With the economy still trying to recover and public safety organizations continuing to struggle with budgets, the implementation of “Continuity in Efforts” programs can help organizations more effectively deploy its personnel.
To understand the significance of a “CE” program, one must first examine how personnel are deployed in public safety. We will use police shifts as an example, but fire departments and private sector organizations can also benefit from the “CE” principal. In most police departments the field operations are based on the utilization of three shifts, day, evening, and night. These individual shifts should be considered individual units. They all operate with different supervision, personnel, and differencing community needs based on their shifts. Each shift / unit has their own priorities which may not overlap with the preceding shift. Therefore, at the end of the shift, a new set of priorities begin. Deployment of personnel is dictated by the shift/units work hours and not solving community problems. There are no overlapping priorities and the community suffers.
The “CE” model challenges the status quo by combining all three units into a unified team through the development of set of priorities for which all three units have a share in fixing problems. Community problems don’t end at the end of an officer’s shift. The CE program overlaps shifts priorities to fit the needs of the community. Imagine a blender. If you have only one blade going you are not very effective. When two blades are working they are extremely effective because the blades overlap. An example, drug dealers come out to a specific location early in the afternoon and stay till the early evening hours. They know that the Day shift leaves at 4 P.M. and the Evening shift doesn’t have time to concentrate on them. So, they simply wait out the Day shift. The CE program ends this by combining overlapping the priorities of the Day and Evening Shift. As the Day shift prepares to end its tour the Evening shift now takes its place working on the problem. The Evening shift arrives and will then spend two hours continuing the Day shifts efforts to apprehend the narcotics sellers, and deter buyers. After a designated period of time, the Evening shift begins to work on a new set of priorities to resolve problems occurring later in their tours of tour of duty. If the Evening shifts priority problem continues past the time their tour ends then the Midnight shift will relieve the Evening shift and they continues to resolve the issues. Later the Midnight shift will changes to another set of their priorities occurring late on the Midnight shift, such as intoxicated people attempting to drive after leaving bars at closing time.
By sharing responsibility for problems occurring on a 24 hour basis, the individual units become more focused on the larger picture instead of what only happens on their unit’s torus. They can also be held accountable for coming up with solutions. More importantly, I have seen units begin to adjust some of their own officer’s hours to come in earlier, or later, to add manpower to resolve the issues. By adding manpower, I have witnesses units use out of the box thinking to allow the officers to use alternative methods, bikes, plain clothes assignments, and sting operations to have a significant impact on crime fighting methods. When the officers are allowed to expand and do different forms of police work, besides riding in patrol cars for their shifts, their engagement goes up. When engagement goes up, their effectiveness rises in proportion. As their effectiveness goes up, then the department is able to shift valuable resources to handle other problems. The key to increasing productivity, reducing crime, and reducing strains on public safety budgets is for all organizations to analyze their organizations to and see how “Continuity of Efforts” can best be utilized to increase overall effectiveness.