Disposition Sheets Michael Morgovnik 3554 Getting FEEDBACK to Officers on the Street
Goals • Adapt current Court Disposition Sheet System so that officers find the dispositions of their arrests • Find out where system is breaking down and find a no-cost, simple solution • Assess in 6 months to see if system is up and running and what effect it is having on morale and quality of reports
WPLA Leader’s Problem Solving Model… I. IDENTIFY II. ANALYZE III. RESPOND IV. ASSESS (Feedback) WPLA Strategies
WPLA Strategies • Using a DWI arrest as an example of how the WLPA Strategies are applied by an officer making an arrest. • IDENTIFY • an officer Identifies a vehicle that has committed a traffic violation and makes contact with the driver • ANALYZE • the officer performs SFST’s and determines the driver is over the legal limit • RESPOND • the officer makes an arrest for DWI, transports the prisoner to jail and completes all paperwork, PC’s, etc.
Where is the Assessment?!? • ASSESS • the officer requires FEEDBACK from the County Attorney’s officer as to the outcome (disposition) of the case. • Currently, the officer is NOT getting this FEEDBACK!
IF YOU DON’T SOCIALIZE YOUR PEOPLE, SOMEBODY ELSE WILL! • If feedback is not coming from the Prosecutor’s office, officers will draw their own conclusions as to the outcome of their cases • “Well, he only blew a .14, so he wasn’t that drunk…I think we can work out probation…” • Prosecutor talking to Defense attorney….overheard in County Court • “The DWI charges were dropped by the County Attorney’s office, officer….do you know why…doesn’t that mean you had no reason to arrest my client?” • Defense attorney to Officer on the stand in a POCS trial. Drugs were discovered on passenger after Driver was arrested for DWI, Passenger arrested for PI
Outcome • Without Feedback, the officer has no way of knowing if he has been successful • while it can be argued that the officer was successful in getting a drunk off the streets, he does not know if the offender was prosecuted and what the penalty was for committing the DWI
Expectancy Theory and Officer’s Motivation to pursue DWI Arrests • Expectancy Theory • Expectancy - The Individuals belief that his or her efforts will lead to an acceptable level of performance (If I try, can I perform well?) • If I make a DWI arrest, will I get a conviction? • The arrest has made the street safer and possibly saved lives, but often Officers feel that they have no control over the outcome of a DWI case • Officers are not informed as to disposition of cases
INSTRUMENTALITY - Confidence that achieving that level of performance will result in a reward (If I perform well, will I get the reward?) • If I make a good stop, conduct SFST’s properly and write a clear and complete report, will I get a conviction? • Is the time I am investing in this arrest going to equal a conviction…should I do my best on this report? • Without feedback, officers do not know if they are writing effective reports and giving the County Prosecutor everything he needs to present a winnable case.
VALANCE - The conviction that the resulting reward has value to the individual (Do I really want it?) • Is the time and effort of putting together a good case (stop, report, paperwork) worth it?….YES! • Even if the driver is not convicted, I know that I have helped make the roads a little bit safer • BUT…a conviction would help motivate me. Knowing that the County Prosecutor and the Judge or Jury consider me a professional who has done his job to the best of his ability helps to reaffirm that I am making a difference to my community.
Follow the Disposition Sheets…. • Find the Weak Link • Disposition Sheets are sent along with the report and PC affidavit to the proper court (in the case of a DWI, to one of the County Courts). • After case is resolved, Prosecutor is responsible for completing Disposition Sheet • Disposition Sheet is sent to County Clerk’s Office • at Clerk’s office, Disposition is to be entered into computer system…currently County Attorney’s office is 2-3 YEARS behind in entering this information!
Disposition Sheets are then sent back to the Unit in which the case officer works • this is the problem…now that more and more cases are Direct Filed by Patrol Officers (and therefore not worked by a detective), there is not definitive ‘Unit’ to send these sheets to • At the Unit, a supplement is completed and entered into DEORS under original case number • Disposition Sheets for Direct Filed cases are sent to the Chem Lab, so that narcotics evidence can be destroyed. From the Chem Lab, Disposition Sheets are forwarded to the Unit that formerly was in charge of such cases (ie. DWI Dispositions are sent to the Traffic Office).
Units lack the manpower to enter the supplements or sort through the Disposition Sheets and forward them to the appropriate Platoon.
Solution…. • Manpower! (and/or Womanpower!) • My goal was to find a no cost solution, so creating an entry level position (or two or three or more) that is/are dedicated to the distribution of Disposition Sheets and/or entering that information into the DEORS system is not feasible. • Distribution of Resources • Using officers that are on Injury leave
Technology (and/or computer assisted artificial intelligence) • There is currently a plan to consolidate the computer systems being used by the County and District Courts so that everyone is on the same system and so that APD will have access to this system • don’t hold your breath….do I sound cynical?
Manpower and Technology! • I had hoped to find a way to utilize the new Corporal position and the city email system to facilitate the distribution of Disposition information. • PROBLEM--This would still require unavailable manpower, as someone would still have to sort through the individual Disposition Sheets and forward the information to Platoons…or Area Commands…either way, it’s too much work!
It’s all about who you know • While working on my solution, I had hoped to start small (with myself) and create a plan that could, over time, be expanded to include a larger group (my shift) and then slowly expanded to include an even larger group (my Area Command) and then slowly expanded to include the WHOLE CITY
Talking with some of the personnel who deal with Disposition Sheets, I was told that they could keep an eye out for my name (and my name alone) and try and forward the Disposition Sheets they come across with my name on them to me. • This was not a solution because it did not solve the problem for anyone else but me...
What did I learn? • Although I did not meet my goal of solving the Dilemma of the Disappearing Disposition Sheets, I did gain a better understanding of just how many people are involved in the day to day operations of the Department • I do believe that there is a solution, but at present, without resources (read: money and people) I fear this is a problem that will continue for a long time
Looking at the WPLA Model, it is obvious that this lack of Feedback for Officers on the street means that it is harder for Officers to learn from their mistakes and/or learn what elements are being required by the court system in this County to get specific crimes prosecuted