with your name, project title, course, and date submitted
· an introductory section that explains the purpose of the paper
· a brief reflections on the agency and its administration
· the body of the paper, which addresses the six previously mentioned factors
· A minimum of seven (7) FULL, maximum of 10 narrative pages, not including cover page and references page.
· The composition may be a combination of outline and narrative with outline statements separated by no more than double spacing, 12 pt. font, and 1 inch margins.
· Resources, including course materials, must be cited both in the narrative where appropriate and on a separate references page, using APA citation rules.
· At the instructor’s discretion, this project may be submitted to Turnitin or other service for verification of originality.
Virtual P D Case Study
Supplemental Information for Final Project: Case Study: The Virtual Police Department
Virtual City Police Department
The Virtual City Police Department was created 63 years ago with a few police officers and a Chief. The department was instituted by the City Council under authority granted the City of Virtual in its founding Charter and consistent with the laws of the state. The department has emerged as one of the primary policing agency in the state. It has become a modern police department with 155 sworn officers. There are 70 civilian employees appointed to positions ranging from clerical support to correctional officers to crime scene investigators. The department is considered “medium” size in the spectrum of police departments across the country. It has four commands (the organizational chart is attached) and many divisions and units of a modern police agency. It was relatively stable department personnel wise. An exception to this stability is the cyclical large out-migration of retiring officers followed by an accelerated hiring binge followed by a period of relative personnel constancy until the next cluster of officers becomes eligible for retirement. Each of these personnel cycles (which occur every 5 to 7 years) has resulted in the loss of experienced officers, particularly from the supervisory and command levels, followed by mass promotion of less experienced ( and arguably less qualified) replacements. This trend has resulted in commanders and supervisor, especially the first-line supervisor, with little experience in police administration. The city has not been successful implementing a deferred retirement option plan (DROP) due primarily to a miss-calculation of the cost vs. benefit by key members of the City Council.
The department is young in terms of tenure for its officers. Over 30% of its current staff, sworn and civilian alike have been hired within the last five years. This lack of experience is clearly reflected in the direction and decision making of first-line supervision, the increasing number of complaints from internal and external sources, and the decreasing percentage of crimes solved and/or successfully prosecuted. In the latest mass-retirement cycle, the large number of retirements resulted in numerous promotions and a loss of institutional knowledge. The current leadership in the agency is young and has less than 15 years’ experience. Budget cuts have also greatly restricted management and leadership training for the newly promoted command staff members.
In 1950, the mayor and City Council members who empowered and then organized the department hired their friends as the initial departmental members. Fortunately a deep sense of personal integrity and close ties with the community provided the foundation of honest and professional law enforcement service with no taint of systemic corruption. Nepotism, however, was rampant. Hiring of family and friends was and remains the common, even preferred practice. As one former Chief put it, “This way we are sure to keep all the undesirables off the police force.” Hiring notices are not publically announces in any form.
The state certification standard for education (high school diploma or equivalency) has been maintained, but higher education for officers and even commanders was not encouraged nor endorsed. Experience was the prime educator for VPD police personnel. Only since the mid to late 1990s has college education been suggested as a desirable trait for VPD officers. Currently, less than 10% of the department has more than two years of college. Most officers have their only college credits as a result of the articulation agreement between the regional police academy and a local community college. Recent efforts to require that commanders to have Bachelor’s degrees or higher was derailed because it would render ineligible so many of the current candidate pool.
Of the twelve chiefs since the inception of the VPD only one was hired from outside the department. With rare exception, the chief’s terms lasted only as long as the Mayor who hired them. This dependency on the mayoral appointment casts a political taint on nearly all operational or administrative decisions. The last three chiefs have all come from within the department and have led the agency for a combined 24 years. Their longevity testifies to the political savvy of the Chief. The relationship between the city of Virtual and the county and state governments is one of mutual indifference. The mayor, county executive and governor often differ in political positions and have little to do with each other. As a result the state police, county sheriff and VPD chief rarely discuss mutual interests or common causes.
A majority of the department is white and male and is not statistically as diverse as the community it is charged to protect. The current command staff does not accurately reflect the minority rank and file and does not even mirror the current diversity of the city heads and administrators.
The police union, representing all officers below the rank of Lieutenant, is strong and very politically active. Police union support is sought by every candidate for local elected office. There have been unsubstantiated rumors that past mayors have even allowed the union to select the new chief of police. The union has also negotiated several prime benefits when negotiating with the city, including a 12 hour shift schedule. Unfortunately this schedule has actually decreased the number of officers available to answer calls for police services. VPD officers (and by default, VPD command staff) are one of the highest paid police departments in the region. While this enables VPD to attract and recruit quality applicants, the cost is devastating to the decreasing departmental budget. City elected officials has vowed to hold the line on any additional taxes. Recent economic hardships, locally, statewide, and nationally, have significantly reduced the opportunity for grants and other financial aid. To meet the negotiated salary levels, the police department has had to make significant cuts elsewhere including fleet maintenance, CSI field and lab equipment, telecommunications and building maintenance.
Training is one of the main victims of the reduced administrative budget. The law enforcement profession is complex and entails a multitude of roles and duties Recruit academy training is typically geared toward training generalists and in-service training focuses on recertification (e.g., firearms) or skills required for promotion in rank or duty assignment. New recruits are trained at a regional academy and are certified by the state’s Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) council. Graduates are generally ready for patrol once cut loose from field training. However, in-service training has suffered greatly. The Education and Training Division (E&T) has not kept up with law updates, changes, and recent court rulings. It has all but eliminated creating and distributing Training Bulletins to the officer and commanders who need them most. In-service now consists of only those issues and hours needed for each officer to maintain their state certification. Each officer is assigned an individual training date in order to avoid overtime and keep beats staffed on the road. A court summons, illness, etc. may nullify an officer’s scheduled training. Twenty-three percent of the sworn members did not meet the in-service hours required by the POST council to retain their certification. Eleven percent of VPD officers failed or were not scheduled for weapon requalification. The Chief has avoided de-certification by promising additional in-service hours next year
Because of its close-to-the-community roots, subscribing to the philosophy of Community Oriented Policing in the 1990s was natural. However, the reduction in the number of available units and the increase in calls for service have caused the department to all but abandon pro-active policing and simply run from 911 call to call. The department no longer performs traffic control for charitable foot races, or responds to vehicle lock-outs or other non-enforcement activities
While most elements of police culture are universal, each agency possesses its own personal and distinctive organizational culture. The public demands that all professions be held to a high standard, but for obvious reasons policing has an even higher threshold to meet. All police officers must accept this higher standard. Historically, Virtual City Police experienced very few situations where officers would abide by what has been referred to as “the code of silence.” In the VPD integrity was always at the core of the agency. If someone did not follow the rules, they were usually reported and the problems were addressed. In the past several years that part of the culture has changed. Minor rule bending and violations are often ignored, even by the inexperienced first line supervisors.
Organization of the Department
The agency is divided into four Commands; Patrol, Investigations, Special Operations and Support Services. These commands are led by a Commander and dramatically range in the scope and scale of responsibility. As is typical for local law enforcement, Patrol is the largest unit. The other departmental elements are clustered under their respective commands based primarily in the personal skills, talents, background d and personal preferences of the commanders. Reorganization to a small or large extent occurs with the appointment of each chief and/or commander promotion.
• Organized 1930
• Authorized Full-Time Sworn Police Officers 155
• Civilian Personnel 30 full-time civilians, including 11 clerical/office personnel and non-sworn correctional officers in the detention center
• Calls for Police Service in 2012 totaled 1 63, 433; dispatched police units, 131,548
• FY09 Budget $16,878,969
• Starting Police Officer ANNUAL Salary $45,926
• Police Officer Training 15 weeks classroom instruction -4 weeks field training, 21 hours annual in-service minimum
Demographics of Virtual Police Department
The demographics for the VIRTUAL Police Department are indicated within the following tables. The first table indicates the department’s total number of employees, regardless of ethnicity or gender. The subsequent tables specify the various job roles within the agency and how they are staffed based upon ethnicity and gender.
END OF VIRTUAL POLICE DEPARTMENT REFERENCE MATERIAL