Maybe we are stating the obvious but what is the root of this problem? We can point at manpower as one of the principle culprits. Just under 10 years ago when I got on this job I worked in a fast south side district. Every beat and rapid was up along with a traffic car, incident car and a wagon. Plenty of bodies in the roll call room.
Today in that same south side district the picture is completely different. The calls for service are just as frequent but the bodies to answer those calls are fewer. Obviously the beat cars are all manned and yes there is a wagon but on any given evening you would be lucky to find three or four rapids and not all are 10-4.
What happened to the manpower? Attrition? About two years ago a story was going around and it went like this....I know this Lt at personnel and he said that only 10,000 duty availability checks went out this quarter. I don’t know if that story was true or not but every time it was repeated to me the storyteller would know the source personally. We were convinced that attrition was far out pacing new hires. However, when I would attended FOP monthly meetings the announced number of current members didn’t seem to support this great dip in manpower.
The attrition rate probably was out pacing new hires but not at the clip the “duty availability” story led us to believe.
So what happened to the manpower? Take a look at any district’s A&A sheets and see how many people are detailed out. Not only are they detailed to various units at 35th St but the Area’s are draining people with saturation teams, midnight gang teams and gun teams. One of the biggest drains is TRU and the newest target team is the Targeted Traffic Unit. Jobs that were done at the district level are now being done by deployed units. That leaves district copper with only one job and that is to answer calls. Jobs are stacked two and three deep and lunches get denied on a regular basis. However, the Guys want to make street and traffic stops but, some of our colleagues actually discourage it because of the damn backlog. I have actually heard a fellow sergeant tell a couple of hard charging coppers “you want to chase guys then go to the tact team, but your job is to answer calls” Way to build up that morale sarge!
On another point our guys would like to take a night off once in awhile. Use the hours that they earned working overtime or working on a holiday. Time and time again I’m handing back time due slips at roll call with “DENIED” written across. Manpower demands! The shitty part about these denials is they are given back the night before the requested day off. These people can’t make plans to spend some time with family or friends. Do we have a morale problem? Your damn right we do and manpower is one of the main culprits. We're sure many of you have opinions as to the source of low morale on the department.....please share.