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Interpreting the Value of Activity

Sheryl Stering

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January 14, 2020

The roles and responsibilities of public safety departments are constantly expanding. Unfortunately, budgets remain tight and resources rarely keep pace with such expansion. Officers and staff are tasked with a growing subset of activities that do not generate revenue. Meanwhile, managers are asked to do more with less. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. Whether you need to justify the allocation of new resources or account for the strain on existing ones, one of the most powerful tools a manager can use in this efficiency-driven environment is metrics.

A single graph provides immediate insight into when and where resources are being used. With enough time and data, trends can be identified. Identifying trends can help an organization’s leadership become more proactive, predictive and prescriptive, and help inform more efficient and effective management of department resources.

While public safety departments respond to and document incidents, a significant amount of officer activity is dedicated to service-related events that don’t generate incident reports. Such non-incident activities include door unlocks, escorts, securing areas left unlocked or open, and vehicle assistance calls, just to name a few. Tracking these activities in your reporting system through a daily activity log or shift log gives a department the ability to show administration how many actual services are being provided, how much time is spent providing these services and how these services impact resources over periods of time.

  • Viewing activity by day of week and time of day provides visibility into peak days and times and allows managers to pre-plan proper resources to monitor activity efficiently.
  • Identifying high activity counts can pinpoint issues that need addressing. For example, seeing a high number of alarm responses in a specific location could indicate a technical issue with the alarm. Once the issue is investigated and addressed, this could decrease the number of alarm response calls.
  • Man-hour reporting can show how much time is spent dedicated to various activities and what types of activities consume the most resources.
  • Response time reporting can provide insight into how long it takes to respond to various types of calls and help determine if resource limitations have led to delayed responses.

The ability to show routine activity by your department is not only critical to prove value but can also provide you with the data necessary to justify existing personnel, validate requests for added manpower and make the case for additional budgetary resources.

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