Crisis Staffing and Alternative Service Models
Law enforcement agencies regularly face major crises that disrupt the delivery of normal services. Civil unrest, disaster, major crimes, and other critical incidents create a temporary disruption that can effect public safety, create a negative perception of the agency, endanger agency personnel, and have other negative downstream effects that could have been mitigated beforehand. Part of the mitigation should include an analysis of the common factors that almost every critical incident shares, such as staffing reductions, equipment disruptions, calls-for-service overload, and unavailability of common community resources that law enforcement depends on during normal operations. The commonalities of crises should serve as the base for a permanent crisis staffing model. Agencies should adopt crisis planning into their permanent operating procedures and policies to more effectively manage critical incidents. Many agencies only handle crises and critical incidents as they occur, trying to create, manage, and communicate custom contingency planning as the event is unfolding. Adopting a holistic general pre-plan that addresses the commonalities and is part of the agency’s standing orders can make the agency much more effective at managing critical incidents, can build stakeholder confidence, and will better serve the community the agency protects.