Is Review Needed For Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Management And Personnel Practices? Resident Calls For Overhaul And Use Of Metrics To Improve Efficiency - Also October Monthly Incident Report
The issue of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department management and personnel practices was a scheduled Executive Session (Closed to the Public) Agenda Item for the November 29 RIOC Operations Committee meeting. Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance shares this statement he sent to RIOC Chair Darryl Towns and Acting President Don Lewis concerning the operations of the Public Safety Department on November 29, prior to the Operations Committee meeting.From Mr. Farance:
Summary: PSD is about one third of RIOC's employees yet operates so inefficiently that approximately 43% of PSD staff are not patrolling (assumes 7/24 coverage, three shifts). In other words, for a department that has a $1.2 million deficit (approximately 41% of PSD's $2.9 million expenses), that deficit money goes towards paying non-working (non-patrolling) officers. RIOC (43% not being used) is at the same point as Camden, NJ (30% absenteeism). RIOC should consider a major overhaul of how it provides security services.More on Roosevelt Island Public Safety management and recruiting from previous posts.
1. UNDERSTANDING WHY VERTICAL PATROLS ARE NOT BEING DONE
I spoke to Director Guerra about two months ago to understand why the vertical patrols were not being done. He felt that with 4-5 officers available per shift, only 20 minutes could be allocated to one of Island House, Westview, and Rivercross and 40 minutes for Eastwood (Roosevelt Landings). Just like 20 minutes isn't enough time for Island House, Westview, and Rivercross, 40 minutes is definitely not enough time to patrol all 1,003 apartments of Eastwood. I asked: Why not get more resources? But Mr. Guerra felt there were limitations (board, State, etc.).
2. RELATIONSHIP TO RIOC BUDGET
Since my meeting, I have read more on the proposed RIOC budget, which explains this (see excerpt below). However, once you grok the numbers and look at the metrics (which I did below), a bunch of problems present themselves (see my prior comment on staffing and low utilization).
Really, something isn't right here, even if we ignore the operating deficit. It seems like PSD has the resources, but it is very poorly managed.
Here's the excerpt from PDF page 5 of proposed fiscal 2013-2014 budget:
Public Safety – management is committed to limiting the current Public Safety level to 41.50 employees (PS Director, Deputy Director, Captain, 37 Public Safety Officers, and an administrative assistant and a part-time crossing guard), the same level that has been maintained the past four years. Even though a number of recent events have placed additional demands on the public safety department: (i) The NYPD request to post a public safety officer at each Tram station during rush hours (7am-10am & 4pm-7pm). (ii) The full occupancy of Southtown Buildings 5 & 6 has increased overall population. (iii) Multiple construction projects, construction workers, traffic and dangerous work sites. (iv) Opening of Southpoint Park has increased more areas to patrol and an increase of visitors to the Island. (v.) Increase in gang activity requiring special training, overall crime has decreased on the Island. As discussed in last year’s budget, the “Island Security Camera Project” will enable the increase in demands to be met through enhancing patrols and also strategic Island surveillance. For the 5 year period below the Public Safety net loss has essentially remain constant as follows:
[all figures are net losses]
3. PSD SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH STAFF, BUT IT GOES WASTED
PSD has 37 FULL-TIME PAID officers available, I still don't see how that translates into only getting 4-5 patrol officers per shift. And even at 4-5 patrol officers per shift (32-40 staff hours), it would be possible to do a full patrol of the WIRE buildings (over half the Island's population) utilizing just 10-13% of that staffing resource (see my numbers above plus a 2 hour estimate for patrolling Eastwood). That's a small amount of effort compared to the resource available, which itself (4-5 patrol officers per shift) a small amount compared to the resources available (37 full-time paid officers).
4. PSD HAS TOO MANY LEVELS OF MANAGEMENT, POOR SPAN OF CONTROL
PSD has six levels in the hierarchy (director, deputy director, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, officer). That's way too much for a force of 40 people. A maximum of five levels is recommended for very large organizations. See International Association of Chiefs of Police, "The Police Chief", article "Span of Control for Law Enforcement Agencies" (see "http://www.policechiefmagazine...").
The ratio of supervisors to staff (also known as Span Of Control ratio) is recommended in the range of 1:15 to 1:25, which would mean we might only need to have a Director and a Deputy Director. Presently PSD's span of control ratio is approximately 1:3.36 ((1+1+2+3+3+6*(27/6))/11). NYPD-FDNY-EMS are around 1:7 for their span of control ratios. Even in smaller forces where rank (but not salary) are used to reward staff, there might be a 1:3 ratio, but **supervisors are expected to work**.
5. VERY LOW UTILIZATION OF WORK FORCE
PSD has a very low utilization. With Mr. Guerra's explanation of 4-5 officers available for patrol, during a 24-7 week, some back-of-envelope numbers are: 17-21 officers are working, yet we have to pay for 37 officers (approx. 76% EXTRA officers) to accommodate all the days off, sick time, vacation, and injuries. Or said differently, of the 37 people we pay full time, only about half (approx. 57%) are actually working ... that's a low utilization. That means 43% of the officers are not working (again, back-of-envelope numbers). I point out in Camden, their absenteeism rate was 30% (see: In Camden, Not Fighting Crime Pays; "http://nilrr.org/2012/08/31/in...") and they disbanded the Camden police force. We have a similar problem in PSD with a lack of performance, high expenses, and terrible utilization.
6. PSD UNION HAS A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON SPAN OF CONTROL
PSD's union works against PSD's efficiency. A couple years ago in prior contract negotiations, RIOC CFO Steve Chironis gave budget for salary increases, but it was up to the union to determine how these increases would be applied. Mr. Chironis and Mr. Guerra (along with others in RIRA) wanted to increase the starting salary for PS officers (to get better staff and "grow" them over time), but the union kept the starting salaries low and focused the money on more senior union staff. As pointed out in the article I cited above, having better people affords a higher Span of Control ratio, and higher efficiencies. Having less qualified people reinforces the lower ratio (less qualified people need more supervision). So, in some respects, the union's preferences make this worse in the long term.
The Public Safety Department, which is one third of the RIOC staff, operates at a $1.2 million deficit. Clearly this is being managed poorly and needs a major overhaul.
I suggest that RIOC use these kinds of metrics and analyses (which are commonplace and easy to calculate) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of PSD.
These metrics are based upon numbers supplied by Mr. Guerra. If it turns out there are more than 4-5 officers patrolling per shift, then it would take even less than the 10-13% utilization of their shift (32-40 staff-hours/shift) to do proper Vertical Patrols, i.e., PSD should do proper Vertical Patrols regardless.
Here are the Daily Public Safety Incident reports for the past weekend:
11/30/12 - 7:00 AM to 12/1/12 - 7:00 AMand the most recent Public Safety monthly report available - October 2012 including these incidents:
11/30 - 0249 - 1 Main St - Missing Patient - Returned to hospital.
11/30 - 0635 - 531 Main St - Aided -No injuries/EMS refused.
11/30 - 1235 - 580 Main St - Criminal Mischief - UA notified.
11/30 - 1640 - 425 Main St -Petit Larceny/ Trespass -PSD issued a summons.
11/30 - 1930 - 684 Main St - Found property - Returned to owner.
11/30 - 2015 - 560 Main St - Criminal Mischief - UA notified.
11/30 - 2200 - 575 Main St -Possible Attempted Burglary - PSD investigated the condition. RY Management notified.
11/30 - 2235 - 531 Main St -Aided - No Injuries/EMS refused.
11/30 - 2259 - 560 Main St - Disorderly Conduct - PSD issued Summons.
12/1 /12-7:00 AM to 12/2/12-7:00 AM
12/1 - 0130 - 680 Main St - Alarm - Area checked - Alarm reset
12/1 - 0630 - 540 Main St - Aided - Removed to hospital
12/1 - 0900 - F/O 579 Main St- Aided - EMS refused - No Injuries
12/1 - 1930 - 575 Main St - Odor of Marijuana - Search made negative results.
12/1 - 2125 - 888 Main St - Aided - Removed to hospital
12/1 - 2241 - 910 Main St - Property Damage - Referred to RIOC Engineer
12/1 - 2300 - 400 Main St - Complaint - Referred to UA
12/2 - 0659 - 300 Main St - Found Property - Secured in PSD
12/2/12-7:00 AM to 12/3/12-7:00 AM
12/2 - 2012 - 546 Main St - Suspicious Male - Search made negative results
12/2 - 2245 - 425 Main St - Illegally Parked Bike - Referred to Facilities Dept
12/3 - 0052 - 531 Main St - Aided - EMS refused - No Injuries
12/3 - 0514 - 540 Main St - Trespassing - PSD arrested the subject
12/3 - 0530 - 576 Main St - Criminal Mischief - UA Notified
12/3 - 0530 - 686 Main St - Criminal Mischief - Store Manager notified
10/7/2012 F/O 531 Main St Report of rabid squirrel at location. Upon arrival report was unfounded.as well as the Public Safety Incident statistics for 2012 thru October.
10/11/2012 556 Main St Report of barking dogs at location. Owner/tenant is hearing impaired. Tenant advised to keep the dogs inside.
10/13/2012 688 Main St Dispute between parking employee and motorist with regard to payment. Matter was resolved and both parties came to an agreement.
10/28/2012 425 Main St Dispute between restaurant owner and customer with regard to paying the bill. Bill was paid and all in order.
10/28/2012 531 Main St Dispute between two parties at an association meeting. Male was escorted from the location without incident
10/11/2012 550 Main St Found Laptop computer. Owner information obtained and owner came into PSD to retrieve property.
10/17/2012 686 Main St Con Edison on scene for live wire activity due to construction at the location. Area was cautioned off until the condition could be corrected
10/1/2012 S/O 1 Main St Report of type of shrine observed at location. Search of area yielded negative results for persons responsible. Pictures taken. Grounds personnel removed the items from the area.
10/27/2012 888 Main St Youth male reported other male youths were acting in a threatening manner. Youth was escorted to the MTA bus for safety purposes.
10/5/2012 540 Main St Report of loud hollering and music at location. Upon arrival tenant stated her daughter and friends were playing. Tenant advised to lower the
noise. Tenant complied. All in order.
10/22/2012 579 Main St ARREST Male subject acting in a disorderly and threatening manner to passersby as well as Officers. Male taken into custody and summons issued. NYPPD and EMS on scene. Male transported to hospital for evaluation
10/7/2012 580 Main St ARREST Two male subjects observed at location unlawfully taking power tools from basement area. One male subject apprehended and taken into custody. Other male subject fled the scene. Subjects parent notified and on scene. Subject was taken to 114 precinct for arrest processing.
10/18/2012 560 Main St FEDERAL ARREST US Dept of Agriculture police arrived with search warrant. Two subjects placed in custody.
10/1/2012 560 Main St Male youth victim reported male youth subject took his cell phone. Victim and subjects mothers were contacted and on scene. Victim refused to
press charges if item was returned or money was paid to reimburse. Subjects mother made restitution and charges were not pressed.
10/20/2012 30 River Rd NYPD on scene for report of $3,000 in jewelry taken from apartment. Report was taken. NYPD Officer advised this is the second incident with
regard to this matter
10/26/2012 250 Main St Report of stolen Iphone, wallet and identification from locker at location. Search of area for items and subject yielded negative results. Victim
advised he did not secure the locker. NYPD on scene for report.
10/4/2012 425 Main St Report of male subject assaulting a male victim at location. Search of area for subject yielded negative results. Subject identified and NYPD
Detectives on scene for report and investigation.
10/14/2012 686 Main St Female victim reported male subject assaulted her at location. NYPD on scene for report. EMS on scene for treatment which was refused by victim.
10/30/2012 2 River Rd ARREST Male observed assaulting female at location. Upon attempting to take male subject into custody female subject struck Officer in the face
causing injury. Both subjects resisted arrest causing further injury to Officer. Additional units on scene. Both subjects taken into custody and transported to Central Booking for arrest processing. Officer transported to hospital for treatment and evaluation.
10/28/2012 546 Main St Victim advised of an attempted robbery by male subject placing a phone call for food order and attempting to rob victim threatening him with a kitchen knife. No injuries or property taken. NYPD contacted for report. Search of area for subject yielded negative results.