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Performance-Based Approach to Police Staffing and Allocation

NCJ Number
Jeremy M. Wilson; Alexander Weiss
Date Published
August 2012
84 pages
Based on research conducted by the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, this guidebook highlights the current staffing allocation procedures used by law enforcement agencies and presents a practical step-by-step approach for any agency to follow in assessing its own patrol staffing needs based on its workload and performance objectives.
A review of current staffing issues include an analysis of the effects of the recent recession on staffing needs and agencies' abilities to meet them, along with issues that agencies currently consider in determining staffing levels. This is followed by a review of some approaches to staffing and a discussion of how agencies may apply the guidebook's specific approach, which is called the "workload-based patrol staffing model." The distinctiveness of this approach is the systematic analysis and determination of staffing needs based upon actual workload demand, while accounting for service-style preferences and other agency characteristics. The agency allocates personnel to and distributes them within all organizational components in accordance with documented workload assessments conducted at least once every 3 years. This guidebook presents a step-by step approach for conducting a workload-based assessment of personnel needs and allocation, with a focus on staffing estimates for the patrol division. There are six steps in this process. First, examine the distribution of calls for service by hour of day, day of week, and month. Second, determine the nature of calls for service. Third, estimate the time spent on calls for service. Fourth, calculate agency shift-relief factors. Fifth, develop performance objectives. Sixth, provide staff estimates. Each of these steps is described in detail, and the limitations of the workload-based model are noted. Staffing for community policing is also discussed. Extensive tables and figures and 90 references