Vancouver police review: Understaffed, lacking focus - KPTV - FOX 12

Vancouver police review: Understaffed, lacking focus

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

An independent review of Vancouver police found the department to be understaffed and lacking direction and focus.

The 166-page report by the International City Management Association Center did report that the Vancouver Police Department provides a high level of service to the community with the resources available.

"Personnel reductions and budget cuts over the last several years have created a fragmented organization," the report states.

Investigators said a succession of administrators have each brought a different philosophy, which has contributed to a "palpable sense of disorientation with respect to the vision and mission of the department."

"Years of internal turmoil have had a negative effect on the workplace climate," ICMA found.

The report recommends an extended period of stability with a return to core organizational principles and services.

That includes creating a "calls for service committee" with officers and community members to evaluate how calls are received and dispatched.

Investigators also suggested reorganizing patrol into two precincts with one commander in each precinct, reinstating the rank of lieutenant, abandoning territorial command at the beat level and creating a leadership team.

City Manager Eric Holmes released a statement saying the report represents a "roadmap of opportunity" for the next chief of police.

"I look forward to working with the department and community through a recruitment process to select a chief who can effectively lead the department through these changes," he said.

Holmes said the department can no longer maintain a "small town" policing model that strives to answer every call with a high level of service. Instead, the ICMA recommends focusing resources on more efficient ways of providing community safety.

Holmes said some recommendations will be pursued immediately, while many of them will take time to implement.

A series of meetings began Wednesday with department staff to discuss the report.

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