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Recap: Human Services Committee

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Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council Human Services Committee meeting.

The committee is scheduled to receive a consultant’s report on Police Department staffing.

A packet with information on the committee’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 6:12 p.m.

HH2 – Rodent control report.

Public Health Manager Ike Ogbo says things are headed in the right direction and the pest control contractor is doing “really, really well.”

HH 1 – Hillard Heintze review of Evanston Police Department

Related story.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says Council approved $25K last year to conduct a focused report on police command staffing.

Says some of the recommendations are incorporated in this year’s budget proposal. Others may be used for future planning by new police chief.

Deborah Kirby, of Hillard Heintze, summarizes report. Says she and other consultant both had prior careers with Chicago Police Department.

Says this was a “high level” analysis (less detailed than their usual study).

Says benchmarked EPD performance against national standards.

Says didn’t find any “low-hanging fruit.” (No obvious problems.)

Trying to maximize return on investment, from law enforcement perspective.

Says EPD is highly professional … is in transition period from a long-serving chief (Eddington’s 11 years here is unusual in law enforcement these days.)

Says technology is increasingly important.

Key finding

  1. Variation in supervisory level — range from one unit with no sergeant to one unit with a sergeant for four officers.
  2. Variation in duties for command staff
  3. Possible combination of juvenile and detective bureaus.
  4. Possible combination of Office of Professional Standards and Executive Officer position.
  5. Recommends more automation of records and technology.
  6. Community outreach — making more strategic.
  7. Recommends staffing study — possibly change beat structure.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, praises clarity of the report. Very glad the report was done.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says would to have the report reviewed again when the new chief is on board.

Asks about executive officer role.

Kirby says it’s a critical role and most law enforcement agencies have it now — as a 2nd in command to the chief.

Says Office of Professional Standards might be combined with the Executive Officer role.

Fleming says would be in favor of possibly consolidating problem solving team role — says she doesn’t have a great need to have one assigned full time to her ward.

Fleming says police dashboard is hard to understand.

Chief Richard Eddington says they’re working on improvements to it. Agrees that it’s not “visually attractive” enough yet.

Betty Ester says the report is “being pushed on us.” Claims complaints are not being tracked.

Fleming says will be looking at the report again once the new chief is on board.

Fiske says the report “is a piece of what we need to consider.” Says not true that this is being “pushed on the community.” Says it’s just one piece of the process — and a very helpful piece of the process.

City manager says there will be interviews for a new chief next week. Expects to name new chief hopefully before Christmas.

Meeting adjourned at 6:57 p.m.

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