Police officers have an important
role in our communities. They serve and protect our communities. They serve by
helping in times of crisis and emergencies, and they protect our communities on
the road by giving tickets. The police are always the first ones to be informed
in time of need to deter illegal behavior.
The three functions of police patrol are crime control, order
maintenance, and service provision.
One function of police patrol is
crime control. It is said by both police officers and citizens that crime
control is the primary function of police patrol. It involves situations where
the law has been violated and the suspect needs to be identified, located, and
apprehended. While it is said that crime control is the primary function it is
however a large myth. Observational studies of the police have repeatedly
revealed that police actually spend very little time on crime-related
activities, typically less than 30% (qtd in Alpert, Durham, and Stroshine 173).
It relies on three primary tactics: 1) motorized patrol, 2) rapid response to
calls for service and 3) criminal investigation which has also been
questionable of the effectiveness of the tactics. Preventative patrol is the
primary control tactic of the police and it is based on the belief that
criminals can be deterred from engaging in illegal activities if they had
constant encounters with them. A set of
reason’s for rapid response is it improves the ability of police to apprehend
suspects. Many people postpone reporting the crime which diminishes the
likelihood to apprehend the suspect. While rapid response is not one of the
most important it does have a great impact on citizens. If the officer responds
to the scene faster than expected the citizen is likely to be more satisfied
with them. Criminal investigation is
reflected in the job of a detective. They are viewed as “super” crime fighters
that play an instrumental role in the crime control function of the police.
One; detectives spend little time of their time on activities that lead to
solving a crime. They mainly spend little of their time on cases that have
already been solved. Two; solving crimes has little to do with any special
activities conducted by investigators.
Another function of police patrol is
order maintenance. It comes into play when individuals clash or in situations
that threaten to disturb the peace. Many say crime fighting is the primary role
of the police but scholars argue that order maintenance is the primary role. It
involves a range of situations including domestic quarrels, bar fights, loud
music, traffic enforcement and vagrancy.
They determine how to resolve matters peacefully which sometimes it
isn’t an easy task. Sometime it is difficult to determine the cause of the
problem, what occurred, and what needs to be done to correct it. Due to the
unclear situation the people are resented and held in low esteem by the police.
The last purpose of police control is
service provision. There are officers available twenty-four seven to provide a
variety of public services: emergency aid, information, safety services, animal
control and referrals to other social services which they also spend a lot time
providing it. While it does take away time from them to fight crime or order
maintenance functions it does help the service function in preventing crime and
disorder. It also helps them control crime and it gives officers the
opportunity to gain knowledge about the community and helps citizens trust the
While many say crime fighting is the
most important; studies say they spend most of their time on order maintenance
and service functions. The three
functions of police patrol are crime control, order maintenance, and service provision.
Officers are an important part of our communities and without them this world
would be chaotic.