ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Earlier this week, a re-organization plan took effect for the Rochester Police Department.
News 8 sat down with Rochester Police Chief David Smith to learn more on what the department hopes to accomplish with the changes in the future.
RPD Chief Smith describes the plan as an adjustment to the previous template, which was created back in 2014. He says the re-structure is in an effort to help balance workloads amid an ongoing staffing shortage. Currently, the department is down by 81 officers.
“This is about trying to be more efficient with what we have and trying to improve where we can, and keep things moving forward,” said Chief Smith.
The realignment breaks RPD into four sections instead of five, and reduces the number of platoons from four to three, with shifts running from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
It has also introduced a new Special Operations Bureau to oversee Investigations, Tactical and Community Affairs. It will be led by Deputy Chief Keith Stith.
“It’s a focus on how we’re investigating non-fatal shootings. We’ve talked about the changes there and proactive details. This puts them together in a special operations division. It’s identifying known gun offenders that we knew were still active and offending, and conducting proactive details to target them, arrest them, and hold them accountable,” said Chief Smith.
The re-structure has drawn criticism from the Rochester Police Locust Club, which is the union representing RPD officers. Leaders with the Locust Club have said talks with the police department have fallen short.
“We started this over a year ago. We’ve reached out and have continued to collaborate as best we can, but the bottom line is I am responsible for making sure this department serves the citizens of Rochester in the best way possible and that’s what I have to do,” said Chief Smith.
Chief Smith adds RPD will continue to assess protocols and make needed changes to the reorganization plan in the future.