Report calls for trims to police staffing

An image of police motorcycles from the cover of the consultant's report.

A report from a consulting firm hired by the city to review Evanston police staffing calls for slight reductions in the number of command officers and suggests a broader review of how the department organizes its patrol resources.

The report, from Hillard Heintze LLC, supports the proposal in the city manager's 2019 budget to eliminate the vacant position of juvenile bureau commander and combining the juvenile and detective bureaus under a single commander.

For the Investigative Services Division, the report notes that, though crime has declined, the unit's staffing hasn't been adjusted. It suggests:

  • Combining the Neighborhood Enforcement Team and Tactical Unit, eliminating the position of one sergeant.
  • Reassigning one sergeant from the detective bureau to initiate a formal case management process, and
  • Moving the four school resource officers from the juvenile bureau to the community strategies unit in the Field Operations Division.

In the chief's office, the report suggests:

  • Combining the jobs of two commanders -- the executive officer and the head of professional standards -- into one position.
  • Moving the positions of intelligence officer and crime analyst into the chief's office from Investigative Services.

For the Field Operations Division, which handles beat patrols, traffic and community strategies, the report notes that there are substantial disparities in the number of calls for service in each of the city's eight police beats.


The police beat map.

Roughly half the department's sworn officers are assigned to beat patrol, so the number of beats, the report says, creates a large fixed cost to keep them all staffed.

The report says a further study would be needed to come up with a more efficient beat structure and to also adjust staffing to varying demand across different day parts.

The report is scheduled to be presented at the City Council's Human Services Committee meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

Topic: