Springfield, MO

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Police department team vies for quality award

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by Paul Flemming

SBJ Staff

Springfield's City Council will review in the next month a report from the Springfield Police Department on how the department will structure itself in the future to meet the law-enforcement needs of the city.

The committee of police officers and staff that prepared the report is also in the running for recognition of its work by the Excellence in Missouri Foundation. The team's work was chosen to represent the southwest Missouri region in statewide competition.

At the beginning of October, the police department team will make an oral presentation to state judges.

The winner will be announced at the Nov. 4-6 Missouri Quality Conference in Jefferson City.

"The purpose was to look 20 years into the future ... and set a road map for the department," said Maj. Todd Whitson, team coordinator.

Whitson said the group considered the population growth and community trends in Springfield. And the eight-member team worked those projections into the needs of the department itself and how it will organize.

Whitson said the department can centralize operations in its existing building or decentralize into a precinct structure. Centralization would involve an addition to current headquarters and the precinct model would involve a different facility, with the present headquarters used as it is.

"It involves a lot of ifs," Whitson said.

Those ifs were covered in six, day-long meetings of the team, with numerous subcommittees convening between each meeting, Whitson said.

Whitson said discussion of the conclusions reached by the team should wait until after council's review.

Bob Sherron, southwest regional coordinator for the quality competition, said the police department team was chosen on the basis of its written application and an oral presentation made to this region's judges. This area's competition is sponsored by the Ozarks Quality Council.

This is the third year for the competition. Up to six other finalists from other regions in the state will vie for the award, Sherron said.

John Politi, of the Excellence in Missouri Foundation, was team facilitator for the police department, Whitson said.

Department team members are Cpl. Robert Brown, investigations division; Wanda Brown, support services division, Lt. Dan Clark, operations division; Lt. Steve Hamilton, investigative division; Sue Schofield, administrative division; Maj. Hal Smith, support services division; Officer Bruce Waterman, administrative division; and Cpl. Randall Latch, operations division.


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