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Hiring Freeze Impact on Overtime Costs – Is it Measurable? [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Apr 27, 2016 9:29:31 AM

Faced with increasing overtime costs, city officials in Portland, Maine have secured a significant concession from the firefighters' union.  The Portland Press-Herald reports that the city will be asked to approve a new contract with firefighters that will fill vacant positions and cut overtime.

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Topics: Overtime, Analytics

New Police Technology Increases Need for Training [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Apr 18, 2016 12:39:51 PM

It's becoming increasingly clear that new technology is helping police officers do their jobs. The algorithms that support predictive policing software, for example, make it easier to prevent crime sprees.

While this is good news for neighborhood safety, it is important for proponents of policing technology to understand that the software alone cannot make a difference without dedicated officers to back it up.

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Topics: Police, Training

Police Leaders Struggle With New Challenges

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Apr 6, 2016 7:00:00 AM


Today, police departments are forced to operate under a number of constraints that make it difficult for them to meet their goals.

When people talk about what they expect from their local and state police forces, it can sometimes appear contradictory. Citizens want their police forces to keep them safe and do whatever it takes to bring criminals to justice, but they also want officers to show restraint when encountering suspects. Reformers want to equip officers with body cameras to improve oversight, but taxpayers are less sanguine about footing the bill.

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Topics: Workforce Management, Police

Police Shortage Boosts Overtime Spending, Hurts Response Times

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 24, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Nationwide statistics show that average crime rates have fallen significantly in the past two decades. However, this hasn't been the case in every part of the country. Some cities have experienced brief crime spikes in the past few years. Others are simply growing more populous. This — combined with the aftereffects of the last recession — has left them with police shortages.

Shortages of police officers can be problematic for multiple reasons. With fewer officers, it can be difficult to respond to emergency calls as quickly as public safety experts would like. In addition, efforts to maintain full coverage with a short-handed staff puts more pressure on existing sworn officers — and boost municipal overtime spending.

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Topics: Scheduling, Law Enforcement, Overtime, Police, Firefighters

Florida Prisons Face Staffing Shortages [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 21, 2016 1:03:27 PM

In Florida, the nation's third-largest prison system is dangerously understaffed, leading to serious security issues.

That's the conclusion of a recent report conducted by independent consulting firm CGL, which found that many mandatory positions have been left unmanned for thousands of hours. As a result, fewer inmates are being searched, and use of force is increasing as guards struggle to maintain control.

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Topics: Workforce Management, prisons

Are Police Agencies Relying Too Heavily on Reserve Officers?

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 16, 2016 12:43:59 PM

When cities and towns cannot afford to staff their police departments with enough full-time sworn officers, they will often rely on reserve officers to fill the gaps.

There are certain advantages to this policy. It generally doesn't cost as much to hire a reserve officer. In fact, in some municipalities, it doesn't cost anything at all — reserve officers work on a volunteer basis.

Reserve officers also tend to live in the communities they serve. This often means that they bring additional local knowledge that the full-time police force may not possess.

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Topics: Police, Training, Reserves

Hiring More Firefighters Not Always the Best Answer to Excess OT [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 14, 2016 11:58:22 AM

When fire departments are overworked, the amount of money they have to allocate for overtime payments can reach impressive levels. At first glance, it may appear that the department in question is simply understaffed. But hiring additional firefighters isn't always the best answer.

For instance, in the Columbus, Ohio fire department, overtime payments reached $8.6 million in 2015, with some firefighters earning 30 percent more than their base pay.

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Topics: Fire, Overtime

Public Sector Growing Trend: the Rise of SaaS Platforms [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 7, 2016 5:26:07 PM

The rise of Software-as-a-Solution platforms has given public institutions a better way to collect, analyze and use the data at their fingertips to improve decision-making.

Business intelligence has grown in popularity in the private sector and is a growing trend in the public sector. Unfortunately, most traditional intelligence tools are too cumbersome to use, leading to inefficiencies and errors. 
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Topics: SaaS, Public Sector

Public Safety Understaffed on School Campuses [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 4, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Recent school shootings in the United States have made parents, teachers and policymakers extra wary about the safety of students. But while many school districts have opted to boost security, some have struggled with a lack of staff.

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Topics: Workforce Management, Campus Police, public safety

Prisons Must Balance Budget and Fatigue When Staffing Officers [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Mar 2, 2016 7:00:00 AM

State officials must always balance the need to stay on budget while avoiding burnout for their prison staffs.

A recent study from the Vermont Department of Corrections is once again bringing this dilemma into focus. Over the last six months, correctional officers at the state's seven prisons have worked an average of 11.6 hours of overtime for each two week pay period.

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Topics: Workforce Management, Corrections, prisons

About Orion Communications

Orion Communications is a certified women-owned business enterprise headquartered in Dallas, Texas that has been specializing in workforce management software since 1998. As Public Sector workforce management and data interface experts, Orion is a unique provider of dynamically intelligence workforce management software. Orion serves agencies with complex requirements and improves workforce productivity using its web based AgencyWeb® system and consultative management services.

For more information, please contact Jackie Belasky at 214-361-1203, #2413 or jbelasky@orioncom.com.