Town of Provincetown
FY 2024 Budget
Division 3: Public Safety
The Provincetown Police Department is a full-service, public safety organization staffed by fifteen full-time police officers. They are trained, equipped and ready to work together in a team atmosphere handling any type of situation that may manifest itself. We can accomplish this task by utilizing a diverse group of employees who are highly motivated, well trained and committed to the highest ideals of the law enforcement profession. Our expressed intent is to use every available opportunity we can to contact citizens, visitors, and community leaders to solicit their assistance in the continuation of quality police service.
The members of the Provincetown Police Department are dedicated to maintaining a high level of public confidence by ensuring that each member displays honesty, integrity, and sound judgment during their contact with our citizens, always recognizing their duty to protect and serve the members of our community. In addition, they respect the notion that law enforcement can be resolute yet compassionate – that the dignity of people can and should be preserved in the delivery of our services to the greatest extent that circumstances allow. We also acknowledge that policing policies must be conceived in collaboration with the public subject to those policies. We endeavor to live this paradigm of partnership.
The Department provides a high-quality of police service by fully utilizing department personnel and all available resources to address community-identified issues and concerns. They receive calls and dispatch for a whole host of both emergency and non-emergency public services, including the fire department, Lower Cape Ambulance/EMT service and the Animal Control Officer. The emergency 911-call center and department are fully staffed seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
It is once again my honor to present the Police Department’s Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. This budget that I present to you is balanced, responsible, manageable, and ready for your thoughtful review. Provincetown, along with the rest of the country, continues to address a wide range of challenges across all departments, from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic placing stresses on our municipal resources, to heightened demand for quality-of-life services from residents and stakeholders. Looking forward toward Fiscal Year 2024, we continue to meet our commitment to balance fiscal responsibility while meeting Provincetown’s priorities for the public safety needs of our residents and visitors. I feel the budget that is being presented to you today continues to allow the Town to grow in a positive direction.
Provincetown’s Police Department continue to serve on the front lines. I highlight for special recognition, all your police employees for their daily efforts and protection and I am also grateful for all their professionalism and adaptability. Your police officers continue to support our community by responding to emergency situations with integrity every single day. They have cultivated partnerships with other agencies and strengthened our community’s readiness and reliance. Provincetown is fortunate to have such dedicated Public Safety personnel that continue to do an excellent job keeping Provincetown safe.
I commend the Select Board who has focused on providing the department with the staffing and resources to keep our community safe. In the face of new and seemingly everchanging legislative changes, your police employees, and the Select Board, continue to focus on community policing, police officer training, social services, and supporting ongoing public safety measures in the community.
In conclusion, I leave you with this, the global pandemic has forever changed our way of life and our way of doing business. As a Town, we have led with resilience, steadfast in our commitment to both fiscal responsibility and transparency to our citizens. Provincetown is an incredible community. We have vast supply of community minded residents and volunteers who give so much of themselves for the benefit of this Town, and we are motivated to perform and produce at the highest of levels. The proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget represents a strong commitment to the people I am fortunate enough to serve. This budget was built with an eye to the future.
FY2023 - July to 1st Half
Tracking includes benefit time, attendance in court, at meetings, time beyond shift for investigations and reports. Some examples are:
VACATION TIME: is something that expands with time. Employees earn vacation time with longevity, earning up to 5 weeks after 20 years of service. Even with a contractual limitation of only one employee per day allowed to use vacation or compensatory time for the busiest part of the year, legitimate sick time, personal time use of vacation, compensatory or personal time make scheduling difficult. Currently, about 70% of all police employees have less than 5 years of service. Authorized leave time will increase as seniority of personnel increases.
COMPENSATORY TIME: the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) declares compensatory time may be offered to an employee in lieu of overtime payments. However, giving out compensatory time does not necessarily save on overtime costs, but postpones the inevitable and creates another bank of time to manage. Another condition contained in the (FLSA) use of compensatory time instead of cash overtime is the requirement that it allow an employee to use his or her accrued paid time-off “within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the public agency.” The town must allow an employee who has requested the use of accrued compensatory time to take time-off absent an undue hardship, the Town having to pay qualified employees overtime to fill the vacancy created by its use is not sufficient cause to deny its use.
COURT OVERTIME: is managed aggressively by the Court Liaison and the Chief of Police checking with the District Attorney’s Office and seeing that they have a reasonable approach in marking up a certain number of cases for trial on the same day. This approach reduces the number of times an officer shows up for court and is told the case has been postponed and is released with a minimum contractual overtime payment.
INVESTIGATIONS: involves overtime when an officer needs to complete a report, as when an arrest may happen late in the shift. However, the vast majority of overtime costs in this instance are used in the detective office for follow-up work on cases such as: sexual assaults, narcotics investigations, house and business breaks, search warrants, etc. All possible report writing is done on shift to contain these overtime costs.
TRAINING: involves overtime every time an officer needs to attend professional training and he or she is not in their normal respective shift. We do assign the officer’s to an administrative schedule if they attend training that is a week or more in duration. This arrangement may still cost overtime to backfill the officers shift while he or she is at training class. Training is the best investment a community can make in its police officers; it must remain a top priority.
We ask for your continued support of our training initiatives. Untrained police officers are a recipe for disaster. Improper use of force and false arrests could cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits. While the modified State budget has marginally increased funding of the Municipal Police Training Committee, it was dramatically less than was requested. At this point, they will be able to accomplish basic recruit training, specialized training and veteran officer in-service training, but all additional professional development will be left in the hands of individual departments.
A collaboration among area law enforcement agencies resulted in the creation of the Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council (CCRLEC). While this organization’s main purpose is mutual aid to members in need, they have been able to provide specialized training at reduced rates and have saved on transportation costs and fees by bringing the training to our area. The CCRLEC now has teams in place for SWAT, Motorcycle Unit and Crash Investigation. These units are available in emergencies when member departments do not have sufficient manpower.
The police department sends officers to classes that include COBWEB (bicycle training for police officers), field training officer school (to have trainers on-hand for new police officers), internet safety, narcotics investigations, sexual assault investigations, fingerprinting and basic crime scene schools, use of firearms, dealing with those with special needs, suicide prevention, first aid, CPR, AED, interview and interrogations, accident reconstruction, SWAT and cell phone forensics. As technology changes, so do the training requirements.
Policing is not a static situation. Changes in criminal law, criminal procedure, motor vehicle law and many other areas are affected by court decisions and changes in statutes constantly. Police Officers must be trained in these areas and many others on a regular and continuing basis.
The use of specialized training, in addition to providing professional development for our employees, lifts the morale of individual officers and makes the department stronger at the same time. This training must continue so that at least two officers have training in any area of specialization. Failure to train is unacceptable and may result in costs that far outweigh training costs. We must keep our officers well trained, well-disciplined and safe.
This budget material outlines the Provincetown Police Department’s FY-2024 financial plan as presented to the Town Manager. With this documentation we endeavor to provide for you an overview of our operating budget request and identify our rationale for each entry. I hereby submit it to you for your thoughtful review and will be pleased to answer your questions.
I trust that you will agree with me that it represents our commitment to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Major Accomplishments for FY 2022
Your police department may finally have a permanent home as we come to what Winston Churchill may have called the “end of the beginning” of the process in creating a new home for the members of the Provincetown Police Department. I was initially handed the Needs Assessment Study for the current police station back in June 2009. Many years later, you can see rising from the ground is the future home of policing in Provincetown.
The volunteers on our Building Committee first convened back in 2013, there were still many uncertainties about this process and what the ultimate result would be. The people of Provincetown had mixed feelings about the station including location, renovation, and design. I am proud to say that each member put their head down and dedicated themselves to establishing a productive dialog that led us to where we are at today.
The entire committee needs to be recognized: Sheila McGuinness, Paul Kelly, Donald Murphy, Lisa Westervelt, Jeffrey Mulliken, Arlene Weston, and Linda Fiorella. I also want to recognize the work of Jorge Cruz and Daithí Blair from Flansberg Architects and our project manager Paul Millett from Environmental Partners. Most importantly, I would also like to thank the fine men and women of the Provincetown Police Department for their patience, endurance, and understanding as we move forward toward this new facility.
FY 2023 Objectives
The Provincetown Police Department has embraced a community-oriented policing philosophy that uses a cooperative approach to meet the safety needs of our community.
Community policing is perhaps the most misunderstood and frequently abused theme in police management these days. In the past few years, it has become fashionable for police agencies to initiate community policing, often with little notion of what that phrase means. Indeed, all manner of organizational tinkering has been labeled community policing, but community policing is not a program. Instead, community policing is a value system which permeates at every level within a police department, in which the primary organizational goal is working cooperatively with people, groups of people, and both public and private organizations to identify and resolve issues which potentially affect the livability of our community. Community-based police departments recognize the fact that the police cannot effectively deal with issues alone and must partner with other stakeholders who share a mutual responsibility for resolving problems. Community policing stresses prevention, early identification, and timely intervention to deal with issues before they become unwieldy problems. Individual officers tend to function as general-purpose practitioners who bring together both government and private resources to achieve results. Officers are encouraged to spend considerable time and effort in developing and maintaining personal relationships with our residents, its visitors, businesses, the IB World School, and community organizations.
2021 was another landmark year for law enforcement across our nation. Various events created a platform for important causes and movements revolving around race, equality, and fairness within our criminal justice system. It is important to capitalize on this opportunity to make systematic improvements in the way we police and interact with our community. Although the Provincetown Police Department is ahead of the curve in many areas, we will continue to improve on several fronts, most notably transparency with our community, public safety, and officer wellness.
Communication is essential towards building public trust. I firmly believe in the sanctity of life, meaning every person, no matter what their circumstances, is valued and their life is sacred. The job of a police officer is extremely difficult, especially in these ever-changing times. Your police officers must have the support of their community and their police chief to be successful and accomplish their mission. They will always have my support when they are professional, adhere to department policy, and treat everyone they encounter with dignity and respect. Arrests are inevitable, but they are merely a reaction to a problem. Community-based policing, ethically based and orchestrated, is an enduring solution to just about any problem.
Massachusetts Police Accreditation
The Provincetown Police Department has made a commitment to the process and has entered into a multi-year commitment with the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program Commission. The Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program originated on October 17, 1996 through an Executive Order of the Governor (No. 392). The program was administered by a state agency known as the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Association, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Coalition and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety. In February of 2004, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission transitioned from a state agency to a private, non-profit organization now known as the “Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc.”, hereinafter referred to as the “Commission.”
The Commission consists of an eleven member Board of Directors. Six (6) members are appointed by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, two (2) by the Coalition of Accreditation Managers of Massachusetts (formerly the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Coalition), one (1) by the Massachusetts Municipal Association and one (1) by the Massachusetts Police Association. The Eleventh member is elected by a majority of the Board of Directors and must be affiliated with an academic institution. The Commission’s objective is to encourage the highest level of professionalism and integrity in the delivery of police services within the Commonwealth. To that end, the Commission develops standards for police voluntary certification and accreditation. It determines which standards are mandatory and which are optional, and oversees an assessment process by which agencies demonstrating compliance with its standards which evaluates and critiques the department's policies and procedures, operations and facilities. It begins as a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession.
PARTNERSHIP: Community Crisis Intervention
Mental illness, addiction problems, and homelessness have all affected policing in every community. Often these issues are intertwined and we are not immune to these issues here in Provincetown. The Department built upon its efforts over the last 3 years to effectively and appropriately respond to persons with mental health issues or those in crisis.
At this time, all of your front-line police officers have attended 40-hours of Community Crisis Intervention Training sponsored by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).
In addition to police-specific training exercises, the program features presentations by community service agencies, agencies that can become resources for the police in developing solutions for the mentally ill or challenged people encountered in community policing. For example, there is a presentation by the medical director of the Behavioral Health Unit at Cape Cod Hospital on how to get people into the hospital for the care that they need. Other agencies including the DMH also give presentations.
The objectives of this 15-year evidence-based program include:
- To outline strategies to develop innovative and effective responses by public and private agencies to individuals who have mental illness, developmental delays, and/or substance abuse disorders.
- To identify points of interception where community interventions can be made to prevent an individual with a behavioral health disorder from entering or penetrating deeper into the criminal justice system.
- To identify community agency/department resources and limitations while clarifying roles and responsibilities.
- To demonstrate the benefits of enhanced communication, including information sharing, among law enforcement and community stakeholders.
- To outline the value of cross training among disciplines including law enforcement, courts, mental health workers, schools and other community-based agencies.
This time last year, we also sent all of our call takers (Emergency Telecommunicators) to an 8-hour course titled Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Personnel. I trust that tools like Mental Health First Aid will give our people the skills to recognize and respond to immediate crisis – and like first aid or CPR, allows them to stabilize someone and by extension help to de-escalate things during a crisis. Safely deescalating situations is, without question, now a critical mandate for our people and getting this information pre-arrival by our call takers seemed like the next logical step.
Staff Professional Development
A quality police training program provides each level of staffing within the department the skill sets necessary to complete the mission they have been tasked with. This program includes training for Police Officers, Sergeants, Telecommunicators and the Administrative Support Staff, as well as for Seasonal Police Officers. The program covers state mandatory training, as outlined by the Municipal Police Training Counsel (MPTC), advanced training classes directed at a specialized field and provides for administrative flexibility to address changes in “best practices” for law enforcement. This program will also educate officers on Town by-laws, work place issues and provide them with training opportunities to advance their careers through promotions. These promotional training classes will not only improve an officer’s chances for advancement but provide a high standard of service and professionalism to the community we serve.