As we start the New Year, I'd like to update you on a few topics:
Every year, the Madison Police Department goes through an assignment process where most employees can select their work assignments (by seniority). The selection takes place in November, and the actual changes take place the first weekend in February. So, starting on February 3, we'll have a number of new faces working out of the West District. In fact, about 20% of the officers will be new to the District this year. The West District command staff will be remaining unchanged in 2013, but we will have several new sergeants.
Records Management System
For the last two years, the department has been working through the process of updating our records management system (RMS). This software manages massive amounts of data and documents, including police reports, property records, names, addresses, incident data, etc. The system we have been using was obtained in the early 1990's and is very outdated. The new system went live on December 3. And, as would be expected with any change of this magnitude, there have been some unexpected challenges. One of the biggest issues for us has been delays in reports being available for command review. This means that some cases are not being assigned to a detective for follow up as quickly as we would like. We are also temporarily unable to run incident reports, which can show us geographic trends, etc.
Once the transition is completed the new system should increase our capacity to manage data and improve the level of service we provide. Please bear with us during this transition period.
During the last two months of 2012 the West District was in disarray, as we had the building's interior re-painted and replaced the carpet. Both projects were long overdue (the carpet was the original carpet from when the building opened). This project also hampered our work, as people had their offices and workspaces temporarily moved during the project. The WPD community room was also unavailable during this time, as it was being used as a temporary workspace. The project was completed in early January, and we are enjoying the building's "like-new" condition.
A newly revised Madison Police Department website will be debuting soon. We will also finally be establishing an official Madison Police Department Facebook page. These changes will improve the way in which we communicate with the public, and allow us to provide more detailed and timely updates to the community. I anticipate that before too long the district newsletters will be discontinued, and replaced a more frequent process of releasing information/updates through the website and Facebook.
2012 was a busy year, and I'm proud of the manner in which the men and women of the West District served the community. We look forward to working together with you in 2013 to address issues and problems in the district.