Completing a survey: Why bother?
By Samantha Dorm
At that point, no one in our area was really talking about gang activity and certainly hadn’t expressed a need for funding to combat an unknown problem. Fortunately, I was able to help coordinate a county-wide response to the survey on behalf of over twenty law enforcement agencies. Their responses resulted in thousands of dollars for gang prevention, intervention and suppression activities.
Today, I was reading an audit report from the Department of Justice regarding the distribution of Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds for a regional initiative, to be managed by a designated agency. The report stated that not every police department within the region received funding from the regional grant.
Often this type of statement quickly turns into accusations of a conspiracy or something “political” when it seems as though only certain departments receive funding. I’ve been in many meetings in which the discussion leaned towards favoritism, and although I will acknowledge that such things may have happened in the past, the response to this statement was simple:
A survey was sent to each of the police departments within the designated region asking them to identify their needs for equipment, vehicles, ballistic vests, and training. Many departments did not respond to the survey.
A quick scan of the report shows that the departments that completed the survey benefitted greatly from this regional effort.
So where do the surveys land in your department? Is anyone taking them seriously, or are they simply going through the motions of typing something on the dotted line? How many surveys end up in the circular file (i.e. trash can)?
Surveys asking about issues and the needs of the department often provide a framework for budgetary planning. An informal survey could be something as simple as the Captain sending out an email to the Lieutenants asking for input on their divisions needs.
Don’t let your officers lose out. Take a moment to answer the questions because you might be surprised by the results.
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