Productivity analysis for basic police patrol activities

Police practice: productivity analysis for basic police patrol activities

Roy H. Herndon, III

Law enforcement officers prove valuable to their communities in a variety of ways, not all of which can be measured easily. To this end, agencies often struggle to find methods to fairly evaluate their personnel. Departments must give factors, such as officer competence and courtesy, appropriate weight. Managers need to value the quality of the tasks performed and not focus only on the quantity.

However, fully and accurately evaluating personnel does require a fair measurement of productivity. “Understandably … law enforcement organizations do not condone ‘quotas’ …. Rather, each agency does have certain expected levels of performance that they attempt to monitor officers’ performance by. The key is in developing some realistic measurement devices that will substantiate that the officer is working and that this work is meaningful to the community.” (1) While departments must avoid mandating specific numbers for performance criteria, they still can gauge an officer’s productivity by analyzing certain measurable activities related to the job. This then can provide useful insight for incorporation into the employee’s overall evaluation.


The Conway, Arkansas, Police Department has a system in place to conduct quantitative, employable measures of its officers’ performance. Further, it has found that in response to fair and meaningful evaluation, its personnel strive for higher standards. “When employees feel their hard work counts for something, they strive to do their best.” (2)


Daily Activity Report

The officer’s daily activity report collects the raw data for eventual use in the monthly productivity analysis report for the shift. The information is divided into two control areas: 1) items that the employee has no control over (e.g., assignments from dispatchers, such as calls for service, incident reports taken, accidents worked, and alarms responded to) and 2) areas that the officer has total control over (e.g., contacts with citizens or violators, citations written, warnings issued, and arrests made). Each agency can make its own assessment of which functions fit into each category and design its daily report accordingly. By examining these two control areas, departments can analyze an officer’s activities and compare them with the time afforded the individual to perform those duties.

In the daily activity report used by the Conway Police Department, the “criminal arrest” and “traffic arrest” sections represent the total control area, while “reports and calls” pertains to the no-control category. The “hours spent” portion reveals the total number of hours available for police patrol functions. Agencies must ensure that they retain documentation of every call and activity. The Conway Police Department keeps warnings in writing and records miscellaneous other calls in the narrative area of the daily report. Then, the items can be compared with the dispatch log to verify that personnel did not miss or drop any calls or attempt to pad their statistics with fictional activities. While it may seem time consuming to verify each officer’s daily report, this task requires only a small portion of the shift commander’s day.

Monthly Activity Report

The officer’s monthly activity report lists, by day, the totals from each section of the daily reports. Hours scheduled on duty usually will equal 40 per week, on 8- or 10-hour shifts, totaling between 160 to 190 per month. The number of hours available for police patrol activities equals those scheduled on duty minus those spent on detail. Departments may differ on what constitutes time on detail; the key is to apply a uniform standard for all personnel. The Conway Police Department considers time on detail as any activity that takes the officer away from normal patrol functions during the scheduled work day, excluding meal and rest breaks as officers remain subject to call at these times. Leave falls within this category and sick time is tracked separately to guard against possible abuse.

All items in the officer’s monthly report are totaled at the bottom. This information then becomes used in the monthly productivity analysis report for the shift.


Monthly Productivity Analysis Report

The monthly productivity analysis report for the shift allows the supervisor to clearly see areas of interest and make comparisons of individual performance against overall shift averages (and never against those of another officer). Supervisors can use this analysis to encourage employees to strive for the shift averages or to commend an officer for exceeding them. Over time, continued high or low performance levels will reflect in the employee’s appraisal, and the manager will have ample documentation to support the rating.

Also, because of the differences and variables, agencies should not make comparisons between the shifts. Departments should compare shift averages only with those of the division, and they must consider the differences between the shifts and any specialty sections (e.g., traffic reconstruction, motorcycle, or code enforcement). This allows for a broad analysis for the entire division.

Upon analysis of the data, several items immediately stand out in the “total” row. These include miles driven by the shift; enforcement activities for the month (e.g., citations, arrests, or warnings); calls for service (e.g., accidents worked or incidents reported); number of scheduled work hours; and those spent on patrol and on detail. The “average” row at the bottom of the report reflects the shift average for each item.

The “average” column at the right side of the report reflects each officer’s ratio for activities performed compared with the amount of time available to accomplish those functions; this serves as the foundation through which managers can determine productivity levels for each employee. Departments can calculate this ratio by adding the number of enforcement activities to total calls for service and then dividing that sum by the number of hours worked. Then, managers can see how employee performance compares with ideal standards.

Formula for Determining an Officer or Shift Ratio

Enforcement activities (354) + Calls for service (666) = Total patrol activities (1,020)/Hours worked (1,430) = Ratio (.72)

Annual Reports

After collecting and documenting sufficient data in the monthly productivity analysis reports, departments can consolidate them into an annual report for submission to the division commander and, ultimately, to the chief of police. As annual reports accumulate, long-term analysis of this information will reflect trends and provide insight to help managers identify community problems or areas in need of improvement.


The value of officers is not always easily measured. Certainly, desired qualities, such as integrity and bravery, do not show up in a productivity report. But, some measurable performance standards must exist. These enable supervisors “to bring sanity, fairness, and consistency to supervisory tasks, enhance performance levels, and make promotions, awards, and disciplinary actions fair.” (3)

The Conway Police Department uses a method that allows for objective measures of officer productivity. The agency has found that the system not only provides a solid foundation on which to base its employee ratings but also motivates its personnel to continue to improve in response to a fair and meaningful performance evaluation system.

Police Department Officer’s Daily Activity Report

T.Jones 1357 03-01-04 51

Officer Badge No. Date District

4063 12 16758 16800 42

Unit Spike Odometer Reading Total Miles

Others Logged/Notes:

1) Alarm call: 1416 Willow Street–false, human error

2) Alarm call: 1201 Oak Street–false, mechanical

3) Traffic assist: Salem Road and Prince Street

4) Road hazard: U.S. Highway 64 and 65 split–pipe in roadway

5) VIN assist @ P.D.

6) Visit with a citizen at the station

Police Department Officer’s Daily Activity Report

Criminal Arrest

Felony 0 Misdemeanor 2

Traffic Arrest

DWI 0 Warning 11

Moving 4 Nonmoving 2

Reports and Calls

Accidents 2 Incidents 3 Other 6

Hours Spent

Scheduled 10 On Details: Court 2

on Duty

Others Logged/Notes:

1) Alarm call: 1416 Willow Street–false, human error

2) Alarm call: 1201 Oak Street–false, mechanical

3) Traffic assist: Salem Road and Prince Street

4) Road hazard: U.S. Highway 64 and 65 split–pipe in roadway

5) VIN assist @ P.D.

6) Visit with a citizen at the station

Monthly Productivity Analysis Report by Shift

Officer Miles Felony Misdemeanor DWI Moving Nonmoving

Driven Arrests Arrests Citations Citations

Allen 450 1 0 0 7 1

Brady 578 0 0 0 16 11

Clark 731 4 5 0 4 9

Davis 629 1 2 0 4 0

Evans 568 2 2 0 5 3

Fitzgerald 949 5 14 0 2 15

Gill 635 1 6 0 2 10

Hardy 715 1 5 0 2 7

Lewis 822 0 1 1 5 12

Martin 508 2 4 0 2 10

Taylor 192 1 0 0 5 1

Yates 847 0 3 0 5 10

Column 7624 18 42 1 59 89


Average 635.33 1.5 3.5 0.1 4.9 7.4

Officer Warning Enforcement Accident Incident Other

Tickets Services Reports Reports Calls

Allen 4 13 0 14 16

Brady 6 33 3 22 55

Clark 16 38 5 30 26

Davis 22 29 5 19 20

Evans 15 27 2 26 36

Fitzgerald 10 46 6 36 17

Gill 10 29 3 42 44

Hardy 25 40 3 22 33

Lewis 13 32 8 27 16

Martin 9 27 4 35 21

Taylor 3 10 4 19 20

Yates 12 30 5 18 4

Column 145 354 48 310 308


Average 12 29.5 4 26 26

Officer Total Total Hours Hours on Hours Average

Service Hours of Detail Worked

Calls Sick (e.g.,

Time Court,

Used Vacation)

Allen 30 160 0 82 78 0.551

Brady 80 160 0 53 107 1.056

Clark 61 160 0 36 124 0.798

Davis 44 160 16 21 123 0.593

Evans 64 160 0 8 152 0.599

Fitzgerald 59 160 0 10 150 0.700

Gill 89 160 0 31 129 0.915

Hardy 58 160 8 31 121 0.810

Lewis 51 160 0 21 139 0.597

Martin 60 160 8 19 133 0.654

Taylor 43 160 0 96 64 0.828

Yates 27 160 0 50 110 0.518

Column 666 1920 32 458 1430 8.62


Average 55.5 160 2.7 38.2 119 0.72

Conway Police Department Ratio Standards

Substandard — Below .50

Average — .50 to .65

Above average — .66 to .80

Excellent — .81 to 1.0

Outstanding — Above 1.0


(1) Mike Mashburn, “14 Points,” CJI Management Briefs 4, no. 3, sec. 11 (1999): 1-3.

(2) Michael Kramer, “Designing an Individualized Performance Evaluation System: A Values-Based Process,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 1998, 20-26.

(3) Tony Jones, “Developing Performance Standards,” Law and Order, July 1998, 109-112.

Lieutenant Herndon serves with the Conway, Arkansas, Police Department.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Federal Bureau of Investigation

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group