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City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz and Police Chief Richard Eddington are scheduled to seek approval from aldermen Monday for a major review of the Evanston Police Department’s budget and staffing.

Over the past ten years, spending on the Police Department has increased 44 percent, from $26.6 million, including pension costs, in 2008-09 to $38.4 million this year.

It has 220 full-time-equivalent employees, including 166 sworn officers, now. and had 220.75 full-time-equivalent workers a decade ago.

Meanwhile overall city staffing has declined by about five percent during that period as the city has faced having to make repeated budget cuts.

In a memo to aldermen prepared for Monday’s Human Services Committee meeting, Bobkiewicz seeks approval for a planned external review by a consulting firm of a number of the department’s administrative and community service functions, highlighted in green on the organization chart below.

The memo also proposes that the department conduct an internal review of the Investigative Services Division, including the units shown in blue on the flow chart.

The memo also calls for a discussion of the department’s overtime spending and the assignments of supervisors within the patrol division.

It also proposes a potential new model of geographic organization of patrol duties that would divide the city into three sections.

Currently the city is split into eight police patrol beats with four sergeants assigned as first-level patrol supervisors across the city during each of three daily shifts.

The review is part of a larger effort to find ways to close what’s projected to be a multi-million gap in next year’s city budget.

The Human Services Committee meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday in the City Council Chambers at the Civic Center.

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to address a change in reporting pension costs between the city’s 2008-09 and 2018 budgets.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. Cost of Technology
    Could all the new technology, including body cameras and the supporting software/hardware be to blame for the higher cost of policing? I can’t figure out any other reason why it is so much more expensive to police the city now than it was 10 years ago.

  2. Police Budget – do the math
    The Evanston Police Department does an outstanding job in our community.
    They’re not perfect but given the challenges and issues they deal with daily, I fully
    appreciate their efforts. Thank you EPD.

    Pertaining to the budget discussion at hand, the figures presented show that EPD’s budget increased
    from $21mm to $38mm over a 10 year period of time with the same number of employees.
    That $17mm increase represents an almost 81% increase or over a 7.5% compound annual growth rate per year.

    For comparison sake, real median household income in Evanston grew at a 1% compound annual rate during the same time period.

    However, to get a real apples to apples comparison, we should disaggregate the $38mm budget and understand its composition
    into personnel and non personnel related expenses, and furthermore disaggregate the personnel expenses into Salary, Benefits, and Pension
    related expenses. What are the annualized growth rates for salaries (including overtime), benefits, and pensions over the last 10 years?

    Before jumping to conclusions and passing judgements, we need more facts and analysis.
    I’m not convinced that hiring an outside consultant is necessary at this time.

    1. Not even close
      Not even close to the increased spending per student in Evanston’s 2 school districts in the same period of time, with the educational results getting worse over time.

      1. Tea, anyone?
        Well, let’s not forget about the rising costs of tea in China. It’s all directly related.

    2. As with many Evanston
      As with many Evanston departments, the escalation in cost is not commensurate with with results. Much has been made of the department’s luxury fleet of vehicles for example. Unfortunately that doesn’t equate to vastly increased public safety. And it is highly unlikely that the Evanston police department will, without pressure, seek to reduce spending. Certainly that reduction will not come from the chief of police. It is incumbent upon the city council to mandate reductions.

      1. Luxury fleet? These are
        Luxury fleet? These are standard police vehicles that were needed to upgrade aging cars that most likely were becoming too expensive to fix. These are the same vehicles being used across United States for police vehicles. Nothing luxury about them.
        Was the body camera program partially to blame for increased budget? I would assume that equipment and costs of recording videos and storage of it must be high.

  3. Do you have the right numbers?
    Bill,
    There are numerous problems with comparing 2018 numbers to 2008 The police pension numbers were not included in the 2008 numbers, but they are included in 2018 numbers. The 311 center was added to the police budget after 2008. Fiscal budget years were determined differently in 2008 vs. 2018 year to year. FOIA requirements were less stringent prior to Lisa Madigan’s regulations. Due to all of these indicators, the budget naturally would show a jump from what was shown in 2008. In fact, if you compare most all of the city’s operations from 2008 to 2018, they would show discrepancies similar to the police department numbers. Too many functions have been created, discontinued, and shuffled. The comparison is apples to grapefruits.

    1. Yes we do

      Hi Former,

      No comparison is perfect. But …

      1. The story has been updated to include pension costs for both years — which were handled differently in the city budget documents for each year.
      2. While the 311 center has been added to the Police Deparment, the victim’s services unit has been removed (shifted to the Health and Human Services Department) and a few other positions have been cut, so the total employee count in the Police Department — as noted in the story — remained roughly the same.
      3. In 2008-09 the city’s total employee headcount was 853.63 full-time-equivalent positions. This year it’s 807.38. That’s a decline of more than five percent. The Police Department headcount was 220.75 in 2008-09, it’s now 220.0. That’s a decline of 0.3 percent.
      4. The budget year was 12 months long in 2008-09, as it is this year.

      So I think the comparison to a decade ago is a valid one to make.

      How much to spend on policing versus other governmental activities is a political decision, as is the decision about how much to spend in total on local government activities.

      But if you’re not willing to look at changes in the cost of providing services over time, you’re flying blind in making those decisions.

      — Bill

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