Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bundle Up!

I don’t have to tell you by now—it’s cold. Dangerously cold! I worry about police officers in this weather. While most people can use these days as a good reason to stay home, police work never stops. Our men and women have streets to patrol whether it’s 2 degrees or 102 degrees, and on days like this I’m always grateful that there are good people who willingly serve our community. Our officers have been given all of the resources available to help those who may need to find someplace warm to stay over these next few days. Be safe out there and bundle up!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Core Values

It’s been exactly three months since I was named Chief of Police. I knew my life would change, but I have to admit, I could never have predicted just how much it would change. It’s a mighty responsibility to be charged with leading this Department. It weighs on you when you know that every decision you make has the potential to impact hundreds of officers and employees and hundreds of thousands of St. Louisans.

You can read a press release about many of the changes here. Tomorrow I’ll be talking to the media about policies, procedures, safeguards that have been put in place and moves that I’ve made since October 6th….but I wanted to talk to you first. There are a few things that I know you expect of this Department.

You want to see more officers on the street.
I hear you.
By January 19th, 64 officers will have been transferred from specialized units or administrative roles, back to the districts. Most of these officers have already been moved. On Thursday, we’re also graduating a class of 38 new officers from the Police Academy. The more officers we have at the district level, the higher our visibility. That not only helps to prevent crime but also allows you more of an opportunity to get to know the officers in your neighborhood.

You want the Department to be fiscally responsible.
I hear you.
I’ve changed the review process for all purchases that are more than $5000, so I can look at those purchases directly and decide if they’re necessary, and in the best interest of the Department and the community. High dollar purchases are important but I need to know that every penny of taxpayers’ money is being spent responsibly. With that in mind, I’ve ordered that once each month, each bureau of the Department will tell me everything they’re spending money on and tell me why. These are tough times for all of us economically and just as many of us have to scrutinize our purchases at home, I will scrutinize them here at the Department as well.

You want the Department that has sound management practices.
I hear you.
Many of the problems the Department’s encountered in recent months, deal directly with failure to properly manage the business of the Department. How can we know there is a problem if we’re not crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s? I’ve expanded our auditing staff from 4 to 12 and I’ve made sure that they now have a schedule of audits. They will present some of those items weekly, some monthly, and some quarterly. All bureaus of the Department will also begin to participate in a TEAM Meeting: Total Efficiency and Accountability Management. At those meetings, I will hear from supervisors about every administrative aspect of the Department. Are contracts being complied with? Are we following state statutes? Have we paid the bills we need to pay? It might sound small, but as we’ve seen from the past months, not watching the little things can give you a mountain of a problem.

You want a better Department.
I hear you and so do the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the next few months there will be more changes. Changes that will bring the Core Values that this great Department was founded upon, back to the forefront:
Service, Integrity, Leadership and Fair Treatment to All.