I finally got a chance to clear my schedule and sit down with the no-longer-new B'game police chief Eric Wollman and Support Services Captain and long-time BPDer Mike Matteucci for the chat I mentioned back in September. I like to think in 3's so my outline started with the chief's three top priorities and we covered a lot of ground around those; some of which I'll relay here in Parts 1, 2 and 3. Commenters can sort their thoughts and commentary accordingly.....I hope.
Every leader and manager evolves to such a position by focusing on their team. I came into the discussion knowing that the number of sworn officers in B'game has declined since the dotcom bust. Right now we have 37, down from a peak of 50 and there are 20 more staff in parking enforcement, dispatch and the like. The chief's top priority is figuring out how to staff up a "Quality of Life" team of officers. Such a team would not be tied to real-time events that arrive over the radio, but rather would pay extended attention to things like a particular address that has complaints, retail theft prevention, Mills Canyon or Washington Park shenanigans, or even leash law violations. I had not pondered this before, but it makes sense that a single officer cannot react in real-time on a shift and hope to catch things in prevention mode very often. That also fits with my experience from a ride-along I did in 2006.
A quality of life team would also allow for a wider B'game school partnership (beyond the solo officer currently doing it). We also have four detectives who rotate on/off patrol every three years and typically have an active case load of about a dozen cases each. During the discussion, I highlighted the growth in town (Summerhill, the drive-in site, other Bayfront development, you name it) and how that drives a need for more cops on the beat. I'll look forward to that budget discussion.