The Headline Reads “Spokane police department fully staffed”. What does that mean to us?

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/oct/23/spokane-police-department-finally-fully-staffed/

After reading Rachael Alexander’s October 23, 2015 story in the Spokesman Review I thought it would be interesting to take a little deeper look especially in light of COPS/DOJ Recommendation 10.5 which reads as follows:

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Recommendation 10.5

SPD should conduct a staffing analysis to determine if the department is meeting its operational needs and has an adequate amount of staff to ensure its continued mission, objectives, and community policing principles.

SPD should conduct a staffing analysis. This analysis should follow the workload-based model. This model will allow SPD to examine the “levels of demand for police services and matches that demand with the supply for police resources.”143 In addition to examining calls for service received, this model also examines other “operational demands facing the department”144 (e.g., police activities league [PAL], community meet­ings, training) and makes staffing determinations based on these findings.

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Here is the problem as I see it, Citizens really don’t have any idea how SPD staff is being utilized whether or not it is being utilized in their best interest or in the interest of Special Interest Groups, Sound Good-Feel-Good Programs, or wasted extensively as Senior Staff pointed out in their complaint to Mayor Condon regarding Frank Straub that has recently been made public. Citizens don’t even know what the Organization Structure of the SPD is because Organization Charts can only be obtained via FOIA, and they have been so fluid for the past three years good luck finding one which is up to date.

I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the data SPD has reported to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) it is primarily the same data with respect to Part 1 Crimes reported to the FBI but also includes staffing levels from 1980 to 2014.

Data of course can be manipulated up, down, and around. Over the years I have found that to be especially true of Criminal Justice Data, so I would hope folks go to the WASPC Website and do your own analyses of the data. What I would like to do in this blog post is simply point out some interesting facts concerning SPD’s own data reported to WASPC.

Link to WASPC Data:

http://www.waspc.org/crime-statistics-reports

To make it easier I want to provide links to SPD Employee Data and Part 1 Crime Data which I converted from the Excel Format on the WASPC Website to PDF Format after pulling out just SPD data from all of the cities reporting to WASPC. I hope this makes it easier. Unfortunately Part 1 Data for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 have not yet been entered into the Excel Format so I have provided screenshots for those years in the media below.

Link to SPD Employee Data 1980 to 2014:

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/9faeedbb-3451-4ec6-b4a0-137e37ecb20c

Link to Part 1 Crime Data 1984 to 2011 (2012, 13, 14 in media below).

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/b80a4ebb-5ab3-4e5e-819d-3de551e9ec3c

There are a number of things I could point out regarding this data, but to keep it simple I just want to make note of the comparison between Staffing Levels and Part 1 Crimes for the years 2011 to 2014.

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2011

(78.5) Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Spokane Residents compared to (1.32) Cops per 1,000 Spokane Residents.

2012

(120.3) Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Spokane Residents compared to (1.31) Cops per 1,000 Spokane Residents.

2013

(124.6) Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Spokane Residents compared to (1.33) Cops per 1,000 Spokane Residents.

2014

(116.1) Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Spokane Residents compared to (1.39) Cops per 1,000 Spokane Residents.

* I’m not at all sure that the 2014 data supplied to WASPC and the FBI is accurate. Sources indicate that the data was manipulated downward in a number of ways and some of the media stories seem to support that. The only way to tell for sure is with an audit. Whether or not data-down was a portion of the “Untruthfulness” referred to in the Senior Staff complaint against Frank Straub is of course unknown at this point and no one is asking.

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There are many questions one could ask regarding the 2011-2014 data for example:

  1. Was the population growth of 1,100 Residents between 2011 and 2012 responsible for an increase of (41.8) Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Residents?
  2. Was the population growth of 1,300 Residents between 2012 and 2013 responsible for an increase of (4.3) Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Residents?
  3. Were the 1,000 additional Residents of Spokane between 2013 and 2014 just nicer folks so the Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Residents dropped by (8.5)?

Boy you got me, I’m hoping for nicer folks.

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Having pointed out all this stuff I hope people realize that not only the Citizens of Spokane have any idea of what is going on at SPD, but neither does the your Public Safety Committee simply because they don’t know what to ask, when to ask it, and when they do they don’t bother to check the validity of the answers.

2013 Data2013 Data2014 Data

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