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posted: 2/5/2013 4:42 PM

Buffalo Grove commissions study of police dept. needs

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As Buffalo Grove continues its search for a new police chief, it also is taking a look inside the police department to determine its future needs.

On Monday, the village board voted to hire consultant Alexander Weiss, at an amount not to exceed $24,000, to conduct a staffing and organizational analysis of the department. The analysis will look at the deployment of resources, explore shift coverage options and identify optimal organizational structures, according to village documents.

The results could help guide Chief Steve Balinski's successor on decisions involving staffing and use of resources.

"I think anytime that you have information for a new leader in any organization, it's nice to have accurate data, to reflect on that data in terms of trends and traditions of the village," Balinski said Monday.

Weiss, who recently co-authored "A Performance-Based Approach to Police Staffing and Allocation," has conducted similar studies for Traverse City, Mich. and Lansing, Mich., and worked with the cities of Chicago and Evanston.

His findings will be shared with the firm hired by the village to recruit a new chief, Voorhees Associates.

Village Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III voiced concern about the timing of the study. He said it would make more sense to wait and have the new chief work with the consultant, rather than receive a report he might not like after being hired.

"Does it make sense to maybe defer this report until a new chief is selected? I'm thinking that the new chief should maybe have some input into this," Ottenheimer said.

Weiss, however, said the study should help the new chief from the onset.

"Whatever strategy the new chief tries to implement, one of the questions they'll have right away is what their capacity is," he said. "And that is one of the major deliverables of this. We will tell them here is what your resources are, here is how (they will be) deployed, here is the citizen demands for service."

Village President Jeffrey Braiman said the village does not necessarily have to implement any suggestions before the new chief is hired. It will merely provide a footprint for how the village can proceed.

Such a study has not been undertaken during his more than 20 years on the board, Braiman added. The study, he said, is being commissioned out of interests of good management, as well as with an eye to the village's financial concerns.

"(Staffing) is important to us, because we're trying to be as lean as possible," he said.

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