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Police forging a path for the future

The Duluth Police Department command staff. Back row from left, Lt. Tim Jazdzewski, Lt. Jeff Kazel, Lt. Robin Roeser, Lt. Brad Wick, Lt. Andy Mickus, Lt. Chad Nagorski, Lt. Bob Shene. Front row from left: records and technology manager Maya Carroll, Lt. Mike Ceynowa, Deputy Chief Laura Marquardt, Chief Mike Tusken, Deputy Chief Nick Lukovsky, Lt. Pete Stauber, Lt. Dan Chicos and executive assistant Lynn Rosandich. (Photo submitted)

Back in February, shortly after Chief Ramsay's retirement from the Duluth Police Department, I wrote for the Budgeteer and reported all staff were engaged in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) assessment. Nearly 200 employees were interviewed and shared their perspectives on what is working and what is not. We welcomed feedback on how to capitalize on our strengths while working to mitigate our liabilities.

The process was invaluable to empower employees to have a voice in their organization's future during an uncertain time of change in leadership. This process served as part one in my vision for strategic planning. At the time, we did not know who the chief of police would be, but we knew the strength of our collective voices would not be ignored no matter who was selected.

Shortly after my appointment as chief, I began the search to find a professional consultant to facilitate, organize and construct a professional 3-5 year strategic plan. Historically, DPD has not enlisted the help of a consultant for strategic planning. To shift this paradigm and justify the expense, I needed to look no further than the budget.

DPD accounts for $21 million of the city's $82 million operating budget, or 25 percent. Therefore, it is reasonable to pay for a professional planning process to ensure we are delivering the best possible service. We selected a consultant who has created strategic plans for law enforcement agencies and comes highly regarded.

With the consultant in place, we are now officially commencing the strategic planning process which will both guide and forge DPD's future. First, we have a process design team made up of civilian, sworn, ranking and non-ranking members of DPD to help guide the planning process.

We are committed to gathering as much input from the community as we possibly can. We have community members who have committed to be part of the planning process. We will gather information by both using a survey of community members and by gathering feedback from a variety of focus groups.

We are calling on all Duluthians to share their perspectives on what DPD does well and what we need to improve upon. This is your police department, Duluth, and we are a monopoly. Therefore, we must never settle for good but always seek to be great. Help us be our best and share your feedback, perspective and critique.

Once we have collected and analyzed all data from our staff and the community, the command staff will have a planning session over two days in which we will chart a new direction for DPD and will revisit the mission, vision and values for the Duluth Police Department.

The strategic planning process will be completed in February and will be made public on the Duluth Police Department web page. We are excited to participate in this most important planning process with our citizens. Your perception is reality. Please use this opportunity to participate and offer feedback so we can better serve you in the years to come.

Superhero Fun Run

The Duluth Police Foundation is having its annual Superhero 5K and 10K Fun Run on Saturday, Oct. 29. Dress like your favorite superhero and support public safety initiatives. Registration is at 9 a.m. at Grandma's Sports Garden with the runs beginning at 10 a.m. This is a great family event on the Lakewalk and we would love to see all of you running enthusiasts come out and support this great community foundation.

The foundation supports police initiatives such as the mounted patrol in which tight government budgets struggle. Equally important, the foundation is a grant-funding tool for local nonprofits by providing grants to First Witness and Valley Youth center, to name a few. Please check out the Duluth Police Foundation website, where you can follow a link to preregister for the Superhero Fun Run.

Mike Tusken

Contact Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken at 730-5020.