Saint Paul Police Department releases staff study

The Saint Paul Police Department today (Monday, Jan. 13) released the results of a study examining the organization’s staffing levels.

The study was requested by Police Chief Todd Axtell in January 2019 and conducted by Cmdr. Jack Serier, who has been a law enforcement officer for 29 years, served as the Sheriff of Ramsey County and holds a doctoral degree in Leadership, Policy & Administration from the University of St. Thomas.

It focused on identifying major themes and phenomena affecting the department’s workloads and service levels, including:

  • processes used by units throughout the department,
  • the department’s business practices,
  • work culture,
  • employee wellness,
  • staffing levels,
  • policy development, and
  • procedural outcomes.

According to Serier, the goal of the study was to determine how to best staff the organization to meet the current needs of the City of Saint Paul. It identified several challenges the department is currently facing, including:

  • investigations that are becoming increasingly complex due to the proliferation of and advancements in technology, specifically the availability of video related to crimes,
  • an organizational structure that has not evolved fast enough to meet rapidly increasing caseloads, specifically in the Homicide, Sex Crimes and Family Violence Units, and
  • call loads that have steadily increased as the city has grown in population, stressing patrol officers and limiting their ability to consistently respond in a timely manner.

In response to these and other challenges, Serier makes several recommendations, including:

  • increasing the number of investigative sergeants throughout the department,
  • reorganizing and refocusing units to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigators,
  • hire civilian employees to fill administrative positions currently held by sworn personnel,
  • adding 103.5 full-time equivalent positions (approximately 80 percent of which are sworn) to the department to achieve proper staffing for current needs.

According to Axtell, the department will use the staff study a guide as it works to ensure that it can continue to meet the growing community needs and expectations.

“I want to thank Cmdr. Serier for his comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful study,” he said. “I look forward to further analyzing the findings and working with Mayor Carter, the City Council and our community to make an already great police department even better, and this study is a great tool.”

Below is a pdf version of the study and its findings. 

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