Fayetteville PD considering changes

February 17, 2010 8:20:45 PM PST
A review of an independent audit of the embattled Fayetteville Police Department was underway at city hall Wednesday.The mayor and city council have blasted the department saying some of its policies and procedures put citizens in harm's way.

ABC11 has been trying to get the report from the Police Executive Research Forum, known as PERF, since November.

The audit was conducted in the summer and the preliminary report has been available since October.

The city council heard the full report Wednesday for which they paid nearly $70,000.

What they found out is something they already knew - beefing up the department is going to cost big bucks.

While the department received high marks for several community based interactive programs, the Police Executive Research Forum was critical about the amount of time patrol officers spent on individual service calls.

"Just are so busy they really tend to run from one call to the next without much time in between for deterrent patrol for other sorts of activities that are a benefit to a community," said Dr. Craig Fraser with PERF.

Fayetteville residents may not have notice, but one of the PERF recommendations has already been put in place.

The horse mounted patrol has been deactivated. The department still has the horses, but officers no longer ride them around town.

"The mounted unit, even though it has great regard in the community, we think should be phased out and the officers there redeployed to patrol," Fraser said. "We think for civilian positions should be created as investigative aids."

There is also a recommendation to add 60 new positions to the department, including 37 patrol officers.

You could almost hear a collective gasp from city council members at the thought of how much that will cost.

"And I know you've got budget problems, and I know you're going to have to deal with that one way or another," Fraser said. "It's going to be tough."

The city manager and the police command staff must now decided what parts of the audit they'd like to implement.

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