Meeting with Patrick Leary
February 19, 2016

45-Day Check-up

90-days to deliver a draft plan

I met with Patrick Leary on January 19, 2016 and at that meeting he informed me of the directive from the mayor concerning 90 days to deliver a draft plan to resolve issues of morale, mandatory overtime, and the method by which the 911 Bureau processes police related calls. Below is the language from the mayor’s SOTC address given on January 26, 2016:

When it comes to security and helping those in need, we must not be afraid of change. Public safety is job number one.

I have already spoken with Chief Brown, Fire Chief Dale, and 911 Director Scott Freitag about building cultures of respect within their respective departments and working openly to address issues we face.

I have identified one critical area in which they will need to work together quickly. For years, our hard working 911 dispatchers have been on mandatory overtime. I have spoken one-on-one with dispatchers, and they are stressed and tired, but their hopes are high and they are committed more than ever before to protect the people of Salt Lake City.

I have given our public safety leaders 90-days to deliver a draft plan to address this situation. They must put aside differences and find a solution to move forward one that will keep the public safe and bring relief to our first responders.

 

On January 20, 2016 we (911 Director, Police Chief, Fire Chief) held our first meeting to begin developing the draft plan and identified the areas that can be addressed immediately and those that will take more time to implement. We also addressed issues that will require support from the Mayor’s Office and the City Council. To begin the meeting, everyone agreed that there are no impediments in cooperating together to find solutions. As we progress through the 90-day period (January 19 – April 19), we will implement changes and improvements as we progress. Before April 19, 2016, we will deliver a fully developed plan that addresses morale, overtime, call processing, employee empowerment, a culture of respect, teamwork, and customer service. March 4th was technically the 45th day mark. A lot has been accomplished thus far, and with the research and suggestions from the police department in conjunction with the feedback generated through the employee surveys, I am confident that the plan will be fully complete with accomplishments and ongoing solutions identified.

 

Below is the agenda for that first meeting:

SLC911 Bureau

Performance Improvement Meeting

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

12:00 PM Fire Chief’s Executive Conference Room

 

Attendees:

Scott Freitag, 911 Director

Brian Dale, Fie Chief

Mike Brown, Interim Police Chief

 

Agenda

  • Background
  • Timeline
  • Establish Committees
    • Policy/Steering Committee
      • Charter
      • Members
      • Meetings
      • Expectations
    • Police Users Group
      • Charter
      • Members
      • Meetings
      • Expectations
    • Fire Users Group
      • Charter
      • Members
      • Meetings
      • Expectations
    • Dispatch Review Committee – Currently functioning
      • Charter
      • Members
      • Meetings
      • Expectations
    • Quality Improvement Unit – Currently functioning
      • Charter
      • Members
      • Meetings
      • Expectations
    • Assign issues to committees
    • Minimum Staffing
    • Call taking work flow
    • Resolve issues with police call taking
    • Morale

As a group we identified our understanding of the Issues raised by Patrick Leary and Mayor Biskupski

  1. Staffing Issues
    • Hiring
    • Retention
    • Minimum staffing
  2. Morale
    • Related to OT and mandatory OT
    • Shift lengths
    • Changes, Changes, Changes
    • Need for additional training
    • Rifts between police and fire dispatchers
    • Support from Police and Fire Departments
  3. Eliminating Mandatory OT
    • Mandatory OT began the first day SLC911 began dispatching for Sandy City (Oct. 27, 2013) because of a lack of staffing
    • Employee turnover began with the announcement of dispatch consolidation in 2011
  4. Physical layout of facility
    • Moving call-takers to the middle of the room
    • Providing more space within the dispatching pods
    • Adding the nurse positions to the fire dispatching pods
    • Create space for command personnel to work near the police and fire dispatch pods
  5. Law enforcement protocols
    • Structured call processes
    • Changes/improvements/enhancements
    • What information displays on mobile data terminals (MDT) for officers
    • Finding out exactly what the police department thinks is wrong/broken with police protocols (ProQA)

 

We have met regularly since January 20th. Here is a list of accomplishments to date:

  1. The new committees have been established. What’s new about this approach is that it places dispatchers and supervisors on each of the committees, giving our frontline employees a voice in development of the Bureau’s policies and procedures. These new committees also allow for a more focused approach to deal with fire and police specific issues. The new committees are:
    1. Policy Group
    2. Police Users Group
    3. Fire Users Group

 

  1. The police department has assigned three police officers to work directly with dispatch to review police call taking techniques and suggest improvements
    1. The police officers have been conducting research, running data, sitting with dispatchers and listening, meeting with representatives of Priority Dispatch to find ways to speed up call processing times
    2. The police call processing group meets every week to discuss findings and implement changes

 

  1. In order to hear from the Bureau’s employees on specific issues that are affecting morale and overtime, we are surveying the employees. The first survey summary results are attached to this document. 62 of 78 employees responded, 79%. There will be two more surveys going out this week and next that will be specific to morale, team building, functioning as one unit, employee recognition, and employee involvement

 

  1. On March 1, 2016, the City Council voted unanimously in a straw vote to adding 10 additional positions to the Bureau. This will have a positive impact on reducing OT and allowing the Bureau to offer a variety of shift lengths

 

  1. The police department established a time standard of 1 min 45 secs for dispatchers to obtain and deliver suspect description information on Priority 1 and 2 level calls. Currently, the Bureau is averaging 1 min 53 seconds on that information. We will be involving employees in determining how to meet the new minimum standard.

 

  1. Due to a steep reduction in employee turnover, the ability to offer hiring incentives for trained and certified applicants, and the effectiveness of the Bureau’s new training academy, mandatory OT has been reduced by 50% this year.

 

  1. A Morale Committee has been established, led by employees and not the administration

 

  1. National Telecommunicator’s week is coming up in April. We will look for support from the Fire and Police Departments, as well as the Mayor’s office in recognizing and rewarding our dispatchers

 

  1. We have selected a single computer aided dispatch system for the entire county which will dramatically improve the handling of calls belonging to different jurisdictions

 

Here is the list of long term goals:

  1. A total revamping of the Bureau’s quality improvement program
  2. A redesign of the dispatch floor, improving efficiencies
  3. Turning the “Draft Plan” into a short term and long term Strategic Plan
  4. The implementation of the Dispatcher III position and a study on a Dispatch IV (Lead Dispatcher) position
  5. Creating a meaningful employee awards and recognition program
  6. With the assistance of HR, reviewing and updating all Bureau policies and procedures
  7. Creating a Succession Plan
  8. Returning line-ups
  9. Creating a variety of shift lengths