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Bargain or liability? Demand for police service flucuates with the season - The Galveston County Daily News: Local News

December 6, 2016

Public safety: The cost/benefit question Bargain or liability? Demand for police service flucuates with the season

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  • Richard Moore posted at 8:20 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    Richard Moore Posts: 197

    This is turning out to be an excellent series. I am not “overwhelmed” by the numbers of police or firefighters in Galveston. As the series is showing, it is quite a complicated matter getting the resources aligned.

    I am interested in the ratio of one of the statistics from the story on June 29th, and that is the ratio of “Police Reports take in 2013” (Reports) to “Arrests made in 2013” (Arrests). Logic tells me that you would have a report every time that you have an arrest. The time and effort for those reports where arrests are involved though must be quite a bit higher than a report without an arrest.

    What I would like to see clarified though is the apparently high ration of the Arrests in Galveston compared to the Arrests in League City and Friendswood Combined. As indicated the data is as follows:

    2013 Reports/Arrests –
    Galveston- 8646/7281
    League City and Friendswood Combined- 7435/4913

    Stated simply, in Galveston 84% of the reports involved arrests while on 66% of the reports in League City and Friendswood combined. This make me wonder what it is about the data which causes the number of arrests in Galveston appear to be so high related to reports. Another thing which makes me question the info is that, according to the data presented, 100% of the reports in Friendswood involved an arrest, which must be some kind of anomaly.

    Appreciate the author and the GPD for the overall series – it should help tax payers understand the costs involved in the public safety section of the budget.

  • seamus posted at 9:02 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    seamus Posts: 286

    It's reasonable to hire officers from somewhere like Waxahachie or Nacogdoches for

  • seamus posted at 9:09 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    seamus Posts: 286

    It's reasonable to hire officers from somewhere like Waxahachie or Nacogdoches for traffic control or crowd control during events like Mardi Gras. The Galveston police department currently does this.

    HOWEVER, out-of-town officers may not be familiar with the street system (as regular as it is), or the local bad actors or trouble spots.

    The article rightly points out that the actions of part-time officers may open the city to federal civil-rights lawsuits that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, even if the city prevails.

    - Jim

  • justaman posted at 9:59 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    justaman Posts: 213

    Galveston's is unlike most Texas cities. Especially during weekends, the population doubles on the weekends and during events. these extra folks are tourist. They aren't coming to galveston to sing in the church choir. These Houston area citizens come to party.. They bring in the moneybut not without cost. They are filling the restauraunts and bars creating jobs and additional tax revenue.

    That business is what we want, but face the fact's, with the tourist boom comes some folks with alcohol and drug problems. Galveston needs to wake up and manage the situation. We need more Police officer's and EMT's. Pinching those tourist pennies at the cost of public safety..is the best way to run the tourist off. No one takes their family into a unsafe vacation spot. Galveston risks becoming a ghost town without adeqate police, fire and ambulance services. Since Porretto has been Chief the Galveston Police dept has been stable. The Chief apparently knows what he is doing. I say, give him the positions he ask for. I prefer the call for service measurement method myself. That is factual and based on Galveston's needs. Waxahachie, Temple or other Texas city comparisons are like comparing apples to oranges. Those cities do not have a Gulf beach and are not cities fed with tourist every weekend from a 4 million population just 45 minutes away.

  • Trudy posted at 10:10 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    Trudy Posts: 6

    I don't understand the comment that GPD is "stretched thin" they "don’t do traffic enforcement"; they just "run from call to call". There were two motorcycle officers stopped in the middle lane of Seawall this summer on a Saturday no less monitoring inspection stickers and license tags. Wouldn't that be considered traffic enforcement? If indeed officers are only investigating "major crimes" then this information is inconsistent with what is actually occurring and appears inconsistent with the justification for the addition of officers. I am a strong proponent of law enforcement and giving them the resources they need, but I am struggling with these particular comments to reinforce the need for additional officers.

  • gecroix posted at 11:44 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6419

    Do League City and Friendswood have large short term influxes of drunk and/or doped up people...weekly?
    Trying to run a first responder organization by comparing spreadsheets is not a good thing.
    Another consideration, is something that the place where I worked struggled with re-learning, several times, for the nearly 4 decades I know of. Staffing is not, ideally, something you do for best case scenario, or even average case. It's something you do for worst case scenario, and if you don't, you find out the hard way when the worst case happens how much difference the additional hands would have made.
    Once the kitchen is on fire, It's too late to go buy the fire extinguisher you saved money by not getting...
    First responder protection costs a lot of money.
    Not having it when sorely needed costs a lot more.
    You see a couple of Policemen not actively engaged in chasing down a criminal.
    Isn't that the idea - get to the point where there's less criem, because you have more policing?
    When that happens, though, just like when thigns were running well at the plant, first thing somebody wants to do is cut staffing - again.
    And, the cycle starts all over...

  • truthserum posted at 5:17 pm on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    truthserum Posts: 584

    I think Porretto has done a great job on communicating this issue to the public in approach to justifying hiring. While some industries can go part time help - I would think its hard to manage effectively and probably even harder to manage reserves. If any law enforcement leader has grown and is most visible in this county - it's been Porrretto. You never hear about the Sheriff's office being part of a solution anymore.
    And by the way on any given weekend during most of the year, Galveston has about 100 k in population - easily visible. League city does not have that type of volume. They also have more families in the population with same economic conditions of a certain segment.

    Seeing two traffic cops on a motorcycle writing non moving violation tickets is unfair assumption to make without knowing all the facts. It's the same assumption that I could make by seeing two - three sheriff's vehicles parked at a restaurant at the same time. Or the TC police setting speed traps on any morning but ignoring the buffoons drunk driving home of the beach on any given afternoon during the week.

  • miceal o'laochdha posted at 6:41 pm on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    miceal o'laochdha Posts: 661

    Thinking outside the box! Yes sir, that's the key to potentializing our actualizations, changing the paradigm, expanding our synchronicities, and taking it to the next level all right. We can find our passion and live our passion!! We need a new Mission Statement to be on the cutting edge.

    Out-of-town temps for police officers, hired part time, are still a bit costly. Let's just deputize pizza delivery drivers and florist drivers. We can really save some money then.

    Or, why not even use inmates from the county jail! If they can pick up trash by the side of the road, they should do just fine as temporary policemen, how hard can it be?

    And, just like out of town peace officers, they won't belong to the local police union. A special bonus (or maybe driving factor) in GDN approval of the plan.
    I especially like the wisdom of planning around seasonal needs. Once we import the denizens of the public housing condos, every day will be Christmas!!!

  • wbb posted at 5:49 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    wbb Posts: 35

    "Penny wise, pound foolish" is an old saying and one i feel applies here. As for any input Beeton may have, it was clear at a city council meeting when she was on council, she didn't trust, nor did she want Porretto as Chief. Might add that Beeton's views were proven wrong. Under Porretto's leadership - complaints have dropped significantly and we've seen a transition to a professional police force, one that has added a number of innovative and unique programs including: encouraging citizen participation (Citizen's Police Academy), collection outstanding fines from municipal court fines (up) and the "Protect with Respect" program. This budget "increase" is no more that bringing the budget back to pre-Ike levels with and increasing population and growing tourism. If we are to hold our police department accountable, we should listen and value their insight and input, unless we wish to feed other law enforcement agencies with quality officers, have a less effective/professional police department, and experience again - all the bad stuff that comes along with it (diminished quality of service and increased crime).