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Deploy COMPSTAT Systems with entellitrak

BPM & Case Management Platform Supports Innovative Management Approach to Law Enforcement

Gary Walker's avatar

By: Gary Walker

January 8, 2013 | Case Management/BPMFederal Solutions

Over the years, the implementation and execution of law enforcement and police services have been governed by a variety of strategic management approaches. Exposing and confronting issues in many of the legacy models has led to more and more progressive approaches to crime enforcement. So today, we find that effective and successful police executives are challenged with driving organizational change through new innovative approaches to strategic management. The goal of these approaches is to seek opportunities to enhance operational efficiencies through the identification and management of internal issues and external influences that may limit an organization’s ability to accomplish its objectives. To be successful in today’s law enforcement police executives must set the course with strategic management. The management model at the top of many law enforcement agencies’ list for consideration is the COMPSTAT approach.

The term COMPSTAT, short for Computer Statics or Comparative Statistics is the name given to the model by the New York City Police Department. The program has received national publicity, including awards from Harvard University and former Vice President Al Gore, and has been credited by its originators and proponents with impressive reductions in crime and improvements in neighborhood quality of life.  The COMPSTAT process, when used effectively for accountability and problem solving, can be a means for developing potential leaders and promoting cooperative and creative leadership.

COMPSTAT began to be adopted in the early 1990s and has in some form become the dominant strategic model for the management and delivery of police services in the U.S. The approach has been credited with significantly improving the effectiveness of numerous law enforcement agencies. The COMPSTAT approach calls for smarter policing and data-driven policing. The approach not only facilitates crime fighting but enhances the ability of the agency to anticipate, predict, respond to and mitigate all hazards.

COMPSTAT as a police specific management model resulted from serious problems with crimes often referred to as Part I crimes. These crimes are reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under a requirement for law enforcement agencies to submit uniform crime reports (i.e. UCR)

In 1994, Mayor Rudy Giuliani hired Police Commissioner William Bratton who predicted double-digit crime reduction, something that had never happened during the history of modern policing in New York City. Bratton was able to achieve this goal within the first year and in years following. Every Part I index crime went down dramatically, immediately and continuously. Over 14 years, the COMPSTAT approach led to a 74% reduction in all Part I Index Crimes in New York City. Police Chief Bratton began by asking a team of officers to create a simple database with information about the major crimes that cities must report to the FBI. The project was completed and eventually evolved into a system used to store, mine and recall hard data that would lead to greater accountability among those charged to reduce crime.

Since its inception, COMPSTAT and its many variations have specifically focused on six core leadership elements:

  • Mission clarification: Top management seeks to clarify and magnify the core features of the department’s mission that serve as the overarching reason for the organization’s existence.
  • Internal accountability: Operational commanders are held accountable for knowing their commands, being well acquainted with the problems in the command, and defining metrics to accomplish measurable results in reducing crime, or the conditions that relate to the crime problem. Since an enormous amount of data can be collected through the use of COMPSTAT, it can also be used as a platform for continuous improvement and learning.
  • Geographically organizing command and tracking of policing: Operational command is focused on the policing of territories, so central decision-making authority, as well as tactical and strategic analyses over police operations are delegated to commanders with territorial responsibility for districts.
  • Organizational flexibility: The organization collects sufficient data and uses this data to develop strategies and responses that places “the cops on the dots.” The capacity and ability of departments to quickly change habits as needed to mobilize resources when and where they are needed for strategic application is the primary goal.
  • Data-driven analysis and assessment for problem-solving: At the core of any COMPSTAT implementation is the department’s ability to adequately collect, control quality, index, query, and manipulate data collected by a department during police operations. The goal, as much as possible is to have a system that tracks calls, reports, and other law enforcement and investigative activities from cradle to grave. The totality of this data would then be made available for identification and analyses of problems; and to track and assess the department’s response. Data is made accessible to all relevant personnel on a timely basis and in a readily usable format.
  • Innovative problem-solving tactics: COMPSTAT as a management concept allows for greater collaboration, data sharing, and mutual ownership of systemic problems throughout the department. It uses the totality of knowledge, skills, equipment, and resources the department has to offer. Innovation and experimentation is encouraged and use of the best available knowledge about practices is expected.

Today, a variety of technology options offer police departments and public safety officials the opportunity to quickly embrace, deploy and automate COMPSTAT models in their organizations, regardless of the size of the agency. Even small and medium sized law enforcement agencies can find affordable options for deploying such systems.

One such technology is the entellitrak platform offered by MicroPact. entellitrak is a proven data tracking and management platform widely deployed across the US federal government. entellitrak can be quickly configured to provide a COMPSTAT solution without the need for expensive software development or a “rip and replace” exercise. entellitrak can serve as the strategic control system for the collection and management of crime statistics and related quality of life issues and provide agencies the ability to collect, analyze and map crime data and other essential police performance measures.  Additionally, entellitrak can support the ability to “direct and control” the execution of police, investigative and other public safety services within a community.

If you are interested in establish a COMPSTAT oriented system for your agency, please contact me at gwalker@micropact.com. With more than 15 years of experience as a manager involved in process improvement for law enforcement, I can assist you in evaluating entellitrak as a suitable technology option for your organization.

About the Author

Gary Walker was a member of the MicroPact Justice and Law Enforcement team from 2013-2019. 

Tyler Technologies is the largest and most established provider of integrated software and technology services focused on the public sector

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