When the details jump out at you, it's sometimes difficult to see the big picture.
The Cape Coral Police Department is a good case in point.
The agency has seen its share of controversies, serious controversies that have resulted in a handful of non-job-related arrests, at least one termination involving improper use of force, and the on-going college-credits-for-pay saga.
Despite the attention these isolated incidents have received, a couple of things should be noted.
One, the department has both internally and publicly addressed these issues as they arose. Two, in terms of staying on-mission, the Cape Coral Police Department is doing very well.
According to statistical data released this month, the number of reported crimes decreased in 2010 and clearance rates are at acceptable levels according to industry standards.
Police department officials credit the drop in crime to proactive policing that monitors trends by area, coupled with an appropriate shift in resources to answer specific needs.
Makes sense to us - especially since it's working.
The department also has made strides in two other areas: It has managed to answer additional calls for service with fewer people and significantly less overtime in patrol, various operations categories and administrative services.
Patrol recorded a 19.9 percent dip; operations a 26.8 percent drop; special operations a 44.5 percent decrease; support services a 42.7 percent decline; investigative services a 16.3 percent decrease; and the professional standards a 45.6 percent drop. Administrative overtime and compensated hours plummeted 80.9 percent.
That means the agency did more at a lower cost.
Fighting crime and doing it efficiently is the department's primary mission.
And the Cape Coral Police Department is doing an admirable job, thanks to its front-line force of officers and investigators, thanks to its supervisory and support staff, and thanks to its administrative personnel up to and including interim Police Chief Jay Murphy.
Kudos to all those who have made the department's big picture outlook one that credits the agency and serves the public well.
As the city's administration continues its announced search for a permanent chief to head the department, it would do well to look inside.
Declining crime rates and proven efficiencies are going to be hard to top.
- Breeze editorial