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Ottawa Strategic Staffing Initiative

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 76 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2009 Pages: 52,54,58
Debra Frazer; Knowlton Roberts
Date Published
January 2009
5 pages
This article describes the Ottawa Police Service’s (Canada) Strategic Staffing Initiative (SSI), whose goal was to enable the agency to have the right number and highest quality personnel, in order to be cost-effective in meeting community needs and demands for service.
The SSI successfully enabled the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) to achieve its goals. The OPS now has the processes, policies, resources, and tools in place in order to deal with temporary vacancies, attrition, existing gaps in police services, and new and emerging community need and pressures resulting from community growth. The SSI increased OPS productivity while saving the department $13.4 million. The success of the SSI is repeatable in other organizations. The SSI was developed after it became clear to management personnel that staffing was a significant problem. The shortage of active patrol officers, staffed at an average of about 84 percent at the time, was exhausting both officers and the overtime budget. After identifying its staffing problems and examining alternative approaches, the OPS developed a new staffing plan that consisted of an active staffing plan, a complement review, and a “just-in-time” replacement plan. The active staffing plan ensured there was a pool of 60 staff members to replace colleagues absent from duty on approved leaves. The complement review component reflected the 2001 organization review that identified 91 positions, 44 sworn and 47 civilian, needed to meet new and emerging community needs. The “just-in-time” replacement plan ensured that there was no time lag between recruit hiring/training and the replacement of retiring officers. Overall, the need for 129 addition positions was determined, an 8.7-percent increase in staffing. This article explains in detail how this was done at a significant cost savings. 1 note