Local News

Survey Reveals Unhappy Side Of Raleigh Police Department

Posted December 2, 2003

— Trouble could be brewing within the ranks at Raleigh's police department.

The results of a recent survey show that many officers are not happy with how the department is run and that that they want changes.

Just more than one-third of the department's 700 members -- 239, to be exact -- responded to the survey conducted by the

Police Benevolent Association.

Many of those officers said the Raleigh Police Department has serious problems, and they directed blame right to the top: Chief Jane Perlov

Raleigh officers are seen every day apprehending suspects and investigating crime, going about their business as usual. But the survey taken last summer revealed an unhappy side of the force.

The Police Benevolent Association found deep concerns over morale, manpower and scheduling.

Ninety-three percent of Raleigh officers who responded to the survey judged morale as low. Sixty-five percent felt work schedules place officer safety at risk because they have very little backup during certain shifts.

Raleigh City Councilman Philip Isley, chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee, said he believes much of the discontent stems from a reluctance to change. Plus, he said, "some of the questions seemed to be loaded questions."

For instance, officers were asked to only agree or disagree with this statement: "The chief does not understand the burden carried by uniformed officers." Nevertheless, when asked to write their own words, officers still took aim at Perlov.

"The chief is remote from officers," one officer was quoted as saying.

Said another: "The chief has destroyed morale."

Referring to Perlov's New York roots, another officer said: "The chief is trying to turn Raleigh into the Little Apple."

"I don't take it personally," Perlov said. "It is all part of the job. It is all part of running a large organization.

"Change is very hard. I absolutely do not want to make this New York City. What I do and one of the ways I police is I look and see best practices all over the country."

Perlov said a committee of officers came up with the controversial schedule and that the city has the most officers in its history.

Perlov said morale is important but, ultimately, the job is about protecting the public.

"I'm thrilled to say that, even in these tough times, crime is down over six percent for the year," she said, "and murders are down 27 percent this year."

Members of the Police Benevolent Association were unavailable for comment Tuesday. They scheduled a press conference for Tuesday night to address the survey results.

Here are some other results from the survey:

On work conditions, 76 percent of the officers who responded said Perlov does not listen to their input.

Seventy-seven percent of the respondents said they do not believe the chief considers their best interest when implementing policies. Only 59 percent of the respondents said the department provides adequate training.

Perlov said she has had conversations -- and will continue to have conversations -- to try and resolve some of these differences with officers.

Isley, meanwhile, said officers' concerns are being heard.

"I truly believe, and my investigation has led me to the fact, that we are addressing all of the concerns in this study," Isley said.


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