Friday, September 12, 2008

Evaluating Our Programs

The Police Center relies on volunteers to assist with operations and programs. Without them, we would not be able to do much of what we do.

We often need help with the day to day work, and that makes it a real challenge to take on big or long term needs. One of those needs is to evaluate our programs to show they're working and supporting our community policing mission.

To move that idea forward, we have tapped into Syracuse University's program at Maxwell that involves students in service to the community. After we brainstormed ideas regarding how these students could help us and learn something useful at the same time, we submitted proposals and they were accepted. Now a few Maxwell undergrads will be working with us to handle some important projects.

One student will be collecting information that tells us whether our community policing mission is being met through our events for children and families. He will survey participants. We've asked him to blog, and in the near future he'll be telling you more.

We plan to mail 800-1,000 surveys with return postage. Labor will be supplied at no cost. Postage is estimated to cost $850.

You may wonder, “Why spend money on just getting answers to some questions?” There are a few reasons:
  • If the results are favorable to our efforts, we may be able to use the data to seek new sources of funds.
  • We may use the information to continue or enhance Police Department support of our non-traditional policing efforts.
  • We may use the information to better serve our community.
  • We will be helping an SU student learn, and meet a requirement of his course.
  • Working with SU students will open doors for additional collaborative efforts.
I always try to be on offense, pushing forward with youth and family programs that put police and citizens working together to solve problems. There is value in this approach. At the same time, I have to protect these programs, as some do not see value in them.

If survey results come in and indicate a favorable response to our programs, it will add some backing to what our experience tells us. The results will also be a stepping stone to more data collection in the future. During these times of pressure on budgets, we need information like this that tells current and new donors that our efforts at the Police Center are worthwhile.

If you wish to partner with us in this project, you may help by:
  • Donating stamps or envelops for the mailing and return of surveys;
  • Donating your time to help address, stamp and stuff envelopes (I will set aside an afternoon in the very near future September 18th or 22nd are possible dates);
  • Make a monetary donation for us to purchase the supplies we need;
  • Filling out and returning the survey, if you receive one.
Once the surveys are returned and the data is tabulated, I'll be sure the results are posted here.

Your continued support will make this project possible.

Thank you,

Officer Clarke

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