Midsize Police Agencies: Surviving, Thriving, and Forging a New Business Model for Law Enforcement in a Post-Recession Economy
In 2013, the then Midsize Agencies Section set out to fulfill its promise to serve as an incubator for innovative police practices. With support and input from the COPS Office, the IACP Midsize Agencies Section (MAS) convened more than 40 police leaders and city managers to discuss their successes and challenges under the theme Sustaining and Advancing Community Policing in the New Economy. The forum’s goal was to set the foundation for a transferable framework to facilitate and advance thoughtful innovation in policing. Intended outcomes for the meeting were to create a:
- meaningful, continuous dialogue;
- rally point for the MAS;
- platform for the identification of gaps and challenges;
- blueprint for our collective way forward.
Forum objectives and topics for discussion were based on a MAS member survey that solicited areas of interest in a post-recession environment. Through an interactive facilitated discussion, participants were asked three questions:
In a time of increasing demands and diminishing resources, how is your agency:
- changing its business model? Explore alternative organizational and staffing arrangements, and identify options with the greatest potential for improving productivity or service delivery.
- maximizing technology? Identify and discuss promising practices in information and data management/analysis and affordable, attainable new technologies that generate positive return on investment.
- redefining community policing? Discuss the evolving definition and application of community policing.
Participating chiefs and city managers offered successful examples and case studies, candidly discussed challenges, and offered thought-provoking considerations and solutions for the future, proving midsize agencies are leaning forward in many ways. The pages that follow highlight the key themes and leading examples that emerged, providing the promised blueprint for progressive police service delivery.