The recent crime spree in Manhattan Beach is terrifying residents. These incidents include homes ransacked, residents pistol-whipped, students robbed at gunpoint, and car thefts – leaving many in fear of their lives and under siege. The perception if not the reality of increased crime is raising questions on the viability of the Manhattan Beach Police Department, particularly its leadership. Unfortunately, the MBPD Strategic Plan does not provide adequate reassurance.
Although the MBPD Strategic Plan focuses on needed priorities to strengthen management of its human and financial resources (e.g. leadership development, operational effectiveness, inner-departmental communications, teamwork, and increased employee proficiency), it omits concrete goals and objectives aimed at MBPD’s ultimate mission – strengthening public safety.
To further confidence in the MBPD, its strategic plan should incorporate specific measurable results-oriented objectives aimed at reducing those crimes of key concern to the community, e.g. burglaries, armed robberies, violence, and threats to our youth. These measurable results would similarly serve to determine whether MBPD’s management priorities, as described above, correlate with achieving its bottom line mission “To protect life, liberty, and property.…”
Further, the MBPD strategic plan should replace generalized statements of intentions and activities with performance outcomes. Focusing on intentions and activities is akin to measuring the success of baseball players by their number of times at bat versus results measured by batting average, runs batted in, and home runs.
Outcome measures in public safety include crimes against persons and property per capita; percentage of crimes cleared; operating and maintenance expenditures per capita; and, resident ratings of safety in their neighborhoods.
These recommendations are commensurate in achieving performance accountability of police departments with those by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, and the United States Department of Justice.
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.