In 2019, the Crime Lab, in response to a request from Chicago Police Department (CPD) leadership, analyzed data to determine the status quo of how officers were distributed and then began developing a planning model to help the department better allocate officer resources. The Crime Lab model was designed to optimize deployment by focusing on a key metric: the amount of time officers spend responding to 911 calls compared to the amount of time officers spend doing other work. By spreading officer workload more evenly, the speed with which officers can respond to calls and how much time they can spend addressing each call may improve.
Workforce Allocation Summary
A Workforce Allocation Project Summary that addresses that the of allocation of law enforcement resources in a majority of US cities is typically subject to the discretion and intuition of pivotal decision-makers, leading to a high degree of politicization and inequality in the system.
The Crime Lab model uses an iterative process to allocate patrol cars to support busy officers until there are no more overworked officers and every officer can spend no more than 60% of their time answering calls. The fastest way to equalize 911 response times across the city would be to reallocate existing staff as needed. In practice, collective bargaining agreements and other institutional issues may constrain the ability to reallocate existing officers across areas or shifts. In that case, the model could also allocate new CPD staff as they join the workforce.
Our model and policy simulation represent the first passes at optimal staffing allocation. An actual implementation would ideally involve the deployment of the base model’s recommendations, accompanied by measurement, evaluation, and implementation of any refinements necessary to accomplish the city’s stated goals.