Public safety staffing has not kept pace with our growth.
In 2015 the City of Sherwood commissioned a staffing study of the Sherwood Police Department and community desires as it relates to public safety. The recommendations were never acted on by the council and mayor at that time. Since that study, the population continues to rise, school enrollment is growing and dispatched police call volume is increasing, yet we still have the same number of officers that we had in 2007.
The 2015 study found that we were short staffed in these areas:
School Resource Officers
Evidence & Code Enforcement
The study was flawed and underestimated true need.
The Study used 2015 data without looking at previous years and trends. Call volume for 2015 was abnormally low compared to years before and after. (See Dispatched Calls Chart) Additionally, the study did not account for turnover which puts a significant training load on the department. For example, if you have two officers in training and you only have 17 approved positions, you have effectively reduced your capability by 14%.
Call volume (reactive work) load is rising with population growth.
Since 2015 call volume has risen 15% (the study year) and is up 20% since 2007. Additionally, the number of kids enrolled in our schools has increased 6% since 2010, and 20% since 2007. More calls means less time to patrol our neighborhoods. More kids in the schools make it more difficult for our only school resource officer to meet the needs of our schools and protect our kids.
Increasing reactive work, means less time for traffic enforcement.
The community is faced with the impact of growth without corresponding growth in public safety capacity. An increase in call volume, means officers have less time to do proactive patrolling and traffic enforcement. We are seeing symptoms of this problem. In 2014, we issued 753 speeding tickets, in 2017 we issued 498 speeding tickets, a 34% reduction. I think we can all agree that speeding is still a problem in our neighborhoods. Patrol Officers spending more and more time dealing with calls, as opposed to proactive patrols is having a demonstrable impact.
Staffing Compared to Surrounding Cities
Sherwood has 11.73. sworn officers for every 10,000 residents. Our closest neighbors have significantly more, Tigard has 14.83 , Tualatin has 14.05 , and Newberg has 12.83. If Sherwood was staffed at the same levels as Tualatin we would have 3 Additional Officers.
The public agrees
In a 2015 survey, the public ranked patrol officers, detectives, and school resources as the top three additional resources needed in our community. The rankings revealed that only a small number of citizens felt we did not need to take any action when it comes to additional resources for public safety.
Why do we need more public safety resources by the numbers:
Officers are spending less time patrolling our neighborhoods as call volume has increased since 2007
We have the same number of officers in 2017 that we had in 2007
Overall Population has increased 20% since 2007
The ratio of overall population per Officer has increased 20% to 1:1158 since 2007
The number of dispatched calls has grown 20% to 5830 since 2010
We only have one School Resource Officer (SRO) for the entire school district (1:5136 ratio)
Sherwood schools population has grown 22% (to 5136 students) since 2007
SRO is spending time on enforcement, educational opportunities for K-8 are being missed.
School Population is growing faster than overall population, 22% vs. 20%
There is a strong argument that we need additional patrol officers, school resource officers, and detectives.