RPD will reorganize its five patrol sections into four under new plan

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Police Department will reorganize its five patrol sections into four under a new plan.

RPD says the realignment plan aims to improve officers’ ability to address an increase in gun violence, improve officers’ workloads, and control its overtime expenses. According to RPD, the current five patrol sections were designed for a time when the department had about 100 additional officers.

The new plan is meant to maximize efficiency. The biggest change is the dissolving of downtown’s central section, which was redistributed into the Goodman and Genesee section.

“The South Wedge — part of Central, now Goodman — I is actually going to see an improvement in response times,” RPD Chief David Smith said. “Simply because, again, geographically it was surrounded by Goodman but a part of Central, and operating off two different dispatchers, two different chains of command.”

The new patrol sections went into effect Monday. (Courtesy of Rochester Police Department)

Smith explained that if someone made a 911 call in the South Wedge, an officer belonging to the Goodman section might have been a block away and available, but totally unaware of the call as it was given to a separate section.

“And again, it’s organizational issues, but things like that is what affects response times,” he said.

Mike Mazzeo, president of the Locust Club, said he and others in the police union don’t support the restructuring. He said that with RPD down 81 officers, hiring and retaining staff should take precedent over any organizational changes.   

 “It’s tough,” he said. “Our people are stressed, they’re overworked, they’re demoralized from a number of issues. You have to take that into account […]I see the emphasis about getting a plan out on a reorganization that really doesn’t get them anywhere, versus really putting all their efforts into trying to hire and retain and move laterally.”

Smith said that staffing did come into play when developing the realignment.  

“We’ve now realized it’s going to take a bit longer to mitigate the staffing issues than we thought,” he said. “So we’re trying to spread the wealth or the lack of wealth through the various departments.”

Other changes include removing the fourth platoon – officers working 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. throughout the city – and instead redistributing all officers to one of three times ( 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.).

A newly created Special Operations Bureau will also help oversee existing initiatives, such as investigations, tactical operations, and community affairs.

Smith emphasized that even with all the changes, no neighborhood will have less of a police presence than they already do.

You can download RPD’s PowerPoint here: