The organization of the Rochester Police Department will change from a two-section model -- one on each side of the city -- to a five-section decentralized model in the not-too-distant future. The change will be gradual, with the department "reorganizing in place" over the next couple of years to test the new model. The phase-in approach will also limit capital expenses, at least in the beginning, officials say.
City Council members got a brief look at the plan during a workshop session yesterday. And Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief Mike Ciminelli will announce the changes to the public at an 11 a.m. press conference today.
The purpose of the reorganization is to strengthen the relationships between police and the community. Officers would be able to take ownership of their beats, Ciminelli said during the workshop, and build relationships with neighborhoods.
Left unaddressed at the meeting is how the police contract factors into the reorganization -- a significant issue -- costs, and what staffing will be required under the new model. Ciminelli did say that more command staff will be needed.
The downtown section will be expanded under the new model, but remain in the Sibley building. Additional police cars may be needed, too, because officers' beats would be smaller.
Mayor Warren said that initially, the RPD will use its three existing buildings -- the two primary sections and the smaller downtown station -- to test the new model. Car beats will be established, and staff will be realigned according to the new organization. Doing this will allow some portion of the reorganization to begin almost immediately, said Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon, and limit upfront capital expenses.
A more detailed report that includes staffing details is due next month.