Aug 17

How can Excel Help in the Efficient Allocation of Resources?

As stated by David M. Kennedy in The Strategic Management of Police Resources, American police departments often deal with an increase in serious crime and service calls. At the same time, their resources remain constant or sometimes even decline.

Police executives often feel pressured to do more with less, as growing crime rates and limited resources strain their departments. They are tasked with performing new responsibilities such as community policing, problem-solving, and fear mitigation while maintaining regular law enforcement duties as well.

Balancing these tasks is challenging, especially when resources are limited. Therefore, law enforcement departments respond by striving to improve the efficiency of police operations by focusing on the efficient allocation of resources.

Why is the Efficient Allocation of Resources Significant in Law Enforcement?

Police departments operate in an environment of scarcity, where there are typically more demands for services that can be met with available resources. These resources are not only financial but also include personnel time, physical equipment, and organizational attention.Several reasons that highlight the importance of efficient resource allocation in policing are as follows:

Managing High Workload

Police departments face high workloads and demands from the public. These calls for service can vary significantly, from urgent crimes in progress to minor nuisances or social service needs. Efficient resource allocation allows departments to address these varying demands effectively by dedicating an appropriate amount of resources to each type of call based on its urgency, severity, and impact on community safety and quality of life.

Operational Flexibility

Kennedy stated that people expect officers to come when they call every single time, but it is wishful thinking because of the resource constraints. Furthermore, he wrote that the creativity, flexibility, and individual initiative that community policing demands cannot easily be combined with the paramilitary hierarchy and draconian management style’. It highlights how strict and restrictive rules and regulations actually inhibit the performance of officers in crime control.

With efficient allocation, departments can be more agile and flexible, which can help them adapt to changing circumstances or demands. This flexibility enables police to respond to unexpected situations, explore innovative strategies, and manage their resources in new and more productive ways.

Driving Innovation

Efficient allocation allows departments to experiment with and implement innovative policing strategies. These can include community policing, problem-solving policing, or hot spot policing. While these strategies might increase the workload or demands for service in the short term, they have the potential to improve conditions and reduce crime and calls for service in the long term.

Measuring Performance and Effectiveness

Resource allocation helps measure the effectiveness of police strategies with clarity and abundant evidence because law enforcement departments can track how the police resources were used and assess whether the strategy was effective. This approach contributes significantly to evidence-based policing, data-driven decision-making, and continuous improvement.

Coping with Budget Constraints

Kennedy highlighted  that police resources, meaning police department budgets, are largely static. Therefore, law enforcement departments often operate under budget constraints and the need for efficient resource allocation becomes paramount. It can help maximize the effectiveness of every dollar spent and ensure that the most important services are adequately funded.

Strategic Management

Kennedy stated that the new strategies, with their wider range of tactics, new menus of possible responsibilities, and new roles for officers and managers, will require more strategic management and hard choices about resource allocation. Therefore, the ever-evolving nature of policing strategies means that departments are constantly faced with new responsibilities. To fulfill them effectively, efficient resource allocation is essential as it helps police executives to make hard choices about which responsibilities to accept and how to implement policies effectively.

Thus, efficient resource allocation is crucial in policing as it helps manage high workloads, drive innovation, measure effectiveness, cope with budget constraints, and enable strategic management. By doing so, it can lead to improved police performance and community safety, even in the face of increasing demands and evolving strategies.

Role of Excel in the Efficient Allocation of Resources in Law Enforcement

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool with numerous capabilities for organizing, analyzing, and visualizing data. When it comes to resource allocation, especially in industries like policing, where resources are often stretched thin, by mastering this tool through comprehensive law enforcement training courses, officers can ensure they are making the most out of their resources.

Excel can provide the necessary insights to make more efficient decisions by using its following features:

Data Organization

Excel allows officers to collect and manage data effectively. Details about personnel, budget, equipment, call information, and much more can all be stored, sorted, and filtered efficiently in Excel. Furthermore, data collected regarding hot spots in different locations can also be organized in dashboards to show which area needs more attention.

This clean organization of data is the first step toward understanding police resources and how they are currently allocated. With this acquired information, law enforcement agencies can allocate resources more optimally in the future.

Data Analysis

Excel comes equipped with a wide range of analysis tools. From simple sum and average formluae to more complex functions, Excel can help analyze large datasets quickly.

For example, by analyzing call data, police departments can identify high-demand periods or areas that require more resources. Similarly, analysis of personnel data can reveal who is overworked and who might be available for additional tasks - ultimately making effective resource allocation possible.


Excel's data visualization tools, including charts, graphs, and conditional formatting, can help highlight patterns and trends, that might not be obvious, in a simple data table or graph.

These data visualizations can aid in the decision-making process as they provide a clear picture of where resources are currently allocated and where there may be gaps. With this valuable information, police departments can allocate more resources where there are gaps to control crime effectively.


Excel's forecasting tools can forecast future crime trends based on historical data. Excel's forecast sheet generates visual forecasts from historical data. The LINEST function applies linear regression for future data forecasting, complemented by the TREND function for linear trend extension. The moving average analysis smoothens short-term data fluctuations, highlighting longer-term trends.

This forecasted data can be particularly useful for strategic planning that allows law enforcement departments to anticipate high-demand police service periods and allocate more resources to cater them accordingly.

Scenario Analysis

Excel's scenario analysis features allow law enforcement departments to explore the potential outcomes of different resource allocation strategies. By changing various inputs, departments can see how different allocation strategies affect outcomes such as response times, case resolution rates, or officer workload. 

With this approach, law enforcement agencies are able to gauge which resource allocation strategy will bring about the best crime control results - and then officers cab implement it. 


With Excel, much of the data analysis process can be automated - which can save time and reduce the possibility of human errors. 

For example, departments could automatically update key metrics or set up automated alerts to be announced when certain thresholds are reached. This way, law enforcement officers can focus more on their core tasks instead of redundant tasks of basic data analyses. 

Therefore, Excel offers enormous potential for the efficient allocation of resources within law enforcement agencies to optimize their agency's effectiveness and performance..

Get the Best Law Enforcement Excel Spreadsheets Certification Online

BlueForce Learning, a leading online skills learning platform, offers comprehensive law enforcement training programs designed to empower officers with essential data skills. Our hands-on Excel courses are designed specifically for law enforcement officers as it offers real-world examples and practical skills that are useful in the modern law enforcement landscape.

The course focuses on various aspects of Excel that are crucial for the effective allocation of resources. By undertaking this training, officers can acquire the skills necessary to transform data into meaningful insights, promote efficient resource management, and significantly enhance the performance and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies.

By investing in Law Enforcement Excel Spreadsheets training today, law enforcement agencies can make better policing strategies with limited resources and ensure effective crime control.