The city Inspector General says nearly 300 positions in the police department, currently occupied by sworn officers, should be converted to civilian positions, a move that he says would save the city as much as $16.6 million a year.
Inspector general Joseph Ferguson says out of 370 positions reviewed by his office, 292 could be filled by civilian workers. Ferguson says he found officers performing “purely administrative tasks” such as travel arrangements, data entry, graphic design, timekeeping, grant writing, even nursing.
“The City has a variety of options for civilianizing these positions,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Doing so would not only save the City money, but it would allow CPD to redeploy these and possibly other sworn officers to other high priority missions.”
Ferguson said using trained police officers “to arrange travel or handle media requests doesn’t comport with best practices or common sense.”
The Inspector General said even if the replacement civilians received the same salary, the City would achieve savings in the higher benefits sworn officers receive.
Police Department Chief of Staff Constantine Miniotis wrote Ferguson in response, that the Department is committed to civilianizing positions when possible. But he cautioned that not all jobs can be equally traded between a civilian and a police officer.
“CPD will take these suggestions under advisement as it continues its ongoing analysis of what positions should be civilianized,” Miniotis wrote, citing numerous areas, from body removal, to detention aides, and even staff in the ballistics lab where civilians are already being utilized.
“It is undisputed that civilian employees are less costly than sworn officers,” Miniotis wrote. But he cautioned that there are some areas where police officers bring “special skills, knowledge, and abilities brought forth by field operational experience.”