Scanning and Assessment of Baylor Scott and White Department of Public Safety

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Scanning and Assessment of Baylor Scott and White Department of Public Safety

CJA/475

Scanning and Assessment

There are thousands of law enforcement agencies across the United States, which means that there are thousands of ways that an assessment could be completed. The Baylor Scott and White Department of Public Safety (BSWDPS), based out of Dallas, Texas, is a smaller agency that operates on a private hospital facilities throughout the state of Texas. This agency works very closely with the hospital environment and almost in more of a business manner, rather than a law enforcement matter. This is why this particular agency prefers to use the scanning and assessment method to help solve problems that appear both internally and externally. The officers at this department are expected to understand and know that the mission statement that is on their arm is what needs to be reinforced and advertised in order to help make the operation of this agency a success.

Internal and External Issues/Challenges

A law enforcement agency is made up of diverse individuals who come from different beliefs, backgrounds, and areas. It would be unreasonable to think that internal issue would never be an issue at any agency. At the Baylor Scott and White Department of Public Safety, the internal issues are basically the same when it comes in comparison to others agency: high turnover rate, low morale, and an isolated feeling between patrol officers and upper echelon. Externally, the issues that Baylor Scott and White DPS suffer from slightly differ from “standard” law enforcement agencies: because BSWDPS is located on private facilities, the jurisdiction does not run into residential or commercial areas of the areas they are located in. The external stakeholders belong are the employees of the hospital and the patients at the hospital. Additionally, because Baylor Scott and White is a for-profit hospital, that is how they expect the police agency to operate: strictly business and to do what is good for the hospital, not necessarily what is written word for word in the law books. The department is looked at as almost a decoration instead of a, effective or needed part of the hospital system. It is because of this that the external stakeholders and the agency are often at odds with what is needed for the agency.

Why These Issues Taking Place

Unlike other agencies of larger size, BSWDPS is paid at a high market value rate: the pay scale has been comparable and has kept up with the cost of living in the major metropolis. Pay, in that sense, should not be the issue when it comes to low morale. For the most part, the low morale is due to the interaction that the officers have with both the external and internal staff. Because Baylor Scott and White is a major private hospital and the upper echelon within the agency have established a routine trying to run the agency like a business and less like a policing agency. For example, instead of having a complete command and structure, such as a Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief, and then a Chief; BSWDPS has, in an effort to appear more “friendly” and not as “military” to the Board of Directors and other high ranking hospital personnel, dropped several positions. No longer are the titles “Corporal” or “Captain” included in the chain of command. This missing piece makes it harder for officers to have pride in the agency, as they are already very restricted in their actions as Peace Officers. Jurisdiction for the officers is severely limited and because of the need for their presence on campus, the “trips” to the jail to get credit for an arrest are not something that can be afforded. Often officers are instructed to release people who have warrants or not to arrest persons causing disturbance or even damage to the property. The external stakeholders want the hospital to appear to be a welcoming and fearless place; the belief is that by having too much police presence is liable to scare away potential “customers” for the hospital. This conflict of interest is frustrating for officers and make them feel as though they are not true peace officers but more of a decoration. Without upper rank that begins to reinforce the idea that police officers are employed and not just security guards, the morale and excitement behind being a police officer in the agency will continue to fall.

The Correlation between the Organization’s Mission and Goals with regards to the prioritized organizational issues/challenges

At the BSWDPS, there is an issue with mission statements clashing: the Baylor Scott & White Health mission states “Baylor Scott and White Heath exists to serve all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education and research as a Christian ministry of healing”; the BSWDPS state that “We will serve, protect, and provide service to the people we contact with. We are here to serve are the protector of those who cannot protect themselves.” The BSWDPS makes it mission clear: BSWDPS is here to serve Baylor Scott and White as assistance in the healing process but we are also still officer of the law. The balancing act of protecting those who cannot protect themselves, at the moment, and still giving the presence of kindness and care that come with the hospital’s mission is something that is hard to maintain. Although the goals of both organizations are to serve the public, the clash comes in what manner they are each serving in. Because Baylor Scott and White is not a public hospital, they are dependent on patients who makes the journey over and past other hospitals; the hospitals needs to feel like a place that is superior to other public hospitals and, for the most part, be more inviting to all persons. The hospital wants it patients to feel secure and relaxed enough to recover and eventually return to the community. However, the goal is to have the police around but not for them to be seen without being immediately called upon: Baylor Scott and White prefers a reactive force meaning that the police only come around when they are called. In the methods of police work, this is extremely counter-productive: in order for crimes rates to be lowered and patients feel safe, officers need to have the ability to take more a proactive approach instead of reacting after the crime has occurred. Not only does this make the police officers on the campus ineffective but it gives the hospital itself a bad reputation for safety and security (Demorrius Jones, personal communication, January 18, 2017).

Goals to address the issues/challenges

For the most part, the BSWDPS is able to accomplish its mission as it is laid out; however with two mission statements within the same organization, there I bound to be issues that arise. The primary goals of this police department should be to raise employee morale which, in turn, would decrease employee turnover. At the moment, the officers feel distance and isolated by the upper command within the agency: it is a politics game and it is something that many of the street officers just don’t have any time to deal with. The lower ranking officer feel as those the upper ranks have no interest in their needs or wants and, in return, see no need to continue trying harder. Without the trust of the patrol officer, the upper command is doomed to see further employee turnover and having a harder time training recruit after recruit. Additionally, the hospital must realize that when they went before the Texas State Legislation in 1988, they were receiving exactly what they asked for: police officers. Restricting in their performance of their duties and using them as merely props instead of to their full potential. It is through this cooperation that the successful turnaround of the agency could be successful.

Data and Resources needed to address the issues/challenges

In order to prove the need of the police department at all Baylor Scott and White campuses, there needs to be several types of data collected: types of call for service, how often the calls are made, response time, personnel answering the calls, and the level of staffing by both the department and hospital employees. Although not all hospitals have their own agencies, the agency at Baylor Scott and White is comparable to those as major college campuses such as Baylor University, University of Texas, or even community college campuses. There may be some differences but for comparison purposes in the terms of jurisdiction and response, the training and response should be similar. The internal stakeholders, such as officer and support staff, also need to be able to have some input in this data building. When officers feel empowered in their job, the performance is much better than those who regret coming to work every day. If an officer can be given a choice in how the department will begin to take shape, there is pride instilled in their work, not just mindless rank and file officers taking orders. Additionally, the main hospital upper echelons need to be more support and flexible in the actions that the officers have to take in their day to day activities. There needs to be surveys done to find out if the police presence is even notice or missed in different areas of the hospital and what can be done to alleviate and calm the negative feelings about it. Supporting the agency is the first step in making it a successful agency (Timothy Bridges, personal communication, January 18, 2017).

Conclusion

The Baylor Scott and White Department of Public Safety have a good overall mission: to serve and protect not only the citizens within the hospital but to go beyond that and provide courtesy, service, and protection. Because of its unique position of being parallel with the Baylor Scott and White Hospital mission statement, it has some limitations and barriers it must conquer. By taking a step back and prioritizing the goals and challenges set in front of the department, the department is taking the first step needed in ending its low morale rebuilding the trust with the upper ranking officer. Having a stronger relationship with the higher administration within the hospital will also help to keep communication open and flexible for the forecoming problems and issues.

References

Gray, R. H. (2014). How to Improve Security Officer Morale. Retrieved from

http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/how_to_improve_security_officer_morale




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