EPD efficiency report recommends staffing review, technology exploitation


Colin Boyle / Daily Senior Staffer

An Evanston Police Department officer. EPD received a report recommending staffing reviews and increased use of technology to increase department efficiency.

Clare Proctor, Assistant City Editor

An efficiency report recommends that the Evanston Police Department review its supervisory and command staffing.

The report — which was completed in October by Hillard Heintze, a security risk management consulting firm — made a series of recommendations to increase efficiency in the police department within the context of its organizational goals. These recommendations include examining staffing of sergeants and commanders and more fully utilizing technology, among other recommendations.

Debra Kirby, chief legal officer for Hillard Heintze, presented the report to the Human Services Committee on Nov. 5.

“We really identified a goal and a desire to make sure that the delivery of services in this community met community expectations,” Kirby said at the meeting. “The nuance of what it meant to be a law enforcement officer in Evanston really came through, and it came through consistently.”

The report produced six key findings and strategic recommendations to improve EPD, including implementing consistent supervisory staffing across the department.

Kirby said the report found variations in supervisory staffing within the department, and recommended that EPD review how to maximize the value of staffing supervisory sergeants.

“Law enforcement officers have great capacity to make significant decisions that affect lives and well beings of many people, so strong supervision generally creates a decreased risk,” Kirby said.

The report also recommended conducting an internal staffing study, noting that the department has a relatively large command staff. EPD has 11 sworn command staff members and 20 sergeants, according to the report.

EPD has already began implementing recommendations from an efficiency report, Evanston police Cmdr. Ryan Glew told The Daily.

“We’re still holding one commander spot open, in investigations,” Glew said. “The investigative commander has been working to make some adjustments similar to the ones suggested in the report, with reverence to supervision and assignment of work and case management.”

Other findings include a recommendation that EPD consider the organizational structure in light of overall goals and establish a formal strategic plan for community outreach and engagement.

The report also recommended a fuller exploitation of technology to drive “intelligence-based policing.” EPD has an automated record management system, but the report found that this system is not fully used. Doing so would generate efficiencies and create better data organization, according to the report.

“Technology is a tool, but it’s also a means of communicating,” Kirby said. “Within Evanston, where you have a very engaged community that seeks to have a better understanding and a better knowledge of policing practices, the better technology is leveraged.”

The document will serve as a guideline in the process of transitioning to a new chief of police, Glew told The Daily. Current Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington announced in July that he plans to retire at the end of December.

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz said at the Nov. 5 meeting that the report will help focus the attention of the new police chief, providing a “good framework” for future discussion of issues EPD is facing. Bobkiewicz is currently interviewing and selecting top candidates for the position, he said.

“This is not meant to be a report to be put on a shelf,” he said. “This is a report to help us as we continue to move forward with the police department.”

City Council allocated $25,000 last year to conduct this study, intended to be “as focused and targeted as possible,” Bobkiewicz said.

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st), who sits on the Human Services Committee, said at the Nov. 5 meeting that the report’s suggestions, while helpful, will be “tailored” to meet Evanston’s needs specifically.

“This report is a piece of what we need to consider,” she said. “This is a process. This is one piece in the process, and I think one important piece.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ceproctor23