Brewster Police Develop Strategic Plan

by Rich Eldred

BREWSTER – Every Police Department should have a strategy.

Thanks to work by Ostman Business Strategy, a consulting firm run by John Ostman, the Brewster Police Department now has one. Brewster Police Chief Heath Eldredge now has 48 strategies to implement, with 19 objectives, five strategic goals, 157 action plans all under one overarching vision.

“The department had not previously engaged in the strategic planning process,” Ostman said at last week’s select board meeting. “And part of doing this report is to engage the department in a process they will use basically from now on. We vet everything in an organization, lay it all out on the table, tell me everything you want to tell me and then from there we build the organization back.”

That’s done by a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.

“The weaknesses end up being action plans,” Ostman said. “It’s very cathartic. It’s all confidential so nobody knows what anybody said but everybody gets to see what everybody said.”

The vision is for a model, progressive and accredited police agency that achieves the high standards and expectations of the community through strategic planning, service and management and to build a leadership culture that uses all resources to deliver reliable services.

The department’s strategic goals will be to promote organizational and professional development, culture and communication, and operations excellence; make a community connection; and maintain facilities, equipment and technology. A total of 157 actions are recommended that work toward the goals.

The department held five small group meetings highlighting each goal and developed strategies and action plans for each objective.

“When we get all of that together we have a mission, we have a vision, we have strategic goals, we have all these objectives and strategies and action plans,” Ostman said. “We then look at them for the first time with the senior team and the chief, to go through it and say does it all hang together? Does it make sense? Is this where we want to go? And we decided yeah, it was.”

After that the report and plan was produced.

Professional development can be promoted by organization and staffing, training, succession planning and career development opportunities. Culture and communication will benefit by staff retention, improving internal meetings, leadership and accountability. Operations can be improved by strategic planning, department accreditation, policy and procedure updates and delivery of services. Communication, community events and outreach and public education can build a better community connection.

When it comes to facilities, equipment and technology Ostman suggests Brewster overhaul the police station’s HVAC system, reallocate some interior space, maintain the vehicle fleet, modernize the dispatch system, adopt a body cam system and replace the computers and data management system when the time comes.

They also came up with a motto or slogan.

“One seemed to bubble up that fit with everybody,” Ostman said. “‘Honor, Courage and Commitment.’”