Carnegie police chief says surveys of officers beneficial
Carnegie police want to ensure they’re doing the best job they can.
So they’re asking the people they serve to weigh in on how they did after a call.
In June, Carnegie police Chief Jeffrey Kennedy began sending surveys each week to four people whom officers had assisted in an effort to determine how the department performed in the eyes of the public.
“It’s a learning tool for both me and the officers to see what we’re doing good and what we’re doing bad,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy and Carnegie Mayor Stacie Riley discussed how private organizations — such as hospitals — send out surveys to determine how their employees performed on the job.
“We said, ‘Why not do that for public employees?’ ” he said.
Kennedy chooses cases at random and rotates through the officers to determine who is sent a survey. There are 13 full-time officers in the Carnegie Police Department, including Kennedy.
All case types are fair game for the survey, except ones that ended in an arrest.
The survey asks six yes-or-no questions that include “Was the officer professional throughout your encounter?” “Was the officer knowledgeable?” and “Did the officer treat you with respect?”
Respondents can offer additional comments on their interactions with an officer. Providing their name is optional.
The surveys are mailed, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope for their return.
About 25% of the surveys have been returned, all with positive feedback, Kennedy said.
The officer who was on the case gets a copy of the returned survey.
It “lets him or her know how the public perceives how they’re doing,” Kennedy said. “I think the officers themselves will like it. They will get to see what they’re doing right, and the majority of officers want to get it right.”
The surveys will not be used to justify punishment for the officers, he said, but will be a learning tool for improvement where it is needed.
Borough council, too, will benefit from getting to see how the public perceives the police department.
“The Carnegie Police Department prides itself on doing the right thing in the right way and for the right reasons,” Riley told council members at their June 10 meeting while talking about the surveys.
“Chief Kennedy and I hold our officers to the highest level of professionalism, conducting business in an honest, compassionate and efficient manner, while adhering to a higher standard of personal conduct and decency,” she said. “We believe that this is good all around, and we look forward to the feedback that we will receive.”
Kennedy said he plans to continue the surveys as long as there’s a benefit.