1987 Finalist
State of Washington
Innovations in American Government Awards
Innovations in American Government Awards

The Washington State Patrol's (WSP) Traffic Enforcement and Management System (TEAMS) is an organizational approach to the reduction of traffic accidents. TEAMS was developed in response to a growing incidence of traffic collisions, reduced productivity, and an organizational focus on work process, not results. The primary innovation of TEAMS is the involvement of the total complement of WSP traffic officers and their managers.

The key element of the TEAMS approach is participative management. The use of participative management in a police organization is unique as police organiza­tions have traditionally relied upon their rigid hierarchical structure and strict adherence to the "chain of command" in their goal setting and planning processes. This traditional police approach essentially discouraged employee input into goal setting.

There are four components of the TEAMS approach: (1) goal setting/ action planning; (2) performance measurement; (3) staffing allocation and deployment; and (4) economic performance rating. The TEAMS process begins with the establishment of local area accident reduction goals. Local troopers then formulate action plans to realize their goals within the guidelines of the law, regulations, and ethical police practices. The detachment then imple­ments the approved action plan and manages its own work effort accordingly, coordinating with the supervisor for organizational continuity and clarity. Performance measurement makes organizational expectations concrete and assists in efficient and effective traffic law enforcement through a focus on results, rather than work activities. Moreover, it provides the information to report back to managers and detachments. The staffing and deployment models used by the patrol utilize work output information and performance measurements to determine the number of traffic officers needed and how to distribute them across the state. The fourth component is economic performance reporting. The TEAMS economic performance measures include the economic value of job performance, cost effectiveness, and return on investment. These measures will provide a bottom line regarding the contribution of the State Patrol to the economy of the state of Washington and assist in providing the best possible services at the lowest cost.

The three most important measures used to evaluate program success are WSP-reportable accidents investi­gated, productivity ratio (violator contacts per traffic trooper FTE), and the quality enforcement index (violator contacts per traffic trooper FTE per WSP-investigated reportable accidents). In 1986, there was only a 1.0 percent increase in the total number of WSP-investigated, reportable motor vehicle collisions over 1985 (32,705 and 32,372, respectively). This increase of 333 accidents repre­sents the smallest percentage increase that has occurred over the last three years. The productivity ratio increased to 138.8 over the 1985 ratio level of 132.3, or a 4.0 percent increase in enforcement efficiency. The quality enforcement index rose in 1986 to 373.6 over the 1985 level of 341.7. This change in enforcement effectiveness represents an 8.5 percent increase statewide.

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