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How to Evaluate and Improve Your Agency in 5 Easy Steps (Part 2)

Here’s steps three through five of a five-step process that will help you identify your campus public safety department’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as actions you can take to resolve challenges.

This is the second part of a two-part story explaining a process to quantify your public safety department’s effectiveness and identify it’s strengths and weaknesses. For part one, click here.

Step 3: Identify Which of the 69 Inputs from Step 2 Affect Which of the 11 Outputs of Step 1
If we create a matrix with the 11 outputs (goals) so they are arrayed on the horizontal and the 69 inputs are arrayed on the vertical axis, we have a matrix with 759 cells. Not all inputs affect all goals. For instance, spare radios do not affect values.

The task at hand is to determine which inputs affect which outputs. If we know, for instance, that an FTO program affects 10 of the 11 priority outputs (all but reputation of police on campus), while teaching at the academy only affects two (reputation with outside agencies and improving the college brand), we have a way of knowing which activities have the most impact on our police enterprise. In the process of determining inputs’ varying impacts on outputs, we can identify which activities are most important for meeting our priority objectives. If inputs with the most impacts are deficient, we now know where we can and should institute corrective actions.

A matrix of this size is unwieldy, so a smaller version, titled “Department Assessment,” is presented on the next page before step 5. This version has seven outputs and 39 inputs, creating a smaller and more manageable 239-cell matrix that still demonstrates the methodology. In the analysis, we see that the following 12 inputs (with the number of goals affected in parentheses) have the greatest impact on a department’s ability to meet its goals (i.e., they affect at least six of the seven goals):

Personal

  • Sworn officers realistically trained (6)
  • Training for unsworn personnel (6)
  • Number of officers and supervisors on duty (6)

Procedures

  • Campus-wide training and command post/field exercises (7)
  • MOUs/Joint training with local agencies (6)
  • Threat assessment and info dissemination processes (6)

Facilities

  • Availability of training venues (6)

Equipment

  • Ability to sustain long-term deployments (7)
  • Vehicles with radios and MDTs (6)

Communications

  • Dedicated police channels and dispatchers (7)
  • Dispatch (communications interoperability with local responders(6)
  • Radio coverage (no dead spots and few outages) (6)

About the Author

Contact:

Lt. John Weinstein is the commander of Northern Virginia Community College Public Safety District 3.

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