Last year, the Fort Lauderdale police chief was at risk of losing his job. Crime rates had spiked and morale was drooping because vacancies were going unfilled in the patrol and detective ranks, as well as in the department’s record-keeping division. With crime rising 18 percent over 2004 levels in the first four months of 2005, last summer the city manager looked at the numbers and decided that something had to be done. And it was. Six months after the city received a report sharply critical of its police department, crime was down 5 percent, and the department had made significant progress toward addressing the criticisms outlined by its consultants, reports the Miami Herald.
Now, Police Chief Bruce Roberts’ job is no longer on the line, in part because of the work done to tackle some of the department’s biggest problems: filling vacancies, restructuring the command staff, and becoming more nimble in addressing crime trends. Since the damning report, the department has hired 80 new officers; reinstituted six lieutenant positions, which restored more oversight of patrol officers; added an evening detective shift, and refocused on crime-trend analysis.