Everett Police should expand force to fill gaps

EVERETT — Beyond filling current vacancies, the Everett Police Department should have nine more personnel, and use more civilians in some roles, recommends a consultant hired to study the department’s operations.
The department also should initiate a swing shift that overlaps with its morning and evening crews. Putting 12 officers and two sergeants on a “swing shift” patrol will avoid thin coverage where calls stack up, and allow officers time to engage the community, the consultant said.
The more effective police departments allow officers more time to do proactive police work and problem-solving with the community, the consultant said.
The hired consultant is Richard Brady, the CEO of Matrix Consulting Group who spent a year studying the Everett Police Department. He met with the City Council to present these recommendations earlier this month.
He also recommends establishing a third social worker outreach team for the weekends. The police department’s two Community Outreach and Enforcement Team (COET) groups, which pair a police officer with a social worker, do work weekends, but are most active on weekdays.
The department’s anti-crime and anti-gang units are thinly staffed at a time when there’s been an increase in violent crimes, he noted.
Everett officers work 12-hour shifts. Brady’s proposed “swing shift” puts 12 rank-and-file officers and two sereants on a shift from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. This would put them in the thick of peak call loads — mid-morning to early evening — to have more officers available when the strain is worst.
The department has 90 authorized patrol positions, but 18 vacancies today.
A broad questionnaire of 160 police personnel found universal feelings that current staffing is inadequate, Brady’s data says. Some 96% surveyed said it’s not.
Even so, officers largely said they can always call for backup and it is available.
The deparment is budgeted for 251 police personnel overall, and Brady recommends bumping it to 260, including adding five sworn officers. Some functions within the department do not need to be handled by trained police officers, Brady noted. Civilians could handle jobs running the department’s computers and helping compile data for police uses, he gave as examples.
The detective force is adequately staffed, Brady said.
Everett Police had good marks for meeting state law enforcement training standards, and exceeds these standards in some areas.