Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dunwoody Police Chief requests three police officers and one additional detective in 2016


To: City Council Budget Committee
From: Billy Grogan, Chief of Police
Date: August 3, 2015

Subject: Personnel Requests for 2016 Budget

I have discussed the need for additional staff positions for the department on a number of occasions over the past several years. I am very cognizant of the City of Dunwoody’s limited financial resources and the competing needs of all of the departments. However, I believe public safety should be the number one priority of any government.

Although Dunwoody is a safe community, we have our share of crime. In 2014, we experienced an increase in our Part 1 Crime of 18.9 % for a total of 2,257 part 1 crimes, which was our highest total since becoming a city. As you know, Part 1 Crime is defined as murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft. So far in 2015, our Part 1 Crime is down -5.2 % through June, although our Crimes Against Persons are up 85.2 % for the year.

Compared to some of our neighboring cities, our Part 1 Crime rate is unacceptably high. The City of Alpharetta has an approximate population of 63,442, which is 33.5 % larger than Dunwoody, yet they have -43.5 % less Part 1 Crime and a -57.7 % less crime rate. They also have 103.9 % more officers with a 52.8 % increase in the ratio of police officers to citizens.

Similarly, the City of Roswell has a population of more than 100 % the size of Dunwoody at 95,373 yet we had 15.9 % more Part 1 Crime than Roswell in 2014. Similar statistics are available for many of our surrounding cities. Please see a chart below.

Although the department has done an outstanding job addressing our crime issues, demonstrating transparency and building and maintaining a positive relationship with our community, we are still challenged with our staffing and police visibility.

In fact, the workload of our patrol officers continues to rise as new businesses and residents move to Dunwoody. The addition of State Farm and several new hotels will only contribute to our challenges. Through June of 2015, our calls for service are up 11.6 %. The department has 41.8 crimes per officer, which greatly exceeds all other agencies in our area. The Brookhaven Police Department already has 69 sworn officers which is 27.7 % higher than the Dunwoody Police Department.

3 – Patrol Officers for Uniform Patrol

I have reviewed our staffing level based on a number of factors including workload measurements for uniform patrol, crime comparisons and ratio of police officers to residents. All such reviews have indicated that our department is woefully understaffed. In order to bridge this gap, I am requesting three additional patrol officer positions be funded for the department. These additional positions would be assigned to patrol the streets of Dunwoody, answering calls for service and helping us increase our visibility in the community. Unfortunately, the heavy workload of our officers leaves little time for proactive policing and greatly diminishes our visibility in the community. The addition of these three positions will also provide some incremental relief to the workload of our officers.

1 – Detective

The Dunwoody Police Department has six detectives and one sergeant supervisor. Our Detectives are tasked with investigating all of the crime reported in the City of Dunwoody. This includes our major Part 1 Crime as well as many other crimes not counted as a Part 1 Crime. Many of the cases they investigate are extremely complicated involving multiple suspects and multiple departments. Some of our credit card fraud, forgery and other fraud cases seem to be the most complicated and time consuming. On almost a weekly basis, our Detectives are coordinating a number of investigations with our federal partners.

Over the past couple of years, we have seen an increase in the number of vice-type complaints. In fact, our detectives investigated four sex trafficking organizations last year and recently conducted a sex trafficking investigation where a number of subjects were arrested for Prostitution and Pimping. We also rescued a female juvenile victim of sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the numbers of these types of complaints have exceeded our capacity to investigate and only continue to grow.

As a result of the heavy workload of our detectives and the increased investigative demand, I respectfully request funding for an additional detective. This additional position will coordinate our investigative response to sex trafficking as well as work general investigations.

I realize there is a significant cost for these requests. However, I can assure you that I would not make them if I did not believe they were necessary for the continued operational success of our department and beneficial to the citizens of Dunwoody and their safety. These requested positions are critical components of a well thought out plan to improve the safety of our community; provide additional programs of interest to citizens; provide the much needed workload relief for our staff; and add functions that are simply not being performed at this time. Your consideration of these requests is most appreciated.

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