Public Safety continuous improvement – Leveraging the right resources

August 20, 2021

Many companies use the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method to improve the ways staff set and achieves goals. Yale Public Safety (YPS) recently piloted an OKR program looking at processes, workflows, and ways to make improvements yielding terrific results.

One of YPS’s departmental goals is “embracing continuous improvement by leveraging the right resources.” While the department tried to implement the OKR program in the past, it was not successful. When something doesn’t go as planned, lessons are learned. Benefitting from the knowledge from the past attempt and the remote work situation caused by the pandemic, YPS leadership decided to reinstate the program.

The focus was on the YPS Systems and Services group led by William Goldbach, Associate Director and Access Control Manager, Stephen Donnelly. This team is responsible for all the systems, electronics, and software that support YPS operations. This includes access control and credentialing for all campus buildings and entryways, video management, the LiveSafe App, and the two ID Centers. “It was not mandatory. Team members could take their time to think about where they wanted to focus their attention. We wanted them to see it as a tool of empowerment. In the end, it worked in ways we didn’t expect,” says Bill Goldbach.

The OKR program works like this: an individual has goals, objectives, and key results to target within a specific timeframe. Then, the key results are measured and given scores. “The idea is to have people shoot for the moon. In this case, it was a win-win all around because when a person improves, the whole department, and ultimately the university gains by it,” says Dave Boyd.

Summary of results

Frank Squeglia, Security Systems Specialist, chose to target 100% alarm reduction. This is almost impossible, but he was able to track how alarms came in, the root cause, and if it was resolved with a first-time fix. Also, he tracked how the individual alarm affected the YPS department and other departments. Results: If the number of false alarms is reduced, it frees up Yale police officers to respond to other calls. 

Brian Pagan, Access Control Technical Assistant, chose to train fellow team members on the scheduling portion of access control–the overall goal to standardize how it is done. While there are standards for making such changes access, he wanted to ensure everyone was following these. One thing he learned during the training process was he needed better time management for himself. 

Deborah Rodriguez, Access Control Technical Assistant, decided to tackle the extensive list of building access authorizers. Usually, this list is reviewed twice a year. She set out to verify if these individuals were still in charge and that the list was current. After three months and many phone calls, the Central Campus portion is complete. This goal is ongoing. The whole team saves tons of time when making a change or calling a building/access authorizer with an issue with an up-to-date list. Also, during the process, the departments became more engaged.

Neil Carney, Systems and Services Administrator, and Sheldon Gatison, Security Systems Specialist, shared a goal – increasing the awareness and adoption rate of the LiveSafe App. They looked at other institutions setting a benchmark, did dozens of zoom presentations with departments, and exceeded their goal! 

Jason Tucker, Facilities Operations Service Center Specialist focused on reducing specific alarm types, specifically door-held or forced alarms for the access control system. He reviewed the current process and worked to put in place a new one. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, he had difficulty visiting some sites and had to rely on remote programming to make changes. Yet, he was able to reduce these alarm types by 10%.

Jacqueline Killips, Systems and Services Administrator, manages the YPS video management system, which has approximiately 2,500 cameras across campus. She set out to identify each camera’s purpose, owner, and a snapshot of the field of view. This project is ongoing, and Jackie was able to get it set up and start documenting information. As a result, the department will have a history of each camera which is helpful with maintenance, lifestyle, and when detectives or others may need footage from any of them.

“This OKR process was more successful than the measurements show. Goals are set, but you don’t worry about failures or successes as long as you move forward. When you empower your team to make a difference, they will shock you in a good way. We presented the results to Yale Public Safety leadership, and they were really excited and extremely impressed,” says Dave Boyd.