NEW BEDFORD – City and police officials announced the findings of the New Bedford Police Department’s Strategic Plan on Monday, which was submitted to the Department earlier this month.

During his State of the City address in January, Mayor Jon Mitchell called for the New Bedford Police Department to undergo a strategic planning exercise.

“We're undertaking a thorough and candid self-assessment because we want our department go from good to great,” Mayor Mitchell said in his address, noting that the last strategic plan for the Police Department had occurred more than 20 years ago as the result of a lawsuit.

The plan was a proactive exercise to seek recommendations on strengthening operations of the Department. It provides third-party, public safety management recommendations that would bring the New Bedford Police Department fully in-line with 21st Century policing practices.

“This assessment is useful for a police department that is always striving to operate effectively and innovatively,” said Mitchell in the Ashley Room of City Hall on Monday. “A strategic plan will inform the critical operational, financial and facilities decisions with which the New Bedford Police Department is faced, and it will help the department fulfill its mission of continuous improvement, capitalizing on its strengths and addressing areas that need restructuring.”

Kim Craven of Public Safety Strategies led the assessment. Her team compiled the data in the report by conducting four separate site visits, each several days long, and held interviews with police department employees, municipal department heads, stakeholder agencies, community organizations and area residents.

Craven presented the findings of the New Bedford Police Department’s Comprehensive Assessment and Strategic Plan alongside other City and police officials.

“We’ve been in existence since 1994. We’ve worked with over 300 different municipalities. While I’ve been the point of contact for the chief, we’ve had a team behind the scenes on it – research associates, data analysts, mapping specialists. The team that was here consisted of three former chiefs and one former assistant chief from a major west coast city,” Craven said.

Among the recommendations, the report most notably suggests the Department allow for Chief Joe Cordeiro to appoint command staff; continue to expand mobile cameras to address crime and monitor critical events; civilianizing certain positions, including the management information systems position; and to consider reorganizing the narcotics and gang units under the purview of Criminal Investigations.

“I think when you read the report you’re going to find what I already know and what the Mayor has talked about many times – New Bedford has a great police department. We have incredible men and women doing a fabulous job out there, and I think the report is going to be indicative of that,” said Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro. “But any organization, and police departments in particular under the scrutiny we’re under every day, that wants to be relevant, wants to be progressive , wants to be efficient and could do better, and what we’re doing that we shouldn’t be doing or should scrap.”

The report also included an FBI Crime Data report of crime in the city, covering violent, nonviolent, and property crimes from 2006-2016. The FBI report, handed out to the media by the Mayor’s Office, also includes statistics related to narcotics related -crime and activity.

The crime statistics show a decrease violent, nonviolent and property crimes over the years, but notably do not include the 2017 results, a year where New Bedford saw the highest amount of homicides it’s seen in over a decade. It is not known if that year’s data has been processed or made available by the FBI as of yet.

“Crime is down in New Bedford fairly significantly over the years, but all the reason more we should be doing this. Not in response to a spike in crime, but really an opportunity to assess, together, what we can do better so that we can continue to keep a lid on crime in our city,” said Mitchell.