Marietta Police Response Times Slashed
Sharp reduction credited to PSA Program
Evidence-Based Policing is a modern concept based on the premise that to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in terms of police service delivery, police departments should fine-tune policies, programs and practices that provide maximum benefit for community they serve. Essentially it means doing things that work; thus departments need to evaluate measures, or metrics, of overall work performance. For police departments, these measurements include crime rate, crime prevention, response time to calls for police service and police-community relations.
In 2017, when the City of Marietta conceived the Public Safety Ambassador (PSA) Program, it was in furtherance of the Evidence-Based policing methodology. The idea was to create a cadre of non-sworn police employees who would perform non-critical/non-dangerous police functions. They would free up officers’ available time to focus more on critical duties of crime-fighting and responding to urgent and emergency calls for police service. For Marietta, the PSA Program has been an experiment in Evidence-Based Policing.
Beginning in October 2017, the PSA Program has now been in operation for six full months and our initial evaluation is indeed very promising. Comparing the six-month period from October 2016 through March 2017, during which there was no PSA Program, with the six-month period of October 2017 through March 2018, the period during which the new PSA Program has been in operation, there have been some interesting findings. Since their inception, the PSAs prepared 525 police case reports; on 3523 occasions they checked crime hot-spots in the city and they investigated 229 private property accidents. It is fair to say their productivity was high, especially for eight new employees, more important however is the impact they have had on overall police service delivery to Marietta residents:
The overall average MPD response time to calls for police service, in comparable six-month periods, has dropped from 2 minutes and 44 seconds in 2016-17 to 2 minutes and 20 seconds in 2017-18. When lives are in danger 24 seconds can be an eternity!
While our six-month comparison is preliminary, all early indicators for the PSA Program are very positive. Response times are down, crime is down, and positive community relations, at least in terms of the number of high quality applicants (73) for one vacant PSA position, are all very good. Promising as this scenario is for Marietta, we have to be cautious not to give all the credit for positive outcomes to one program. As the skill, creativity and enthusiasm of Marietta Police Officers continues to grow there are innumerable benefits for our community. Nevertheless, for the time being, the experiment of bringing local citizens in as ambassadors that help us all strive to keep our community safe seems to be working in the spirit of Evidence-Based Policing.
Chief Dan Flynn