In developing a strategic plan for the Mt. Ephraim Police Department, we have identified a number of different challenges facing us now and in the future. To effectively meet these challenges, we have developed a "plan" of action to help guide us through the next five years. The "plan" identifies those challenges we are facing and identifies specific objectives we can work towards to meet the challenges. By having a strategy in place to guide us through the coming years, we will be better able to remain the dynamic and flexible department that we are, which allows us to meet the changing needs of our community. All of our challenges and objectives were developed in a way that they can be modified as the needs of the community change in the coming years. The "plan" is just that, only a plan, and not a document that does not allow for flexibility. History has shown us that no matter how well we plan for the future, changes that occur in our community are driven by concerns that were unforeseen or unpredicted. The impact of the events of 9/11 is an example of how such an unforeseen event can shape the direction of law enforcement priorities and services.
The most important component of a community policing philosophy is partnership. In creating partnerships, we are acknowledging that the police cannot resolve all issues of concern facing a community, but rather it takes the coordinated efforts of many entities and people in the community working together on a common goal to improve the quality of life for all. It is for this reason that we identify partnership as the cornerstone of our policing philosophy. In the coming years, the Mt. Ephraim Police Department will continue to build enduring partnerships within our community. While we have established many effective partnerships in our community already, we see the need to create even more partnerships, or to make existing partnerships more effective. Our members will devote time to the development of relationships that are based on trust and respect among police members, community agencies and citizens.
In building these relationships, our members will make every effort to meet citizens in a variety of settings. We will seek assistance from the public whenever the resolution of an issue would be enhanced by involvement with others. This daily contact should provide greater personalization in the delivery of police service.
As a more structured way of creating partnerships, there are many nationally recognized and successful programs available to us that would foster a better relationship between the police and the citizens. Programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Volunteers in Police Service (VIP), and Citizen Police Academy are just a few of these programs. We should make every attempt to take advantage of such programs.
Together, our department and our citizens will enjoy the many benefits of a closer relationship. This stronger partnership will ultimately lead to an improvement in the quality of life for all. Through community-police partnerships, we will be able to leverage more resources and more effectively impact overall community safety.
Conversely, and of equal importance, the citizens of our community should view their part of the relationship as taking on more individual and collective responsibility in their neighborhoods and in the larger community for issues which impact public safety, crime, fear of crime and disorder.
Our citizens will no longer rely solely on the police to resolve these complex issues but will become more involved in these collective concerns and solutions.
A healthy relationship between a police department and its community is based on trust and respect. The community must trust that its department will police in a manner which is in the best interest of the community. We hold this faith from the community as sacred and must act with the utmost integrity and professionalism in carrying out their mission. Likewise, the police must trust that the majority of people in the community are interested and committed to the overall welfare of the community and should respect their perspective, concern and opinion about the safety of the community and their neighborhoods.
This level of trust and respect does not occur overnight. It takes constant dialogue between citizens and their police through personal relationships established at the grass roots level. Relationships are enhanced by face to face interaction of police members and citizens on a day to day basis.
We must remain fiscally responsible to the community. Budgets must reflect the department's ability to meet the needs of the community by providing quality law enforcement services while operating within acceptable budget limitations. People must believe they are getting good value from their tax dollars as it relates to the police department. It is our responsibility to provide a level of service to the community that people are willing to fund, within reasonable limits.
Plans to be more efficient through advanced technology need to be explored and funding options need to be pursued when technological improvements are identified. Advancements in available hardware, software, and other technologies need to be pursued as a means of being able to "do more with less" or in the real world, "do more with available resources".
Improvement is a continuous process of service refinement. It is driven by the desire to be considered by our citizens as the best service provider in the city. Quality service is reliant on the employees delivering service to others in a manner that they would have others deliver service to them.
As a service-oriented business, we will strive to provide our citizens with the highest quality service possible. We will commit to tailoring our services to the uniqueness and diversity of our community, remaining flexible in service delivery and personalizing our services whenever possible.
The true judge of our service quality is seen through the eyes of our citizens whom we view as our customers. Therefore, we will make every effort to / stay in touch and aligned with the citizens of Mt. Ephraim. We will seek their input on a regular basis regarding our services, programs and direction.
We must also remain flexible in the overall direction of our crime investigation/prevention efforts as the impact of specific crimes change. What is of concern today may not be of concern tomorrow, for a number of different reasons. The effectiveness of crime fighting efforts, the changing demographics of our community, and the fear of specific crimes all have an impact on the amount of resources we will direct towards specific crime trends. We need to remain flexible in our ability to detect and react to specific crimes or trends.
The Mt. Ephraim Police Department will build relationships and work with youth to help develop and reinforce attitudes, behavior and values which promote safer communities. We will seek opportunities for involvement in new programs that increase understanding among police and youth.
We also realize that we must foster closer relationships with the elderly in our community so we can better understand their needs. By better understanding their needs, we will be better able to provide them the service they desire to allow them to enjoy a better quality of life, a life free of fear and isolation.
To better coordinate many of the activities that we envision taking place between the police and the elderly and youth in our community, we should evaluate the possibility of creating a full-time Housing Authority Liaison/Resource Officer (LRO) position. As our interaction with youth and the elderly increases, it may make sense to expand the duties of the LRO position to include partnership fostering activities with residents and clients of the Housing Authority, as well as implementing structured programs targeting these two groups.
An organization is only as good as its members. It is the members who deliver its services and to a great extent, define its identity and establish its reputation; the Mt. Ephraim Police Department is no different. In fact, the quality of our service is reflective of the quality and commitment of our members. Therefore, we must support our members in all their efforts to provide service to the community. This support will not be care taking in nature, but caring! We will gear our systems and practices toward better support of and encouragement for employee decision making and involvement.
Our members will have ample opportunities to provide input in organizational decision making. We will support their ability to make decisions appropriate for their assignments by decentralizing decision making whenever possible.
Members will be provided with the resources, equipment and training to perform their work successfully. Finally, our members will be encouraged to respect one another and to value each person's contribution to the organization's mission.
We must also constantly evaluate the way we are providing services to determine if there are more effective ways to deliver our services. We must be constantly aware of better ways to provide service and review such changes annually to determine if they have had the desired effect. We must never allow ourselves to be comfortable with the "status quo" and should be constantly searching for ways to improve, including how we deploy our personnel.