Dayton police announce major reorganization plan with more officers moved to patrol division

DAYTON — A major reorganization within the Dayton Police Department will see over two dozen officers moved from the investigative sections to the patrol division in an effort to have more officers to respond to calls and address neighborhood complaints.

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Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal announced the plan to Dayton City Commissioners during the commission meeting Wednesday morning. Afzal said the change is considered major for the department and is necessary due to an increased need for officers to respond to calls.

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“The Dayton Police Department is facing challenges related to attrition and there is an increased need for additional officers to respond to calls for service and to further enhance community policing efforts,” Afzal said in his presentation to city commissioners.

“Patrol staffing levels are also reaching a critical level this summer and the current recruit class does not complete initial field training until September 2022,” the presentation read.

The department’s biggest shift will be moving around 30 officers from investigations over to the patrol division. The shift in officer assignments will better align with industry practices with the number of officers on patrol, Afzal said.

“When you pick up the phone and call that’s who you’re going to get, you’re going to get a patrol officer. I want to make sure we have enough resources available that they’re responding in a manner that we need from our officers,” Afzal said.

Around 50 percent of the Dayton Police Department force are currently based in the patrol division, however industry practices call for around 60 percent of the department to be on patrol. The shift of 30 officers to DPD patrols won’t get the department at that 60 percent number, however it will make them closer to the percentage goal currently used across law enforcement, Afzal said.

Some of the officers who are part of the shift have already volunteered to be moved to patrols while others will be notified of their new assignments, Afzal said. Two investigative sections, homicide and Special Victims Unit, will not be impacted by the department changes.

The restructure plan also calls for all patrol officers and police districts to be moved to one division and report to a singular Major in the department. Afzal said this change is to ensure consistency when working in the community and also helps with accountability of patrol officers, he said in the presentation.

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The department’s plans will also make patrol beats smaller geographic areas in an effort to enhance community policing, Afzal said. More officers and sergeants will be assigned to patrol beats, which increases the number of officers addressing ongoing neighborhood complaints. The previous organizational structure only had a small unit of officers across two of the department patrol divisions, Afzal outlined in the presentation.

“When you know the neighborhood you also know individuals that are going to cause harm to somebody else. This is also a way to build trust because we want people to call us when they see harm,” Afzal said.

“I think the biggest way to suppress crime is when citizens pick up the phone and say not in front of my house, not in front of my street. I think this is a way to create the legitimacy by seeing the same group of officers.”

“If you get a group of 3 or 4 officers that you know, ok, Sunday through Monday I’m going to have this officer during this time frame. I think that goes a long way to reducing the trust deficit that does exist in our profession,” Afzal added.

The department’s plan will go into effect June 1 and the department already has an agreement with the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police, Afzal said.

The changes come in Afzal’s fourth month on the job. He was sworn in as the Chief of Police in December 2021, replacing the retiring Richard Biehl.