The Lakeland Police Department is changing their beats to improve officer assignment and response flexibility. In the past, LPD utilized smaller single officer assigned beats. Two or three officers will be assigned to each of the new zones. LPD Lieutenant Jody Sisson, who participated in the remapping project, says the new beats allow officers to work together in between calls to target problem areas.
LPD splits the city into North and South districts. To reduce the radio chatter an officer hears, each district has its own dispatcher and radio channels. Emergency calls can be patched over both channels. The newly drawn beats are split into North: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and South: Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, and India.
LPD looked at crime statistics for the previous year and drew the districts to balance their calls for service. The beats were drawn to balance expected need and facilitate easy travel. The Echo beat is much smaller, but is patrolled 80% of the time by an office in a golf cart-like special purpose vehicle.
Sisson said finding the right boundary was challenging. The committee worked to use natural boundaries where possible, and paid attention to travel paths. For example, beat Foxtrot is split. A section appears to be a better fit with beat Hotel. Sisson said they found the area was better served as part of beat Foxtrot due to travel on Highway 92.
You can find a PDF version at the LPD media site.
Update: We’re going to put off making the interactive map until we can get a clearer PDF. If the Ledger creates one before that we’ll link you there.
The Lakeland Police Department media release follows:
The following information is also available at www.lpdonlinenews.com where a copy of the complete original media release is available, along with maps of the old and new zones.
Lakeland Police have recently concluded a six month study of the response times, personnel resource allocation, and zone configurations in the City of Lakeland with reference to dispatching of police calls. This study was done by a committee made up of sworn officers and civilians from within the Lakeland Police Department in an attempt to keep on top of the needs of the community as the city grows and changes over time.
The City of Lakeland is divided into two districts – one to the north of the downtown area, and one to the south. These two districts are then further divided into smaller geographical areas called zones. Over time the demographics of these zones had changed for many reasons such as: population increase/decrease, revitalization efforts, new business construction, new housing, and annexation.
After a period of time, these demographic changes can cause a change in the police services needed by an area. If personnel resource adjustments are not made to address these changes, the end result can be inefficient use of time and resources, and a lower quality of service to the community.
The committee first examined “calls for service” data to find out what areas received more calls for police service, at what time of day, and what type of calls. The district boundaries were then redrawn so that the number of calls to each district would be more balanced.
The current deployment system also had an officer assigned to each zone. The new deployment system utilizes the sector concept, otherwise known as “team policing”. With team policing, officers are not necessarily assigned to a specific zone, but can be assigned to more than one zone, or whatever area in the city that is the busiest. The zones will also now be identified phonetically, instead of by numbers.
There are examples attached of the districts before and after the change. It is believed that the new district reorganization will allow the Lakeland Police Department to operate more efficiently and provide better service to the citizens of Lakeland.
Note: Sisson noted that the media release was in error, and officers will work in specific zones.