SPD Study Improvements in Progress

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As reported previously, the 59-page Suffield Police Department (SPD) Management Operational Study was released on October 30, 2019. It contains ten fundamental finding areas around criminal investigations, organizational structure, employee morale, training, and staffing. Progress is being made on addressing the 42 corresponding recommendations for those areas. Overall, Chief of Police Richard Brown targets 18-24 months to implement improvements and achieve accreditation.

The study took place over eight months, during which time some impacting initiatives were either in development or being implemented. An example would be the recent appointment of a detective, which satisfies the recommendations under criminal investigations.

Chief Brown has a goal to complete the SPD organizational structure, a critical prerequisite and foundation for addressing many recommendations, by July 1, 2020. Another factor that will impact the timeline is the need to partner with the police union on proposed changes in accordance with collective bargaining ground rules.

A significant dependency for successfully resolving a majority of issues raised in the study is the budget. Staffing, training, and a suggested salary/benefit assessment are just a few instances that will impact the budget. Chief Brown is currently documenting the necessary justification to obtain appropriate funding. He expects financial answers in April, after which he can solidify his plan to move forward. In the meantime, actions that can be taken independent of funding will be discussed at upcoming meetings. An example is clarification on day-to-day and long-term decision-making authority for the First Selectman and the Board of Police Commissioners, already being reviewed.

Recommendations will continue to be discussed during Police Commission meetings. Agendas and minutes are posted to the Town of Suffield website at https://www.suffieldct.gov/government/agendas-minutes. Residents are encouraged to check the website and/or attend meetings for the latest updates.

The Management Operational Study is available on the Town of Suffield Police Department webpage at https://www.suffieldct.gov/departments-services/public-safety/police. Scroll down to the document links, to see the entire report and a summary of findings and recommendations.

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