Police patrol

Technological innovations like two-way radio, cell phones and computer terminals in patrol cars have dramatically expanded police agencies' reach.

Police patrol

While on patrol, officers may look for traffic violations, suspicious behavior, disorder, and unsafe conditions. They may also look for opportunities to interact with the public in casual or more formal situations.

This is all considered patrolling.


The time that police officers spend handling calls for service is also considered part of patrol work. Officers on patrol respond to calls, take reports, quell disturbances, and so forth. The combination of these two sets of activities—patrolling and handling calls—occupy most of the time of patrol officers, who in turn represent most of the personnel in the typical police department.

Thus, patrol is the main business of policing. New police officers are usually assigned to patrol duties and are often called patrol officers. The largest unit in most police departments is the patrol division; in small police departments, everyone patrols. When we call for police assistance, whether for an emergency, to report a crime, to quiet a disturbance, or to request some type of routine service, Police patrol patrol officer is typically dispatched.

When we encounter the police in that most ubiquitous of all enforcement situations, a traffic stop, it is usually an officer on patrol who has stopped us.

Patrol as Watching Before the advent of two-way radios, police Police patrol patrol had one primary purpose— watching. It was and is expected that police on patrol will prevent some crime and disorder by their watchfulness.

Also, they should effectively intervene when they discover law breaking in progress. In the middle ages, the military and quasi-military precursors of modern police patrolled Europe, watching for highway robbers.

In England, the sheriff and his men patrolled on the lookout for those who poached game on lands owned by the king and other nobles.

Patrol as Watching

In the American South in the s, slave patrols watched for runaway slaves. As urbanization took hold in the early s and s, night watchmen and later uniformed foot patrol officers watched for all kinds of crime and disorder in cities and towns.

Patrol as Waiting Automobiles and two-way radios dramatically affected police patrol in the twentieth century. As more and more of the public got into cars, so did the police.

Police patrol

Motorized police patrol was deemed necessary to pursue motorized criminals and to enforce traffic laws. Motorized patrol also came to be seen as more efficient than foot patrol, since a larger area could be watched by police in cars.

Then, the addition of the two-way radio made it possible for personnel at police headquarters to contact patrol officers in the field and dispatch them to respond to citizen requests for assistance.

The impact of these two basic technologies should not be underestimated.

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Before cars and radios, police response to emergencies and other crises was more like the fire department model—from the station. Officers on patrol were out on the streets watching, but they were not in continuous communication with headquarters.

As the twentieth century progressed, police patrol became more and more dependent on the car and the radio. The public learned to call the police whenever crime or disorder was suspected, and calls for police assistance increased steadily. Over time, that portion of the workload of patrol officers represented by call handling increased.

By the s, a second fundamental purpose of patrol had taken root—waiting. As waiting joined watching as a purpose of patrol, and in some cases largely replaced it, patrol became a more reactive and passive activity.

Research on Patrol Careful research on the practice and effectiveness of police patrol started slowly in the s and began to flourish in the s. Early findings focused primarily on the discovery that patrol officers exercised wide discretion when enforcing the law and maintaining order.

It was found that police invoke the law much less often than they could, often preferring to handle situations informally. Research on the makeup of patrol officer workload indicates about a fifty-fifty split between time spent handling calls and time spent patrolling, although, of course, this varies widely between jurisdictions and across different shifts.

Officers on the day shift handle relatively more routine crime reporting and public service duties, evening shift officers handle more disorders and disputes and crimes in progress, and night shift officers have less human interaction and focus more of their attention on the few businesses open during those hours and the security of the many businesses closed for the night.

Patrol workload is neither all crime fighting, as media portrayals might suggest, nor all mundane public service, as some early studies seemed to indicate.An unfiltered look at police departments in action. Multi-state chase through Indiana and Kentucky, breaking and entering in South Carolina.

Occupational Employment and Wages, May Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers. Maintain order and protect life and property by enforcing local, tribal, State, or Federal laws and ordinances.

Live PD: Police Patrol is a non-fiction series that brings viewers an unfiltered look at law enforcement officers in action across America. Every episode highlights the daily life-and-death situations faced by Sheriff's Departments, Highway Patrols and local Police Departments in a diverse range of jurisdictions from Connecticut to Arizona.

In Police Patrol your mission is to bust the bad guys fleeing away. You must be fast and furious while using your driving skills to catch up the criminal within a small time.6/10(10). May 19,  · Live PD: Police Patrol is a non-fiction weekend special series that brings viewers an unfiltered look at law enforcement officers in action across America.

Each episode highlights the daily life-and-death situations faced by Sheriff's Departments, Highway Patrols and local Police Departments in a diverse range of jurisdictions from /10(61).

Patrol accounts for the biggest portion of police work in most police agencies. The terms “patrolling” and ”on patrol” generally refer to what officers do while not handling calls for service—officers do this mostly in patrol cars, but sometimes on foot, on bicycles, on horseback, or the like.

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