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Oversight Hearing on FY2003 Proposed Budget for the Metropolitan Police Department

Monday, April 8, 2002

Oversight Hearing on FY2003 Proposed Budget for the Metropolitan Police Department

Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Department

Chief Charles H. Ramsey delivered the following statement to the Committee on the Judiciary, the Honorable Kathy Patterson, Chair, Council of the District of Columbia. The hearing was held April 8, 2002.

Madame Chair, members of the Committee, other Councilmembers and distinguished guests - I am pleased to present to the Committee today the Metropolitan Police Department's proposed budget for fiscal year 2003-the first budget developed under the new performance-based budgeting guidelines. I am also here to answer any questions you may have about this budget. As a reminder to you and to our viewing audience on DC Cable 13, the text of my prepared remarks is available on the Police Department's website - http://mpdc.dc.gov/.

The Metropolitan Police Department is proud to be one of first agencies selected by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to transition to a performance-based budget-or "PBB" budget, for short. We began putting the PBB budget together last July, and involved all the top managers and nearly a hundred other Department members in the process of developing the PBB structure and performance measures. While I consider the PBB performance measures a work in progress, I am looking forward to exploring how this PBB budget can be used as a management tool to track and monitor whether MPD programs are meeting their goals from a performance and a fiscal perspective.

The six "strategic result goals" of the Metropolitan Police Department have not changed, nor have many of the performance measures associated with those goals. These still represent the key priorities for improvement in the police department:

  • Reducing crime through our Policing for Prevention strategy;
  • Improving homicide clearance rates;
  • Enhancing a sense of safety and security in public spaces by increasing police presence and reducing drug and disorder problems;
  • Reducing sustained complaints of misconduct against officers and ensuring that officers, when they use force, do so within the Department's use of force policy guidelines that we have worked so hard to develop and institutionalize during my tenure as Chief; and
  • Assuring customer satisfaction by swiftly responding to the scene of priority calls for service and by ensuring that victims of crime receive the quality of response and services that they deserve.
  • Finally, while we have made great strides in this area, I continue to place as a priority the development of the MPD as a competitive, professional equitable police organization that is equipped with state-of-the-art tools and system.

The proposed 3 percent increase in local funding for the Metropolitan Police Department reflects the realization by Mayor Williams and his administration that more than ever the citizens of the District of Columbia need to feel safe. This has taken on added priority as our Department and our city deal with the recent and disturbing spate of violence in several neighborhoods, including drive-by shootings involving automatic weapons. The proposed budget will allow us to meet all of our strategic goals-in particular our goals around reducing crime and enhancing safety in public spaces-but not because of any new bells and whistles. We will achieve our goals primarily because we will continue to improve our policing tactics and apply strong management accountability.

The proposed FY 2003 budget will allow the MPD to put more officers on the street and equip them with the basic tools, while placing civilian crime analysis in the districts to support the field units. It will provide greater security for our Public Safety Communications Center in these critical times. Primarily, the proposed budget increase will cover larger expenses for fuel and phone; facilities, vehicle, and equipment maintenance. There is no "fat" in this budget. This budget will allow the MPD to continue providing the quality of service it has achieved during the past several years--a level of service that has contributed to cutting the homicide rate in half over a decade and reducing shootings, stabbings, and other serious assaults nearly 20 percent since 1998.

The Performance Based Budget Structure
The PBB budget is a new tool that we can use to guide us toward achieving our goals. The PBB budget consists of six programs, each with its own set of performance measures:

  • The Regional Field Operations program, which consists of the three ROCs and the centralized Operational Services activity. This program is the primary vehicle for the implementation of our Police for Prevention strategy;
  • Investigative Field Operations, which provides follow-up investigative services to the community for all types of crime;
  • Special Field Operations, a program that provides specialized patrol, tactical, rescue, and security services to protect the public, businesses, and the government from personal injury and property damage in special circumstances;
  • The Public Safety Communications Center--our 911/311 call-taking and dispatching center;
  • Corporate Operations, which covers the Department's critical information technology, facilities management, human services, business services and financial management services; and
  • The Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, and Crime Prevention program-a program that includes my office, the Office of Organizational Development, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and other offices that provide strategic support so the Department can achieve its performance benchmarks.

The new performance-based budget structure provides a more detailed and more accurate breakdown of budget allocations. The most important change is the breakout of investigative units and special patrols from the ROC and Special Services responsibility centers. In place of one Regional Operations control center (accounting for about 65 percent of the entire MPD budget), the PBB budget shows the proposed funding allocation for three separate programs--Regional Field Operations, Investigative Field Operations, and Special Field Operations.

The Regional Field Operations program continues to show the breakdown of funding between the three ROCs, and more detail is provided under the other two programs. The Investigative Field Operations Program is broken down into the district detectives, special investigations, child investigations, narcotics investigations, and investigative support units (that is, crime scene search). The Special Field Operations program is broken out into special events, emergency services, and special patrols. In future years, however, the Council will be able to consider and compare the allocation of funding among many more important police department functions.

Operating Budget Overview
The Department's proposed operating budget for FY 2003 from all funding sources is $326.9 million dollars. This includes $3 million for the photo radar/red light contract and $786,000 for fuel-two items that were inadvertently omitted from the budget book. The FY 2003 proposed budget represents an increase over the FY 2002 budget of approximately $8.9 million-only 3 percent-in local funding, and $10.8 million dollars, or 3.4 percent, for all funding sources. The proposed capital budget for the Department, which I will discuss a little later, contains another $28.3 million to support our ongoing infrastructure projects.

Sworn officer strength. The proposed budget supports 4,621 full-time equivalents (FTEs): 3,800 sworn members and 821 civilian FTEs. As a budget-cutting measure, we were forced to eliminate six civilian FTEs in non-critical clerical areas. As I have reported to the Committee on several occasions in the past, my goal-and the Mayor's goal-is to bring the MPD up to our fully authorized level. Today we stand at sworn strength of 3,609.

The FY 2003 budget, as proposed, provides the funding needed to make progress toward increasing the number of sworn members in the PSAs. Significantly, the budget includes the local fund match required for the $15 million, three-year federal COPS grant. This grant and the matching funds will support 200 additional officers in FY 2003.

The FY 2003 budget will allow us to continue hiring at a steady pace and to continue building our sworn strength to the authorized level. There are other obstacles to reaching our hiring goal, however. Even as we aggressively recruit, screen, hire, and train the additional officers needed to bring us to our authorized level, we struggle to keep pace with attrition rates that will likely rise. As of March 31, 2002, a total of 94 sworn members have left the department in FY 2002-continuing the attrition rate of previous years. In addition, as of this week, 257 officers, or about 7 percent of the total force, are retirement-eligible. The magnitude of the recruiting and hiring task before us over the next 18 to 24 months depends largely on how many of these members actually choose to retire.

In the MPD, we are never short of new ideas to meet our recruiting challenge. After learning that more than half of our new hires in recent years were recruited by current Department employees, the recruiting branch started a new campaign to capitalize on this fact. Every member of the Department is being provided with a Recruiting Kit containing a supply of high-quality recruiting materials. In addition, I recently approved the Recruiting Referral Bonus Program, which establishes a $250 reward for civilian and sworn members who refer candidates that get hired and graduate from the police academy.

Even though we are seeing a drop-off in lateral applications, our recruiters continue to work aggressively to bring in qualified lateral candidates. On March 1, we launched a 60-day intensive recruitment campaign leading up to the Career Expo on April 27. Just last month members of the Recruiting Branch went to Puerto Rico and brought back more than 200 applications. Many of these applicants have a college degree and are multilingual. One thing I can assure you: we will not cut corners when it comes to screening candidates, conducting background investigations, and providing training. Even if it takes a little longer, we will build up to our authorized strength the right way-with candidates who are carefully screened and highly qualified, motivated, and trained.

The support for new officers in this budget will bolster our Policing for Prevention strategy. For example, as active partners in the Mayor's Neighborhood Services Initiative, the MPD assigns at least one representative from the police districts to every Ward Core Team. When the Core Team identifies a Persistent Problem Area in one of the PSAs, the PSA lieutenant automatically becomes involved with the coordinated efforts of the team to make the area "clean and safe." In addition, the District Commanders meet regularly with the Neighborhood Service Coordinators to share information and set priorities. As part of the development of the Neighborhood Cluster or SNAP Plans, MPD police district personnel worked with Neighborhood Planners, Neighborhood Service Coordinators, and community members to set priorities and make commitments for FY 2002 and FY 2003. In these and other efforts, MPD personnel continue to work closely with representatives from other criminal justice agencies, other city agencies, and community-based organizations to address crime and disorder problems in the PSAs.

"More officers on the PSAs" is the constant request from the community, the Council, and the Mayor. With the completion of the PSA Staffing Report, which contains the results of a comprehensive workload analysis, I have committed to placing 1,769 officers on the PSAs. On April 3, there were a total of 1,555 officers assigned to the 83 PSAs. With the graduation of 32 recruits this Friday-all of whom will be going out the PSAs-we will be within 4 percent of our 2nd quarter goal.

Not only must we make sure there are a sufficient number of members assigned to the PSAs, we must also do what we can to ensure their time is being used effectively. Dispatches to commercial and residential burglar alarm calls account for approximately 14 percent of all dispatched calls for service-approximately 20,000 dispatches in the first three months of FY 2002. Only about 1 percent of these dispatches resulted in a report being taken, suggesting that officers are responding to a large number of false alarms. Keep in mind, too, that for safety reasons MPD policy requires that a back-up unit be dispatched when the initial responding unit is a one-person car, further exacerbating the waste of officers' time caused by false burglar alarms. On November 6, 2001, legislation drafted by the MPD that would reduce the number of false burglar alarms was introduced to Council and referred to the Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs with comments from the Committee on the Judiciary. The "Security and Fire Alarm Systems Regulation Act of 2001" is still pending in Committee and no public hearing has been set. I ask that the Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs move forward with this legislation.

Reserve Program. As you know, I recently announced the redesign and expansion of our Reserve Program. We have created five classes of reserves, with Class 5 as the lowest level. A different set of training requirements and specified duties applies for each Class. To become a Class 5 Reserve, a volunteer must successfully pass twenty hours of training. After providing 80 hours of volunteer work and passing another forty hours of training, a Class 5 Reservist is moved up to Class 4. With added volunteer hours, background clearance, and training, a reservist may move all the way up to a Class 1 Reserve. We expect this phased approach to attract more volunteers because it accommodates the busy schedules of our active D.C. residents.

There are currently 139 reservists. We graduated a class of 17 reserves on March 16 and all of them have been assigned to assist the PSA teams. Another class of 20 starts tonight. We will continue aggressively recruiting reserve volunteers to reach a force of 600.

Civilian FTEs. Though many of our civilian personnel do not wear a uniform, their contributions to public safety should not be underestimated. A key example are the civilian crime analysts that the proposed FY 2003 budget will allow us to hire as part of our ongoing civilianization plan. As our technology improves, more data will become available, and it will become even more important to have on staff crime analysts who are skilled in using statistical and mapping software and who can turn this data into useful strategic and tactical information.

The proposed FY 2003 budget will allow for the civilianization of 47 positions currently being filled by sworn members. With the hiring and training of the civilian personnel for these positions, at least an equal number of sworn personnel will be reassigned to the field. In addition to the 11 crime analysts, these positions include 14 time and attendance clerks, 6 Communications workers, and 16 crossing guard FTEs (which equates to 40 actual crossing guards). In total, the FY 2003 budget authorizes 821 Civilian FTEs funded from all sources.

Overtime spending. The proposed FY 2003 budget contains no changes to the overtime budget-it remains at $12.8 million.

We have made progress over the past year working with the D.C. Superior Court, the Office of Corporation Counsel, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Pretrial Services, to implement reforms that many have said could never be made, with the aim of reducing the prosecutorial and court-related overtime portion of the budget. Last year the MPD rolled out the papering reform pilot in ROC-Central, which included 17 quality of life and traffic offenses. Today, working with the U.S. Attorney's Office, we have integrated three U.S. charges and are beginning to expand the entire reform initiative into ROC-North. This new procedure completely eliminates the appearance of the arresting officer during the papering process. The prosecutor makes a "papering" decision based on the information provided in the officer's arrest paperwork.

Night papering-a program that eliminates the need for evening and midnight shift officers to appear at the U.S. Attorney's office during the day to be interviewed by prosecutors about the case-was piloted in the Third district. If night papering is implemented citywide, the potential savings to MPD is estimated to be approximately $1.4 million and 31,000 personnel hours. We are currently working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to finalize an evaluation of the pilot and to adjust the approach for a second pilot.

During the past year, the MPD has also worked with D.C. Superior Court to improve the efficiency of court scheduling, which will help reduce the overtime officers spend in court. For example, officers now check in for preliminary hearings on a staggered schedule, only one-hour in advance instead of two. In a separate initiative with the Bureau of Traffic Adjudication, through the establishment of a BTA Calendar, officers now appear on one specific date each month for all of their BTA cases. This is a significant improvement from the previous practice in which officers reported to the BTA several different days a month to testify. Soon, officers will appear in D.C. Superior Court for D.C. and traffic cases using a similar court scheduling system that requires them to report on specific days, rather than make frequent appearances throughout the month. To further enhance the efficiency of court scheduling, the MPD will be installing the same Interactive Voice Response system used at BTA that allows officers to call in advance to find out if they have been scheduled to meet with attorneys or appear in court. This system should cut down the overtime accrued by officers who check into the Court Liaison Division only to discover that their notice to appear in court was cancelled at the last minute.

Finally, I am proud to report that the Citation Release reform initiative has been implemented citywide. This initiative is intended primarily to expand the Citation Release option to include all misdemeanor charges (with the exception of intra-family offenses), standardize criteria and procedures for determining eligibility for Citation Release across all districts, and return the scheduling of arraignment hearing dates to Pretrial Services Agency. An added benefit of Citation Release is greater flexibility for officers to plan their papering activities during on-duty hours. Finally, the new protocol tasks the station clerk with completing the final steps of the process and gives the supervisor the authority to release the arresting officer from the station so he can get back on the street where he is most needed.

What is the result of all this effort in terms of overtime savings? I am pleased to report that for the first quarter of FY 2002, Court overtime hours dropped 5 percent, as compared to the same time period last year. And for the second quarter of FY 2002, the MPD saw a 30 percent reduction in Court overtime hours, even as arrests went up 10 percent during January and February as compared to the same time period last year. We are developing more detailed reports that will help us pinpoint which of our strategies has had the most significant impact on Court overtime expenditures and also help us to identify areas for additional process improvements.

While we have made progress in addressing Court overtime, it must be noted that non-Court overtime continues to be a problem for the MPD. While we are working with the federal government to obtain funds to cover overtime expenses associated with domestic preparedness in FY 2002, we had been absorbing the cost of special details to protect critical facilities in the District following the events of September 11. In addition, the department also has been encumbered with other domestic preparedness costs such as training, technology and increased visibility patrols - approximately 10 eight-hour shifts per District. For FY 2003, we are looking forward to Congress passing the item in the President's Budget that sets aside $15 million for public safety expenses related to national security events and terrorist threats in the District of Columbia.

Non-personal services. In the area of non-personal services, overall funding in the proposed FY 2002 budget increased by $9 million. This covers increases in fixed costs for energy utilities, fuel for the fleet, telecommunications, janitorial services, rent, and security. In addition, it covers several of our requested technical adjustments.

The proposed budget provides $1.9 million additional funds for maintenance of the new Public Safety Communication Center (PSCC). Last July, MPD's 911/311 Communications Center was moved from the 6th floor of MPD headquarters to 310 McMillan Drive, a D.C.-owned facility. The new PSCC facility has over 35,000 square feet of space, houses over 250 employees working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and contains sensitive telephone and computer equipment. This budget covers critical services including annual maintenance for the Computer-Aided Dispatch system, switching equipment, and other technical equipment; maintenance, repair, and engineering services for air conditioning, elevators, emergency generators, boilers, and the fire alarm system; 24 hour a day, 7 day a week on-call, rapid-response facility management; and 24-hour building security.

The FY 2003 budget will allow us to continue our successful automated traffic enforcement program. To address the public perception that the fee-per-ticket contract arrangement created an incentive for the vendor to issue erroneous tickets, we have modified our five-year contract with ACS State and Local Solutions. The current proposal that has been submitted for Council approval contains a new monthly fixed fee structure for both the photo radar and red light programs. In the proposed budget, $9.1 million has been set aside to cover the vendor fixed cost fees. We look forward to continuing reductions in red-light running and speeding in our city.

Finally, the FY 2003 budget provides $500,000 for the Independent Monitor mandated by the Memorandum of Agreement between the Department and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding use of force. The Independent Monitor will review and report on MPD's implementation of the MOA and assist us with any compliance issues that arise.

Capital Budget Overview
In terms of the capital budget, the FY 2003 proposal of $28.3 million dollars represents continued funding for our base building renovation projects as well as $5.4 million to restore our vehicle replacement plan within the Master Lease Program. No new capital projects are funded for FY 2003.

In the base building renovation plan, the FY 2003 budget includes the following Phase 5 projects: the completion of a new evidentiary property warehouse; a new radio shop; a new parking garage at the fleet maintenance facility; the beginning stages of a new SOD consolidation site; and completion of all remaining work at the districts stations. In FY 2002 we continue to make progress on the construction of the Petworth School ROC-North facility, the Fourth District substation on Park Road, the Mobile Crime/Crime Scene Search consolidation, and the expansion and improvement of the Institute of Police Science, to name a few of our facilities upgrade projects..

Building a Safer City By Spending Wisely
I believe I have made the point clearly-this is not a Cadillac year for the Metropolitan Police Department. Additional cuts will have a negative impact on the delivery of police services in the District. But as we adopt the new performance-based budgeting model, I am optimistic about our ability to make the most effective use of the resources that will be budgeted for the MPD in FY 2003. The new program structure, with assigned accountable managers and performance measures, takes us a step further in our effort to build a more transparent and accountable agency.

I remain committed to making the District of Columbia a safer and more livable city, even in the face of new threats to our public safety and security. I have been impressed with the level of coordination among government bodies-at the city, state, and federal level-that has been demonstrated over the past several months. I have confidence in our government to continue to the serve and protect the public. We in the Metropolitan Police Department are prepared to do our part.