With a vision of increasing communication and reducing crime, Mesa Police Chief George Gascón announced Wednesday that he is reorganizing the department.
Under his plan, officers will be assigned to either Operations — which handles crime — or Support Services — which handles areas such as internal affairs and finance.
Starting Nov. 14, detectives who investigate crimes such as gangs, burglaries, auto thefts and robberies, will work at the department’s four substations where they can better communicate with patrol officers, Gascón said. Currently, those detectives are stationed downtown.
Detectives who investigate homicides, domestic violence, fraud and traffic will remain downtown.
The announcement came during the first of Gascón’s monthly meetings with the news media and one day before the launch of Comp-Stat, a computer statistics tool used to fight crime.
The two unions representing the city’s police officers said that although Gascón is quickly bringing changes to the department, the shift appears to be for the better.
“Our organization is cautiously optimistic,” said Bryan Soller, president of Mesa Lodge 9, Fraternal Order of Police.
Soller agreed the decentralization of detectives will increase communication.
Mesa Police Association president Sgt. Fabian Cota said Gascón has taken some very bold steps but his plans are well thought out. Cota said most officers are just waiting to see how it will all pan out.
The reorganization also means detectives will be on staff seven days a week with coverage about 18 to 20 hours of each day.
Currently, detectives work days Monday through Friday and respond when needed at night.
Gascón, who said he wants a better clearance rate on solving crimes, said the changes will create accountability. He said 15 percent of property crimes and 60 percent of homicides are solved.