Rosemount Police Chief Mitchell Scott argued for adding a detective in the next year to keep up with the heavy investigative caseload, relieve officers' fatigue and allow officers a way to seek better work-life balance.
At the annual city budget work session for 2018, Scott told the Rosemount City Council of a need to grow the department in the next two years. Scott argued to add a detective next year and a couple of patrol officers in 2019 to keep up with the investigative work and relieve pressure from the current police who he said are fatigued and overworked.
"Demands on our police time is not abating and this is having a detrimental effect on an officer's work-life balance," Scott said.
According to a study by the Police Federation in March 2017, thousands of officers were interviewed about to work-life balance. Thirty-three percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that fatigue can make it difficult to carry out certain duties and responsibilities at work. The study found 56 percent agreed or strongly agreed to how fatigue interfered with family or their social life.
"We have not had a new detective position in the Rosemount Police Department for more than a decade, however, the amount of cases continues to grow and the sophistication it takes to build a case has increased drastically," Scott said.
If a detective was added to the police force, the position would relieve pressure off the investigative sergeant who can devote time to oversee and assist detectives and manage fewer cases. The position would allow for more cases to be solved and investigated, and it would offer safety, Scott argued.
"The pressure we are getting from the attorneys and the demands they want from the officers and the cases to prosecute cases has drastically increased," Scott said.
In a ranking of Minnesota police agencies where one officer is employed for each 1,000 residents in a population ratio, Rosemount is tied for 49th place out of 50 in the 10,000 to 25,000 population category. Currently, Rosemount's population sits around 23,574 and there are 24 sworn police officers. The Metropolitan Council estimates the city of Rosemount's population will come close to 25,900 residents by the year 2020.
Rosemount City Council discussed the overall budget at the work session and asked the police chief questions.
As part of the discussion of the preliminary city budget, Rosemount City Administrator Logan Martin said if the police force added recommended staff, this would impact the budget by $83,700 for one year of salary and benefits.
"It would relieve the pressure and add another body when there is a crime case like a bank robbery or an occupied burglary and we can have bodies we can send out," Scott said. "The patrol unit is stretched to the max and the workloads for the detectives are only getting higher and higher and higher," he added.
"We are facing a lot of issues where we are short and we do not have enough staff, and when we have one or two people on leave for vacation or medical issues in the patrol division, it has a major rippling effect and it gets to the point where we are working these people to the max and the work to life balance is very important," Scott added.
Today the demands on police are just getting higher, Scott said.
"The divorce rate is extremely high in law enforcement and alcoholism is extremely high in law enforcement," he said. "I want this as the foundation for you to understand that we are behind if you compare us to all the cities in the county, and even our budget is only 31.6 percent of the overall budget when you compare us to all the other cities in the county except for two other ones."
Having more patrol officers enable the department to take drugs and guns of the roads with traffic stops, Scott said.
"Traffic stops are the catalyst for stopping many other crimes and it keeps people - the riffraff - out of your city and that is what we want," Scott said.
Citing how it costs the department about $30,000 to train an officer and with the heavy workload the city loses officers to surrounding community police departments with less workloads and larger police departments.
When hiring, Scott said he wants to hold high standards.
"They have to be a good fit for the community, the city and they have to be caring and understanding and it cannot be just any person because we are like a family and we treat each other like family and we take care of each other," Scott said.
The Rosemount City Council will return and discuss the overall 2018 city budget and the police department during the next work session Monday, Aug. 7, before the 2018 city budget is adopted by the end of September.
January 2018 - Police Chief Mitchell Scott would like to add a detective position in January 2018. This would increase the sworn staff to 25.
January 2019 - Promote a sergeant to major and eliminate the administration sergeant position.
January 2019 - Add a patrol officer to increase the sworn staff to 26.
July 2019 - Add a patrol officer to increase the police sworn staff to 27.