DCSS school police get graded

The Dougherty County School Board held a meeting Wednesday to discuss reports of the DCSS school police assessment. / File

The Dougherty County School Board held a meeting Wednesday to discuss reports of the DCSS school police assessment.

The school board requested an assessment team under a retired GBI agent come in and assess the effectiveness of the school system police department.

The report consists of an executive summary, an assessment overview, assessment goals and objectives, assessment process synopsis, and the interviews. It also includes the examination of policies, practices, and facilities. The most important area to the school board that the report includes is the problem areas.

During this process they interviewed all relevant DCSS administrators and DCSS board members. They also interviewed every police officer in the department and all of their equipment.

Officials said everyone interviewed in this process was positive and cooperative and they all wanted the best for this community.

In the productivity section of the report they found that from 2011-12 to 2012-13 there was a decrease in arrests by 36%. In 2012-13 the highest arrest total for a full time officer was 65 and the lowest was 4.

Since August 2006 the DCSSPD had referred 1,179 criminal cases for prosecution. The district attorney said the quality of cases was similar to other local police agencies.

All administrative files were found to be in a locked file cabinet which means they are maintained according to the procedures set forth by the chief. They also found that there is only one DCSSPD officer that maintains all things that fall under administration. This area was a great concern for the assessors; they feel that there needs to be way more than one person responsible for all of these tasks.

They discovered during the course of the interviews that the process of how the department does investigations is problematic. Officials said it seemed as if the investigators went into the cases with an end already in mind.

As far as evidence storage and security they secure property in rooms that deny unauthorized entry and provide a safe work environment. Assessors believe this is one of the most important areas in a police department and they said the DCSSPD storage facility was efficient.

Officials said this police department has very capable police officers and a very capable police chief but they did say there were things that need to be fixed and worked on.

Some of their major recommendations are:
1. Review, revise, and create DCSSPD policies and procedures to be current, relevant, and known to all agency personnel.
2. Establish formal policies for handling in house complaints and conducting internal investigations.
3. Abolish or reorganize the current rank structure to give supervisors actual managerial responsibilities with sufficient authority.
4. Delegate lines of authority with specific responsibilities, manageable spans of control, and certainty to whom officers directly report.

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