Clarkesville, Maryland – Many police agencies across the country have felt the sting of budget restrictions dating back to the housing crisis of 2007.
Economists have long since established that we are clear of that recession with the private sector showing steady growth for the past several years.
Some police agencies have had to resort to innovative ways to supplement their already strained budgets.
This example of thinking outside the box can be found with the Officers of Clarkesville.
Several City Managers were contacted for this article but refused contact.
A committee is formed
Coming down to their last pennies for the upcoming fiscal year, the Police Chief and his staff decided enough was enough. They did what all great leadership teams do in a crisis that requires immediate attention for its officers.
Form a committee.
Some officers and members of the community were not pleased with this approach. Many thought that the Chief and his staff were merely absolving themselves from making a decision or being held accountable.
When asked about these concerns, Chief Bunion responded, “I needed a break from making all of these decisions. I thought that by forming a committee it would enable partnerships to grow among the group which in turn would develop partnerships with the community.”
“Partnerships are very important,” said the Chief, “everyone wins when we foster or even mention the word partnership”.
After a month of secret meetings by the committee, an answer to the budget crisis was reached.
Discount lawn care.
Here’s how it worked.
Every officer would be equipped with essential lawn care equipment as part of their assigned gear. While patrolling their district, officers would locate those property’s that were in much need of lawn care.
The officer was given a generic script that in part followed this format;
The officer would make contact with the property owner under the guise of community policing. After initiating contact, the officer would offer to cut the grass, weed etc. for a discounted price.
Or get a summons.
Remarkably, the conversion rate on each sale was around 99 percent.
6 months after implementing the program, the committee met to see if their new “community policing” initiative was working.
It was working beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
Even the officers who hate community policing were beginning to believe in the new program.
“At first I was skeptical,” said Officer Blankenship.
“I quickly learned that this new program killed two birds with one stone,” Blankenship quipped,“I get to make the City some extra money and I can get credit for doing community policing.”
Officer Pennywise further reiterated,“yeah, I have to do 3 times the work than before but the 1 percent they let me pocket is nice”. “I only need to do 200 more lawns and I can put a nice down payment on that used F-350 that I want!”
Because of the success of this new program, another committee has been formed to explore other business ventures that can be exploited by the City of Clarkesville.
One of the new ideas being discussed is certifying each officer as a barber….