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The strength of the (insert city name) police department

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A University of Manitoba professor gives the police operational review a failing grade.

Frank Cormier, who teaches sociology and criminology at the U of M and who worked for several years as a justice consultant, said he was having feelings of déj vu when he was reading the Matrix report.

"Just for the fun of it, I did a bit of a Google search and quite a number of chunks of this thing are exactly the same as reports they've done for other cities," Cormier said.

The most glaring example, Cormier said, was Section 4, titled Strength of the Winnipeg Police Service.

He said it's almost word for word, taken from a similarly titled section Matrix produced for the San Antonio Police Department in May 2010.

The only changes being switching out 'San Antonio' and inserting 'Winnipeg.'

In addition to the copying, Cormier said the report was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors that displayed a lack of attention to detail.

The report was presented in a way that makes it hard to read and difficult to find useful information.

"I read long, dense documents for a living and this was just painful to read."

Cormier said he was disappointed Matrix recycled reports written for other police departments and passed it off as an original assessment of Winnipeg police.

"The feeling I get is (Matrix) is cranking these out at a high rate, obviously using parts verbatim and injecting parts that are specific to whatever (police) service they are looking at."

Cormier said he wonders how similar are the police forces in Winnipeg and San Antonio that the strengths of one service can be substituted verbatim for the strengths of the other.

"I'm disappointed. It's just wrong. It's pretty bad."

Recycling previous reports will undermine the validity of the findings and recommendations of the Winnipeg review, he said.

Cormier said Matrix may have delivered to the City of Winnipeg what they were contractually obligated to deliver.

"However, if I was the client paying for the report, I would have concerns about whether I had received value for money."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Case of déj vu

EXCERPT from the August 2013 Winnipeg Police Service operational review by Matrix Consulting Group:

"A study such as this one, necessarily focuses much of its attention on improvement opportunities which need to be addressed in a client agency. However, this study process has also identified many positive characteristics in the Police Service.

This conclusion was established from:

  • Our extensive input from and interaction with a large number of personnel in the Police Service which highlighted staff's dedication to service.
  • The 'best practices' assessment process utilized in this study was also key to understanding that the Police Service has a history of providing high levels of service and a wide range of services.
  • The analysis developed by the project team as it conducted this Operational Review of the Winnipeg Police Service.

It is important for the project team to point out that the Police Service has taken a number of steps to develop (itself as a model large police department), which can be seen in changes to management systems, the recent reorganization, attention to the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and services, as well as attention to community needs."

The complete version is available online at:

http://www.winnipeg.ca/cao/media/imageLinks/OperationalReview_WPSFinalReport.pdf

 

EXCERPT from the May 2010 Organizational and Operational Review of the San Antonio, Texas, police department by the Matrix Consulting Group:

"A study such as this one, necessarily focuses much of its attention on improvement opportunities which need to be addressed in a client agency. However, this study process has also identified many positive characteristics in the San Antonio Police Department. This conclusion was established from:

  • Our extensive input from and interaction with a large number of personnel in the Police Department which highlighted staff's dedication to service.
  • The 'best practices' assessment process utilized in this study was also key to understanding that the Police Department has a history of providing high levels of service and a wide range of services.
  • The analysis developed by the project team as it conducted this Organizational and Operations Review of the San Antonio Police Department.

It is important for the project team to point out that this Police Department has taken a number of steps to develop (a "culture of excellence") which can be seen in changes to management systems, the recent reorganization, attention to the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and services, as well as attention to community needs."

The complete version is available online at:

http://www.texascivilrightsproject.org/docs/sapd/Matrix_Consulting_Group_2010_Organizational_Operational_Review.pdf

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 30, 2013 A5

History

Updated on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7:58 AM CDT: formats text, adds links

8:02 AM: moves sidebar into main body of story

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