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Police Patrol

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The Purpose and Effectiveness of Police Patrols
To begin studying this topic I’d like to provide a brief definition of a patrol officer. In law enforcement, patrol officers are uniformed police officers assigned to patrol specified geographic areas. They are the officers most commonly encountered by the public. Their duties include responding to calls for service, making arrests, resolving disputes, taking crime reports, and conducting traffic enforcement, and other crime prevention measures. The patrol officer is the first on the scene to arrive. What they do or fail to do at the scene can greatly influence the outcome of an investigation. The patrol officer, as the person daily in the field, is closest to potential crime and oftentimes has probably developed contacts that can provide information that may assist in solving the crime. The general purpose of police patrols whether on foot, bicycle, horseback or motor vehicle is to have a visible presence in the community, maintain public order and a sense of security in the community, build relationships with citizens and business owners, and deter crime especially in trouble spots.

The basic activities of these patrols are divided into four different categories.

Preventive Patrol – By maintaining a presence in a community patrol officers prevent crime from occurring. This usually accounts for about 40% of the officer’s time. Calls For Service – This is when officers are responding to 911 calls for emergency service, or other citizen problems and complaints. This accounts for approx. 25% of the officer’s time

Administrative Duties – This is the general paperwork of the job, and takes up about 20% of the officer’s time Officer initiated activities – These are incidents in which the patrol officer initiates contact with citizens such as making traffic stops, checking on something suspicious, questioning…...

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