In light of the tragic death involving the Department of Neighborhood Services employee killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 the Department of Employee Relations (DER) has conducted a comprehensive review of departmental policies and practices related to City employees working in the field. This review included collecting and analyzing information about field safety practices from departments, assessing the needs and priorities of the departments based on employee feedback and exploring the availability of resources to address those concerns. Specific recommendations stemming from that review were presented at the April 13, 2017 meeting of the Finance and Personnel Committee of the Common Council. The report with specific recommendations to address field safety can be found below.
Departments are actively considering and implementing changes based on those recommendations. These changes involve policy matters, resources to make employees be and feel safe in the field, technology that enables and facilitates communication with and between field employees, protocols to track field assignments and ensure an appropriate response when there is an emergency, training facilitated by MPD personnel, and data sharing enhancements that will help managers make deployment decisions. In addition, discussion regarding other recommendations involving safety initiatives will continue during the 2018 budget process.
All employees are encouraged to review the report and recommendations and discuss additional safety concerns or suggestions with their supervisor, manager, departmental safety personnel, or DER. Employees who wish to provide ideas can send their suggestions anonymously to the Department of Employee Relations, Attention Maria Monteagudo, City Hall, Room 706. In addition, a separate e-mail account (Safety1st@milwaukee.gov) has been created for employees to use to forward safety concerns and suggestions to the Department of Employee Relations.
After the report to the Special Finance and Personnel Committee on April 13th , the Department of Employee Relations continues to work with DPW, the Milwaukee Health Department, DNS, DCD, the Assessor’s Office, and MPL to address the needs and priorities identified by field employees in light of the tragic incident involving our DNS Inspector. This email summarizes the activities and follow up taking place as a result of the recommendations made by Mayor Barrett to the Council. Please share this information with your employees and feel free to forward questions and concerns to my attention or email them to Safety1st@milwaukee.gov
Field Safety Policy: Departments have been given until May 5th to prepare or update their Field Safety Policy. The Policy will be required to include the following elements:
- A message to employees articulating your commitment as a Department Head to employee safety.
- The specific safety responsibilities of every employee within the organization including your managers, supervisors, and employees
- Training Requirements - at time of hire and annually
- Peer Support resources and grief counseling resources available to employees.
- Method for gathering ongoing employee feedback pertaining to safety issues and concerns
Uniforms or Items of Clothing: Departments have been asked to identify uniforms or items of clothing that they wish to purchase to increase employee’s visibility in the field. This information is also due on May 5th. The decision as to whether the department will require employees to actually wear the uniform and/or item of clothing will rest with the Department. Please be sensitive to the employees who feel that wearing an item identifying them as a City employee may make them a target.
Personal Alarms: DER has reviewed and rated 8 personal alarm devices and has placed an order for three of the top 3 rated devices. When they arrive, DER will ask members of the Labor Management Committee and other volunteers to test the devices and make a recommendation regarding the one that best meets the needs of our field employees. Devices should be made available to field employees upon request.
Flight Plan Protocol: Departments have been asked to develop a protocol that documents the known daily activities and stops of employees in the field. The protocol must require employees to document, report and communicate a change to the daily schedule. When such employees are not required to report back to the workplace at the end of the day, the protocol must include a “call in” or “report in” procedure which may include an email, text or phone call to a designated departmental representative or the Unified Call Center, if necessary. The deadline to provide the draft protocol is May 5th.
Decals of City Seal: a total of 250 Decals with the City’s seal have been ordered. Employees who are required to drive their personal vehicles for work will be given the opportunity to use and display the decals while performing field activities. The decals are expected to arrive within a week.
Situational Awareness Training: the first 8 sessions of Situational Awareness Training by MPD have been scheduled starting on May 8th. Sign up procedures have been provided to departments with a deadline of May 1st. DER continues to work with MPD to expand the number of sessions based on the desire to train all field employees as soon as administratively possible.
Incident App: ITMD and DER are currently working on developing the incident app that will be used to report, document, and track incidents by field employees. The APP will allow departments to share information regarding incidents in the field to better prepare employees to address and respond to certain situations. Examples of incidents to be reported include: □ Damage to City or Personal Property / Car, □ Dangerous dog, □ Drug Paraphernalia, □ Entry/Exit from home or establishment is unsafe or problematic, □ Encounter with someone under the influence, □ Fire Hazard/Fire Damage □ Illegal Drugs or Drug Activity, □ Public Drinking, □ Prostitution/Other Illegal Activity, □ Property Fire
Safety Website and E-mail: This website has been created to centralize all safety related information. This information, including a link to a new email address for employees to use to bring safety issues to the attention of DER (see Safety Quick Links on the right)
MPD Crime and Safety Meetings: The MPD will be forwarding a schedule of their Crime and Safety meetings by district. This information will be made available to departments so that managers, supervisors, and safety personnel can attend and learn about crime trends and activities going on in the neighborhoods where employees are working.
Emergency Calls for Service from City Employees: MPD is currently exploring ways to better identify, address and respond to emergency calls for service from city employees on duty. They are also looking at ways to build stronger working relationships with district commanders who may be better able to address emergency situations when they occur.
Additional information regarding the status of these initiatives and other recommendations will be shared as it becomes available.