In September 2020, Mayor Elorza engaged PFM’s Center for Justice and Safety Finance to conduct a comprehensive review and analysis of our Public Safety operations. This review will inform how traditional public safety services (police, fire, and EMS) may be restructured to shift Providence to a prevention-first model of public safety designed to improve services and outcomes for residents and create a healthier, safer, and more just community.
The PFM report is organized into four key sections:
- An analysis of the Department of Public Safety and its historical and projected expenditures and revenues.
- An overview of the Providence Fire Department’s (PFD) organizations, personnel, operations, workload, and collective bargaining agreement.
- An overview of the Providence Police Department’s (PPD) organizations, personnel, operations, workload, and collective bargaining agreement.
- Options to effectively take a Prevention-First approach to safety and justice and improve the efficiency of fire and police services.
The end of the report also includes a robust appendix and glossary of terms
Community Engagement Sessions
To provide residents the opportunity to learn about the findings of the report, PFM’s recommendations, and to submit questions, the City is hosting a series of webinars. Please use the below registration links to receive the zoom information, as well as to submit questions in advance.
Session 1 – Thursday, April 29 – 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Session 2 – Date + Registration coming soon
If you were unable to make any of the community engagement sessions but would like to learn more about the report findings and recommendations, please see the below event recording. Links will be updated below after each meeting.
Providence Public Safety Department Operational Review FAQ
1. Why was an operational review of the Public Safety Department commissioned?
Mayor Elorza recognizes that, despite the City currently experiencing historically low levels of crime, traditional methods of emergency response may not be as efficient as possible, or as effective as they need to be, in keeping the people of Providence safe. It can often be inefficient and/or ineffective for public safety to respond to certain incidents simply because it is the most visible resource available. By asking what services police and fire/EMS should provide, and why, Providence can begin to shift toward a prevention-first model of public safety.
2. Who completed the review?
The consultant used to complete the review and analysis is PFM’s Center for Justice and Safety Finance, an independent, trusted advisor to state and local governments across the nation. PFM’s work has generated real results – improving service delivery, efficiency, and fiscal outcomes in public safety and other government operations. More information about the organization can be found here.
3. What are the findings of the review?
This review and analysis provide a series of data-driven policy and operational choices to transition Providence to a prevention-first model of public safety services. Through this process, the City is exploring whether resources and responsibilities traditionally allocated to the Public Safety Department can be shifted to more appropriate government or non-profit organizations, leading to better outcomes, reduced costs, and more efficient delivery of services.
4. When will the recommendations be implemented?
Mayor Elorza intends to use this report to inform conversations with all parts of the Providence community. The report’s data and identified options will help to continue these important dialogues. This process may take several months.
Community feedback is vital to ensuring the success any recommendations. Please sign up to participate in community meetings – dates and registration links are listed above.
5. How do these recommendations differ from existing diversionary programs?
Providence has already begun shifting appropriate responsibility for some calls for service to prevention-first approaches through investments in the PVD Safe Stations program and Mobile Health Unit. The City also included funds in its recently passed FY21 budget for a vendor to co-design a behavioral health and social service diversion program. The RFP process for this project is expected to close later this month.