The City Manager’s
FY 2017 Proposed Budget includes a set aside of $500,000 for traffic
enforcement and parking adjudication initiatives. The City Manager asked the
Alexandria Police Department (APD) to provide recommendation for use of the
contingent reserve funding for traffic enforcement. APD recommended adding two
Motor Officers and one supervisory Sergeant to the current authorized staffing,
raising the authorized staffing level of Motor Officers from nine to eleven,
and supervisors from one to two. This recommendation is based upon the
increasing citizen demands for enhanced levels of traffic enforcement in more
areas of the City. Currently, the Motor Officer Unit has one Sergeant that acts
as the sole supervisor for the entire 10 person unit. Adding two additional
Motor Officers creates a span-of-control issue should there remain only one
supervisor for the entire unit. Under the current span of control there are
more duties than can be handled by the one existing Sergeant. A Sergeant is
also a working supervisor who spends part of his or her time in the field.
Funding the addition
of two Motor Officers and one Sergeant is possible using both FY 2016 Police
Department projected budget savings and FY 2017 Proposed contingent reserve
funding. The annual full-year operating cost would be $90,000 for each of the
two Motor Officers and $105,000 for the Sergeant, for a total of $285,000. The
one-time cost for uniforms and equipment, including motorcycles, would be
$60,500 for each position, or $181,500 total. Staff recommends transferring
$285,000 from contingent reserves to the APD budget in FY 2017 to fund the positions.
Based on year-end expenditure projections, APD is expected to be able to
purchase the one-time uniforms and equipment from savings in FY 2016. In
addition to the $285,000 for the three positions, staff also recommends the
transfer of another $115,000 of set aside funds to APD for overtime related to
traffic enforcement (to be discussed later in this response). In summary, the
overall recommendation is to transfer $400,000 of contingent reserve funding to
the Police Department for traffic enforcement initiatives, and to use $181,500
of FY 2016 savings to purchase one-time expenditures related to the three new positions.
The remaining $100,000 set aside in contingent reserves will cover
re-establishing the Parking Adjudication Office and is recommended to remain in
contingent until a detailed adjudication proposal is developed.
City staff acknowledges that additional resources to conduct
traffic enforcement efforts provide some level of new revenue through traffic
citations. However, revenue implications are not considered as part of this
proposal due to the fact that APD’s mission and purpose is to legitimately
provide a safe environment for the citizens, workers, and visitors of the City.
Thus, the Police Department does not consider revenue implications as a factor
in how to deliver services to the public. Ideally, enforcement and
education efforts would result in fewer traffic citations issued as drivers
increase their compliance with the law.
Although the three recommended positions would be fully
funded for the entire year, they would not be operational until spring 2017. This
is due to timing of when Officers in the next recruit class can work Patrol
independently, as well as time needed to train Motor Officers once transferred
from Patrol. Only once the most recent Police Academy class becomes fully
operational will the Patrol Unit have needed capacity to transfer additional
Officers from Patrol to the Motor Unit. After Officers are transferred to the
Motor Unit, they will require several months of training before being able to
work as a fully operational Motor Officer. This means that the 2 new Motor
Officers would not address traffic safety issues until after their training is
complete in spring 2017.
In the interim, APD can use the $165,000 in overtime funding ($50,000 already included in the FY 2017 Proposed Budget and $115,000 added from contingent reserve funding) until the additional Motor Officers become operational. This funding would allow APD to begin developing and then assessing traffic safety programs. Programming would vary from public education campaigns to raise awareness to targeted enforcement at areas or times of high complaint. Officers can elect to sign up for overtime or not, meaning that there can be no guarantee of how many overtime hours will actually occur. Even so, the opportunity for overtime signals that traffic enforcement and safety efforts are high priority for both the Police Department and the City. Once the additional Motor Officers became operational, the Motor Unit could then use its increased staffing resources and expertise to continue developing and implementing effective traffic safety programs that provide lasting, global improvements across the City. Hence, the $115,000 of overtime funds is intended to be one-time transitional funding for FY 2017 only.