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Back to Archives | Back to July 2012 Contents 

Time Efficiency over Quotas: Program Measures and Balances Public Safety Productivity

By Colonel John Born, Superintendent, Ohio State Highway Patrol


TEV Directly Contributes to a
Safer Ohio
Going back to that snowy night on December 17, 2011, in Cambridge, Ohio, the furthest thing from the mind of Lance Morrison as he was with his family and almost home from a fun-filled holiday was that their lives were in significant jeopardy. There was a dangerous criminal—an impaired driver whose BAC was three times over the state’s limit—barreling toward them in the wrong direction of a four-lane road that Morrison had driven his entire life.

The sight of blue emergency lights in the distance allowed the family the chance to survive an encounter that certainly would have led to tragedy on an unimaginable scale for him, his fiancée, and their three-month-old child—a tragedy that would have affected their family, friends, and an entire community.

Three lives were saved that night by a willing caller and an OSHP trooper. The fact that the trooper and his post supervisors understood the OSHP’s time-resource relationship facilitated the deployment of the trooper to intercept this dangerous driver. This incident demonstrates the real, life-saving application of efficiency that creates balance between time and resources, providing a most important opportunity to save three lives.

That is how TEV directly contributes to a safer Ohio and can do the same for your agency.

For more information on the OSHP’s TEV Program, email Staff Lieutenant Mike Crispen at ecrispen@dps.state.oh.us.

ecember 17, 2011, was a snowy night in the eastern Ohio city of Cambridge. Changing weather and driving conditions were leading to multiple injury crashes. That night, Lance Morrison, his fiancée, and their three-month-old child were fewer than five minutes from home after enjoying a family day of holiday shopping. Unbeknownst to them, driving in the wrong direction in the far left lane of a four-lane roadway was a multiple-OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the Influence) offender. A frantic 9-1-1 call placed two minutes earlier had alerted the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) to this criminal driver.

As a nearby state trooper traveled toward the location of the offender, the 9-1-1 caller described in vivid detail the dangerous driving and near crashes caused by the impaired motorist.

Under diminishing driving visibility, and literally seconds before what would have been a multiple-fatality crash caused by this impaired driver, the Ohio trooper activated his blue emergency light bar, which alerted Morrison to the danger and provided him the opportunity to narrowly evade the oncoming wrong-way vehicle.

The impaired driver was stopped moments later, was arrested, and tested at more than three times Ohio’s legal bloodalcohol concentration (BAC) limit. More importantly, Morrison and his family were able to share the Christmas holiday together.


More Efficient Work for Safer Communities

Being in the right place at the right time to save lives, and getting the most productivity out of every officer, is a constant challenge for law enforcement managers.

With an approximate 10 percent reduction in its workforce, the OSHP has achieved a more productive organization, which has directly resulted in safer communities and lives saved. The year 2011 saw an all-time state record for the fewest traffic fatalities in Ohio; significant increases in enforcement activity, including OVI arrests; and incredible successes in criminal patrol and drug interdiction efforts—again, all with a decreased workforce.

In an era when agencies are seeing fewer resources and increased crime and traffic concerns, the OSHP, like every other agency, has had to find ways to ensure it is as efficient with its unobligated time as possible. Law enforcement must respond to calls because it is founded on public service, but for decades, agencies have attempted to improve their efforts when service calls are not coming in—that is, during unobligated time. Unlike the private sector industry whose goals are to create profits, law enforcement’s goals are to enhance safety with proactive programs geared at prevention. When the private sector establishes minimum standards for their employees, these standards are expected; when law enforcement sets minimum standards for its employees, expectations have often been negatively branded as quotas. This has been a dilemma for law enforcement managers for decades.

It is widely accepted that quotas are both unethical and ineffective for traffic safety. Quotas might cause officers to write citations for the sake of meeting an established number rather than focus on prevention through targeted enforcement directed at crash-causing violations. While officers being visible, stopping cars, and exercising attentiveness during unobligated time reduces both traffic crashes and crime, the law enforcement community has heard from the public that quotas as a measure of an officer’s diligence are unacceptable. So the question remains, how does a law enforcement agency measure an officer’s diligence or work ethic without setting an expected number of citations to write or cars to stop, thereby being accused of setting quotas?

As stated, the OSHP achieved a more productive workforce in 2011 despite the 10 percent reduction in force and resources. The key to organizational success in 2011 was twofold: A philosophical shift in mission and the implementation of a new statewide efficiency standard. During current economic times and worldwide unrest, law enforcement officers are expected to be more diligent to prevent crimes and terrorist acts against citizens. As a result, the OSHP adjusted its mission. Traffic safety traditionally had been its primary focus, but, in 2011, criminal patrol (crime enforcement) efforts were elevated to the same status as traffic safety. The results of that philosophical shift speak for themselves. In 2011, criminal patrol officers seized 5,823,085 grams of illegal narcotics valued at more than $69 million; made 6,131 drug arrests, which totaled 488 (9 percent) more drug arrests than in 2010; and achieved in 2011 increases over the previous year in every significant category of drug seizures, including a 47 percent increase in seized heroin. The OSHP, as partners in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, has assisted in the deterrence of major terrorist plots and has been active in investigating and prosecuting the rising problems of human trafficking and identity theft.

With this shift in philosophy, the OSHP still managed to improve traffic safety efforts in 2011, effecting 23,704 OVI arrests, which was 1,637 (7 percent) more OVI arrests than the previous year and demonstrating a direct correlation between the increased emphasis on OVI arrests and the decrease in OVI-related fatal crashes. Preliminary statistics indicate in 2011 there were 348 OVI-related fatal traffic crashes that killed 375 people. This is 75 (18 percent) fewer OVI-related fatal crashes than occurred in 2010. This is tangible proof of the connection between traffic enforcement operations and lives saved.

Morrison and his family are three lives saved. This is one example of how being visible, stopping cars, and being diligent reduces traffic crashes and crime.


Time Efficiency Value Program

With this increased emphasis on criminal patrol and a continued expectation to reduce traffic fatalities, troopers were asked to do more with a reduced force. The OSHP troopers’ dedication makes them a first line of defense against drug couriers, wanted felons, and those who would undermine the moral foundations of society. To ensure limited resources were properly deployed in 2011, the OSHP instituted a time efficiency value (TEV) program that directly contributed to organizational successes and allowed every sworn officer to contribute to a safer Ohio. The TEV program was focused on being more efficient with time while simultaneously setting an expected standard for officer diligence during unobligated time.

Evaluation of the TEV program during its first six months of operation (July through December 2011) revealed a statewide efficiency and accountability improvement of 23 percent for the fourth quarter of the year.

The OSHP in 2011 was structured in 10 districts, and every district saw dramatic efficiency and accountability improvement during this time period. Incredibly, 66 percent of its field units were within the expected TEV range by the end of 2011.

To continue to make Ohio’s roads safer and the job of the trooper more balanced, the TEV program ensures troopers are deployed in the most efficient manner possible. At the most fundamental level, this efficiency provides a proper balance for the trooper and the organization and leads to greater effectiveness.

The TEV program was developed following the examples of many companies in the private sector. Managing and balancing time efficiently has been a key component to all successful organizations in the United States. Organizations such as Adena Health System, Kenworth Truck Manufacturing, Cleveland’s MetroHealth, UPS, and portions of the auto industry all measure the efficiency of their employees’ time.

Combining their experiences with OSHP studies, the OSHP developed a program that measures time in order to create efficiency and balance in the daily operations of troopers. The purpose of this program is to ensure the OSHP is a good steward of the people’s money and its resources. Troopers on the road can provide the information necessary for success, which is why the TEV program is a peer-based, trooper-driven system.

Looking at the various private sector industries that measure time efficiency, it became apparent to the OSHP that while there was a need to develop a program that made the agency more efficient, there was also a need to ensure this program provided a better balance in the lives of OSHP employees. If law enforcement could establish a minimum standard of efficiency and ensure everyone met those standards, it could deploy resources to problem areas without overtaxing officers. The benefit of this program is that when everyone is working to capacity, the workforce is more efficient and forced overtime can begin to be reduced. This philosophy will help create a more predictable day in a world where predictability is at a minimum.

In an ABC News report, Brian Rooney reported, “Efficiency is everything for United Parcel Service [UPS]. Save time, space and money, and get there when promised.” 1 Efficiency standards, like that of the UPS, will result in the OSHP being present, as promised, and increasing its public service value. The UPS has a more predictable day than law enforcement could ever imagine, and, as a result, OSHP research moved to the health care industry whose days are more unpredictable, especially in the emergency room setting. Mark Shuter, chief executive officer of Adena Heath System, indicated Adena uses a system that is widely utilized throughout the private sector and in some public sectors called Lean Six Sigma. In this program, the Adena Health System uses the business management strategy Six Sigma and the Lean system—a set of tools used to identify and eliminate nonessential steps in the business process to streamline production, improve quality, and gain customer loyalty—to improve the overall efficiency and the customer satisfaction of the organization.

Following this model, the OSHP implemented the TEV program after identifying the need to eliminate excess, nonproductive time during troopers’ unobligated portions of the day. This unobligated time is where the OSHP needs to improve overall productivity in conjunction with its being more efficient during obligated times (that is, service calls and incidents), which ultimately will improve the OSHP’s public service value.


Units of Service Expectations

The OSHP, like many other agencies, uses a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, which allows the organization to track troopers’ time every minute of the workday. As a result, the OSHP was able to identify efficiency standards for troopers based upon what the average was for all incidents across the state in 2010. In the private sector, the terminology for this is units of service expectation. Units of service expectations are the amount of time it takes as a standard to accomplish given tasks. Much like doctors in the emergency room environment, the OSHP realizes not every incident is the same as the last, but on average and over a long period, the time it takes to handle these tasks should be fairly similar. Therefore, it is reasonable to establish a standard of expectation based upon these averages. Some crash scene investigations will take longer than others, but the average—a three-month period—is well within range of the 2010 statewide average. These units of service expectation will be evaluated further each year to ensure the OSHP is as accurate as it is efficient with the TEV program.

After establishing units of service expectations for each type of incident handled, it was simple to apply these factors to each incident per trooper, allowing the OSHP to determine an efficiency rating for each officer. This efficiency rating is the total of the productivity of troopers’ work measured against the established efficiency standard and measures only half of what troopers do during obligated times.

To ensure troopers are being as diligent as expected during unobligated times, the TEV program tabulates in the CAD all unobligated time to determine the ratio between efficiency during obligated time and total unobligated time. The dual advantage of this system is that troopers are encouraged to be as efficient as possible on calls or incidents while simultaneously being encouraged to be as proactive as possible during unobligated time. The final product of this report provides four statistics:

  • The TEV
  • The Crash Efficiency Value
  • The Case Efficiency Value
  • The Proactive Efficiency Value

The TEV is the final product of much research into the private sector systems, along with tailoring OSHP expectations to the trooper’s work environment. This value represents the average time every hour that a trooper has been producing mission-oriented activity. Since patrolling and looking for crime or traffic violations cannot be measured as a calculated work statistic (such as how many crashes, case investigations, educational programs, and so on), it is not reasonable to expect a rating of 60 minutes out of 60 minutes. However, it is reasonable to expect troopers to accomplish some mission-oriented task one-third of their time or 20 minutes out of every hour. This is the bar that has been set for all troopers. While it is certainly understood that patrolling and being visible contributes to a safer Ohio, it is not and cannot be the only focus of troopers during their unobligated time. As mentioned, this 20-minute expectation has been achieved now by 66 percent of the OSHP. The focus is not on how many citations have been written but on how many mission-oriented tasks have been completed overall to contribute to a safer Ohio.

Figure 1: Time Efficiency Value Report
3/1/2011 Midnight to 6/1/2011 Midnight
Post
OfficerTEVCrash
TEV
Case
TEV
PEV
 30.311.411.15104
 18.973.643.33205
 32.642.191.37204
 22.962.234.46482
 27.152.351.80451
 24.882.622.26251
     
 22.28 2.072.99147
 17.300.500.8437
 23.160.682.02185
     
 22.713.339.2484
 19.24 3.18 2.99297
The crash and case efficiency values compose a report indicating how efficiently troopers handle their crash and case investigations, on average. The expectation is 2 hours, 30 minutes (or 150 minutes, total) for each case or crash handled. The CAD program indicates troopers average 88 minutes handling a crash from the time they are dispatched to the crash until they clear it. Included in the 2 hours, 30 minutes is any follow-up investigation that may be necessary. Therefore, the report will flag any officer who is over the 2 hours, 30 minutes mark and will require supervision to determine if the problem stems from inefficiency or a lack of education. The same applies to a criminal case investigation.

The final product on the TEV report is the Proactive Efficiency Value—a redacted chart is attached without any identifying information (see figure 1). This is a product of all officer-initiated traffic stops where the trooper saw a violation and took some form of action, whether enforcement or warning. It does not include incidents where an officer was dispatched, but rather those incidents on which the officer chose to take action. Troopers are advised that the best means by which to improve their TEV is to be more proactive during their unobligated time. The reduction in troopers’ unobligated time and subsequent elevation of their TEV are directly proportional to the reduction in crime and crash statistics. This direction eliminates waste and builds capacity into the organization to make Ohio a safer place.

TEV is not about working faster. The vast majority of troopers are working at capacity. These standards are determining how OSHP resources are deployed.

TEV is essential to answering the question for every state trooper, “What will you do today to contribute to a safer Ohio?”2 The answer to that question lies in maintaining quality and efficiency standards that provide the best service to the state of Ohio and that allow OSHP agency’s leadership to deploy resources in a more effective manner, thereby saving more lives and reducing crime. ♦


Notes:

1Rooney, Brian, “UPS Figures Out the ‘Right Way’ to Save Money, Time, and Gas,” ABC News (April 4, 2007), http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=3005890&page=1#.T7KIJOirTnE (accessed May 15, 2012).
2“Trooper Shield,” Ohio State HighwayPatrol, http://statepatrol.ohio.gov/shield.stm (accessed May 16, 2012).


Please cite as:

John Born, "Time Efficiency over Quotas: Program Measures and Balances Public Safety Productivity," The Police Chief 79 (July 2012): 34–37.

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXIX, no. 7, July 2012. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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