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Walker, chapter 7


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  • 1. Police in America Chapter Seven Patrol: The Backbone of Policing
  • 2. The Central Role of Patrol
    • Majority of police officers assigned to patrol
    • Gatekeepers of the CJ System and therefore most important decision makers
    • Experience on patrol formative part of police officer’s career
    • Least desirable assignment
  • 3. The Functions of Patrol
      • To deter crime
      • To enhance feelings of public safety
      • To make officers available for service
  • 4. The Organization and Delivery of Patrol
    • Factors affecting the delivery of patrol services
      • Number of sworn officers
        • Police-population ratio
      • Assignment to Patrol
      • Distribution of Patrol Officers
      • One versus two officer cars
      • Work styles of officers
    • “ Hot Spots”
      • An area that receives a disproportionate number of calls for police service/ has a high crime rate
    • Types of Patrol:
      • - Foot patrol
      • Automobile patrol
        • - One officer versus two officer cars
    • Staffing Patrol Beats
      • - On any given night, no officer is available for many patrol beats
      • - Police patrol is very expensive
  • 5. Styles of Patrol
    • Individual Styles
      • Officer-initiated activity
        • Includes stopping, questioning, frisking suspicious citizens, stopping vehicles, writing traffic tickets, etc.
        • Amount varies between departments
    • Supervisor Styles
      • Also affect an officer’s level of activity
  • 6. Organizational Styles
    • James Q. Wilson identified three distinct organizational styles.
    • The watchman style emphasizes peace-keeping without aggressive law enforcement and few controls over rank-and-file officers.
    • The legalistic style emphasizes aggressive crime-fighting an attempts to control officer behavior through a rule-bound, “by the book” administrative approach.
    • The service style emphasizes responsiveness to community expectations and is generally found in suburban police departments where there is relatively little crime.
  • 7. Patrol Supervision
    • The Role of Sergeant: Patrol supervision is usually accomplished by the sergeant on duty.
    • The principle of span of control holds that a supervisor can effectively manage only a limited number of people.
    • The recommended span of control is one sergeant for about every eight officers.
  • 8. The Communications Center
    • The Nerve Center of Policing
      • 911 Communications center
        • Citizen-dominated
        • Reactive
        • Incident-based
    • 911 Systems
    • Processing Calls for Service
    • Operator-Citizen Interactions
  • 9. 911 Systems
    • Introduced by AT&T Company in 1968
    • 911 systems contributed to increase in calls for service
      • To handle this increase, departments assign priorities to incoming calls based on seriousness of problem
      • Police able to more efficiently manage delayed responses to non-emergency calls
  • 10. Processing Calls for Service
    • Communication center operators
      • Obtain information from caller and makes decision about appropriate response
      • Exercise tremendous discretion
      • Only ½ of all calls to 911 result in a dispatch
      • Operators ask questions of callers
      • Operators assess situation
      • Operators decide how many and which officers to dispatch
      • Patrol officers responding to calls experience great uncertainty
  • 11. Operator-Citizen Interactions
    • Need to provide officers with as much accurate information as possible
    • Interactions lengthy, involving many questions
      • Some questions are a threat to caller’s trustworthiness
      • Others are a threat to caller’s personal character/judgment
  • 12. The Systematic Study of Police Patrol
    • Patrol is point of most police-citizen interactions
    • Studying patrol is difficult and expensive due to decentralized nature of the job
      • Studies of police patrol include:
        • American Bar Foundation Survey (1956-1957)
        • President’s Crime Commission (1965-1967)
        • Police Services Study (1977)
        • Project on Policing Neighborhoods (1996-1997)
    • Standards for Systematic Social Observation
      • Designed to provide accurate, representative picture
      • Trained observers follow officer everywhere the officer goes
      • Take field notes which officer can then read
  • 13. The Call Service Workload
    • The Volume of Calls
      • Depends on the area
      • Minneapolis: 550 per year versus St. Paul: 221 per year
    • Types of Calls
      • Order maintenance calls
      • Service calls
      • However, many situations are ambiguous
  • 14. Aspects of Patrol Work
    • Response Time
      • 1. Discovery Time
        • Cannot be controlled by officers
      • 2. Reporting Time
      • 3. Processing Time
      • 4. Travel Time
    • Reasons why citizens delay calling
      • 1. Need to verify crime occurred
      • 2. Regain composure
      • 3. Call a friend or family member first
      • 4. Decide whether to involve police
      • 5. Telephone not immediately available
  • 15. Aspects of Patrol Work Continued
    • Officer use of patrol time
      • Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN) studies routine police work
        • Found that regular patrol officers spend only 20 percent of shift interacting with citizens
        • Rest of time spent on general patrol and traveling
    • Evading duty
      • Delay in reporting the completion of a call
    • High-speed pursuits
      • A situation where a police officer attempts to stop a vehicle and the suspect knowingly flees at a high rate of speed
      • Highly dangerous situation
      • Decision to engage in pursuit based on judgment of officer
  • 16. The Effectiveness of Patrol
    • Kansas City Preventative Patrol Experiment
      • Controversial results
      • Challenged traditional assumptions about patrol
    • Initial Experiments
      • Operation 25
      • Methodologically flawed
    • Newark Foot Patrol Experiment
            • - Crime
            • - Citizen Attitudes
  • 17. Improving Traditional Patrol
    • Differential Response Calls
      • Classifying calls according to seriousness
    • Telephone Reporting Units
      • Handle 10-20% of calls on some shifts
    • 311 Nonemergency Numbers
    • Non-English 911 Call Services
    • Reverse 911
      • Allows police to call citizens
    • Computers and Video Cameras in Patrol Cars
      • Increase accountability
    • Police Aides or Cadets
      • - Unsworn officers
    • Street Skills Training for Patrol Officers
      • - High-risk, low-frequency events
    • Directed Patrol and “Hot Spots”
      • - Look for specific crimes or people, patrol certain areas
    • Customer Feedback
    • Beyond Traditional Patrol
      • - Taking more proactive measures