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Staffing analysis could be coming for police department
MONROE - An analysis of staffing and man-hours at the Monroe Police Department may be conducted to determine how money is being spent at the department.

City Administrator Phil Rath said he has not yet looked into how much the study would cost, but he will have an estimate in time for the Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday, March 18. A decision was not reached at the March 3 public safety meeting regarding whether or not to go ahead with the analysis, but the city did decide to look into the cost of doing a study like this.

Police Chief Fred Kelley said he is not opposed to the proposed study, which would be conducted by the International City/County Management Association, but Kelley said he worries the study will be labor-intensive.

"It's really a yearlong endeavor," he said.

Kelley said he anticipated he would have to devote several employees to search through records and compile numbers for staffing and man-hours to accommodate the ICMA. Kelley said they have done informal studies internally about the costs associated with man-hours but nothing to this degree. ICMA standards call for two officers per 1,000 residents, but Kelley said this is more of a rule of thumb and not a mandate. There are 25 patrolmen currently on staff, as well as three detectives, a chief and lieutenant chief who are full-time staff. There are also five dispatch workers.

Alderman Michael Boyce said he proposed the idea of performing a study when he saw the costs associated with the police department. According to Boyce, 40 percent of the city budget is devoted to police, adding up to about $3.1 million. Boyce suggested performing this study to perhaps take some of the cost burden off of taxpayers.

"Frankly, I think there's some reluctance to stick the tires to the road," Boyce said.

Boyce said he has heard, anecdotally, that the police department is understaffed and he hopes this study would clear things up for the city. The ICMA is made up of former police, city managers and scientists who perform the studies. Boyce said it is necessary for an outside organization to perform the study because, "in any organization, you're going to reflexively protect what you have, be it good or bad."

The ICMA would look at data collected by police for response time on calls, hours and amount of time spent working on reports. Kelley said they will then put this information into a mathematical formula and weigh this against costs and expected time spent on these duties.

Rath said there has been no money set aside for this kind of study, but there is contingency monies available. He said these studies often don't reduce staffing at all. But he said he is curious how citizens' tax dollars are being spent.

"From my standpoint, we are not spending too much money," he said.