MEI experts, ARrow founder Arthur Rizer propose partial privatization of non-core policing, such as administration and other ancillary tasks
Washington, D.C. — Today, the MEI—an independent public policy think tank with Canadian offices in Montreal and Calgary—released a new report on policing in the United States, outlining how private auxiliary agents can save taxpayer funds and keep America!s communitiessafer. Inspired by a 2021 Canadian version, the 2022 report is published as part of the MEI’s“Canada-U.S. Best Practices” program, aimed at a cross-pollination of sound policy ideas and practices between the two countries.
Titled “Enhancing Public Safety While Saving Public Dollars with Auxiliary Private SecurityAgents,” the report argues for the outsourcing of non-core areas as an untapped component of 21st-century police reform. It was co-authored by Krystle Wittevrongel, senior policy analyst and Alberta project lead at the MEI; Olivier Rancourt, economist at the MEI; and Arthur Rizer, founder of the ARrow Center for Justice Reform. Rizer is also a former police officer, U.S. Army Officer, and federal prosecutor.
According to the authors, the demands on police officers in non-criminal areas have grown, as governments have saddled officers with increasing responsibilities. Studies show that police officers spend a vast majority of their time—between 82 to 90 percent—on incidents not directly related to crime. Nearly 90 percent of officers, meanwhile, report that administrative requirements limit the time they are able to spend in local communities.
To make the best use of scarce police time and public resources while also offering the highest level of public safety, the authors propose the incorporation of auxiliary private security agents in non-core areas, such as administration and other ancillary tasks. By concentrating more of police officers’ time on the specialized tasks which presumably led them to become officers in the first place, their job satisfaction will also likely increase, improving public safety via boosted morale.
To analyze the potential benefits of private auxiliary agents, the report specifically studies three U.S. cities: Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On an annual basis, savings would total more than $177 million for the LAPD, over $35 million for the Miami-Dade PD, and nearly $22 million for the Milwaukee PD, if only 75 percent of the administrative burden were offloaded to private agents. Offloading traffic management duties and divesting some sobriety checkpoint labor would save even more taxpayer dollars.
“American policing is in desperate need of reform, and outsourcing non-core areas would represent a giant leap forward for U.S. taxpayers and their local communities,” said Rizer. “It’s time to reset the balance between core and non-core policing activities. By doing so, we can make our communities safer, preserve public resources, and increase officers’ job satisfaction. More time spent on actual policing would do wonders for public safety, especially in America’s most dangerous cities.”