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BEVERLY HILLS : Police Audit Recommends Strengthening Leadership

July 07, 1994|SUSAN STEINBERG

A $100,000 management audit of the Beverly Hills Police Department has been made public, and the report outlined several dozen ways to improve the department without raising costs.

The 63-page study recommends strengthening management supervision and leadership in the 132-officer department, redeploying patrol officers, changing dispatch policies and making better use of existing technology.

By implementing some of the recommendations, consultants from the Virginia firm Towers Perrin said the department could improve response time, boost police visibility and increase the public's sense of security.

Overall, though, the audit was complimentary to the department. Bill Evans, the senior consultant from Towers Perrin, praised the department, saying it "has been matched by few of the more than 200 police departments the consultants have studied over the last 25 years."

Beverly Hills Police Chief Marvin Iannone said he was pleased with the audit and agreed with most of the recommendations.

He said he supported recommendations that supervision be improved and that additional civilian staff be hired to support officers in the detective division. But he added: "There are a few (recommendations) that will require more analysis by my staff, as we're not sure that they will fit into the context of policing Beverly Hills." He declined to elaborate.

"I've always been supportive of this audit because I knew that once the light was shown on our department, the whole world could see how truly excellent our department is," Iannone said.

One recommendation that is sure to become a contentious issue with the rank and file is the suggestion to streamline the pay bonuses that officers are eligible to receive. Currently, officers can increase their base pay up to 27.5% with bonuses given for fitness, education and assignments other than core patrol duties. The audit recommends tying the bonuses to annual job-performance appraisals.

The study also suggests some modification of the department's organizational structure and either eliminating or transferring 17 positions--13 of them sworn and four of them civilian. One of those 17 positions--a deputy chief's post--had already been eliminated when the audit was released. The man who had held the job, Ron Garner, was reassigned as director of emergency management.

The audit of the $18-million police department is part of a broader city management audit program under which all departments will be reviewed over the next several years.

When the City Council initiated the study, the police union, the Beverly Hills Police Officers' Assn., had criticized spending $100,000 on it.

Scott said the city will recoup the $100,000 cost of the police audit in the form of financial savings and the "societal" benefit of improved police service.

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