Assuring Continued Prosperity
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Nationwide, law enforcement agencies continue to struggle with finding qualified applicants. During a recent news segment on WRAL, the North Carolina Highway Patrol disclosed they are currently facing an historic shortage of over 200 troopers. While we are not immune to this plight, we have successfully adapted our recruiting efforts to attract a diverse group of veteran and millennial officers.
According to multiple sources, police applicants are looking for agencies with streamlined recruiting processes, adaptive leadership that encourages personal growth, programs that emphasize officer wellness, and equitable schedules that promote work/life balance. Compared to other departments where hiring processes can take six months or more, our application process takes three to four months. We emphasize personal growth by utilizing a defined Career Ladder Program and Tuition Assistance. We have multiple programs in place to promote employee wellness, and we have adaptive leadership that evaluates department structure and scheduling so our officers can fulfill their obligations to both the citizens and their families.
Despite nationwide trends, since January of 2018, we have hired 18 new police and emergency communications officers, resulting in a fully staffed communications center and only one current officer vacancy. We are proud of our accomplishments and with administration’s continued support, expect to stay ahead of the curve.
A vacancy in the reception area of the Human Resources Department created an opportunity to experiment within 311. Human Resources staff worked over the summer to compile a list of the most popular call types for each division. Using this data, staff created a resource guide to train the five citizen advocates piloting the Town’s 311 Center. In-depth discussions were held about call intake methods, sensitivity of HR-related information, caller privacy and a myriad of other details specific to the types of HR calls 311 staff would encounter. Beginning in September, all calls to the main HR phone number are now answered within 311. Call statistics are regularly monitored and data collection continues to be refined as we work to build and define best practices.
The process of data collecting, training, implementing and refining is an approach staff will continue as we seize opportunities to grow the umbrella of 311.
In August, nearly 250 employees were treated to ice cream and financial education from VOYA at Town Hall campus and the Public Works and Utilities Operations Center. VOYA partners with the Town of Cary to administer one facet of our supplemental retirement benefits. In addition, Human Resources staff were on hand to provide other important financial resources, information and materials and help answer questions.
The IT Department is rolling out 500 new laptops to employees by the end of the calendar year, thanks to assistance from the Fire Department and a new IT deployment process. The new laptops come in a variety of configurations and feature touch-screen enhancement. The computers costar Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10, and offer built-in cellular capability. This enables employees to connect and work anywhere a Wi-Fi or cellular connection is available. A majority of the currently deployed systems are desktop based and run on an older Microsoft operating system. Retiring laptops are not touch-screen enabled, are limited to one configuration, weigh over five pounds and possess no cellular capability.
To support the endeavor, IT partnered with the Fire Department in deploying new laptops and desktops. Volunteers from the Fire Department were trained to work alongside IT to configure, deploy and troubleshoot new systems. They will also address peripherals such as monitors, keyboards and mice. Fire Department volunteers were trained for two weeks in a formal classroom setting utilizing hands-on technical exercises and by shadowing IT personnel.