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The Police in America, 4/e
Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska
Charles M. Katz, Arizona State University-West

Police Work
Patrol: Tha Backbone of Policing

Chapter Outline


Chapter Four: Patrol: The Backbone of Policing

Lecture Outline

I.	Introduction: the central role of patrol, the backbone of policing
	A. The majority of police officers assigned to patrol deliver the bulk of services; patrol is 
	     visible symbol of the police
	B. Patrol officers are "gatekeepers" of the criminal justice system; they are the most 
	     important decision makers in policing
	C. These are the formative part of a police officer's career
		1. Assignments based on seniority
		2. New officers start out on patrol duty
		3. "Street experience" creates bond of experience among officers
	D. Patrol duty is considered the least desirable

II. The functions of patrol
	A. To deter crime
	B. To enhance feelings of public safety
	C. To make officers available for service 

III. The organization and delivery of patrol
	A. Number of sworn officers: police-population ratio
		1. Has little relationship to crime rate or calls for service
		2. Cities with high crime rates often have more officers (why? high crime rates result
                in public demand for more police)
	B. Allocation and distribution of officers to patrol
		1. Should be based on standard workload formula (O.W. Wilson)
		2. Time of day
			a. more serious crimes, more disturbances occur at night
			b. result: more officers assigned to evening/night shifts
		3. Location
			a. crime and disorder more prevalent in poorer neighborhoods
			b. racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately low-income
			c. result: more officers assigned to low-income and minority areas
		4. Issues
			a. no standard among police departments
			b. departments' failure to account for social and geographic change
	C.	Assignment to shifts and areas
		1. Variety in assignment methods
			a. seniority system
			b. rotation
		2. Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)-effects of frequent shift rotation
			a. loss of sleep
			b. health problems
			c. on-the-job accidents
			d. disrupted family lives 
			e. low morale
	D.	"Hot spots"
		1. Areas that receive disproportionate number of calls for service and/or high crime rate
		2. Minneapolis study
			a. 5% of addresses accounted for 64% of all calls
			b. 60% of addresses never called the police
	E.	Types of patrol
		1. Most police patrol in U.S. (84%) is automobile patrol 
		2. Automobile provides more efficient coverage than foot patrol
			a. patrol car can:
				i. cover more area, pass each point more often
				ii. patrol in an unpredictable manner
				iii. respond quickly to calls for service
			b. conversion from foot to automobile patrol occurred between 1920s and 1950s
			c. consequence of patrol car
				i. loss of direct contact with citizens, especially the law abiding
				ii. citizens see police as an occupying army
	F.	Foot patrol
		1. Police-community relations crisis of 1960s--restoration of foot patrol
		2. Also incorporated in community policing programs
		3. Costs
			a. can only cover a limited area
			b. expensive
		4. Benefits
			a. gains in police-community relations
	G.	One-officer vs. two-officer cars
		1. Rank and file officers believe two officer units are safer
		2. Most patrol units involve single officers
		3. One officer units more efficient than two officer units
		4. Police Foundation Study-San Diego
			a. one officer units:
				i. assaulted less often, less involved in resisting arrest
				ii. made more arrests
				iii. wrote more crime reports
			b. police officer safety concern appears exaggerated
	H.	Staffing patrol beats
		1. Police patrol is expensive, labor intensive
		2. One single beat requires almost five officers
		3. Departments have difficult time fully staffing patrol beats

IV.	Styles of patrol
	A.	Individual styles
		1. Amount of police work done depends on officers' work styles
		2. Officer-initiated actions
	          (EX: stopping, questioning, and frisking citizens, vehicle stops, arrests, etc.)
		3. Citizen-initiated calls: officers' actions
			a. observe the situation and leave
			b. take control of the situation
	B.	Supervisors' styles
		1. Officer activity also shaped by supervisor style:
			a. close supervision-
				i. regular contact with officers
				ii. demand levels of output
				    (EX: arrests, field interrogations)
			b. detached supervision-
				i. limited contact with officers
				ii. let officers determine levels of output
	C.	Organizational styles
		1. Three distinct styles--James Q. Wilson
		2. Watchman
			a. emphasizes peacekeeping
			b. no aggressive law enforcement
			c. little control over officers
		3. Legalistic
			a. emphasizes aggressive crime-fighting
			b. greater control over officers
		4. Service
			a. emphasizes responsiveness to community expectations
			b. generally found in suburban departments--little crime

V.	Patrol supervision
	A.	The role of the sergeant
		1. Style of supervision affects amount of patrol officer work
		2. Span of control
			a. supervisor can effectively manage only a limited number of people
			b. balance must be maintained between:
				i. higher cost of small crews
				ii. potential loss of discipline if crews are too large
			c. recommended span is one sergeant to eight-ten officers
		3. Sergeants have different work styles; active sergeants:
			a. have more contact with officers under their command
			b. are more likely to communicate specific instructions/objectives
		4. Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN) findings
			a. supervisors spend 30% of time in encounters with other officers and citizens
			b. spend slightly more time (one-third) in general patrol
			c. when supervisors present at scenes with encounters	
				i. did not discuss incident with officer at any time during work shift
				ii. when incident discussed, usually in form of suggestion rather than order
		5. Although important, little research exists on sergeants
	B.	How much police protection? A summary: number of sworn officers in department 
            does not reflect police protection

VI.	The communications center
	A.	The nerve center of policing
		1. Contemporary 911-driven police work
			a. citizen dominated
			b. reactive
			c. incident based
			d. critics refer to this system as "dial a cop"
				i. argue that the 911 system runs the department
				ii. prevents any rational planning and proactive police response
		2. Communications center
			a. receives incoming calls from citizens
			b. uses discretion in how to handle the calls
			c. in many cases dispatches patrol cars to the scene of incidents
			d. decisions play a major role in shaping police work
			e. often staffed by civilians
	B.	911 systems
		1. 911 number first introduced in 1968
		2. Have contributed to the great increase in calls for service
	C.	Processing calls for service
		1. Information processing system
			a. operator: obtains information from caller and makes decision about response
			b. dispatcher: receives call from operator and dispatchers call to patrol officer
		2. Approximately half of all calls received result in dispatch of officer
		3. Obtaining information from citizens is often difficult
			a. calls may provide vague, inaccurate information
			b. callers may be:
				i. confused or frightened
				ii. intoxicated or mentally disturbed
		4. Dispatcher makes important decisions
			a. decides which patrol unit to dispatch, based on officer availability
			b. decides if situation requires emergency response
		5. Patrol officer process of information
			a. information received is often limited, inaccurate
			b. respond to calls with great uncertainty
			c. most departments do not require detailed reports on handling of calls

VII.	The systematic study of police patrol
	A. Studying patrol work is expensive, difficult, but extremely important
	B. 4 major observational studies
		1. American Bar Foundation Survey, 1956-57
		2. President's Crime Commission, 1965-67
		3. Police Services Study, 1977
		4. Project on Policing Neighborhoods, 1996-97

VIII.	The call service workload
	A.	The volume of calls: workload produced by 911 systems varies widely among departments
	B.	Types of calls
		1. Routine patrol work involves handling "anything and everything"
		2. Results of data on 911 workload
			a. criminal enforcement represents a minority of all calls for service
			b. majority of crime-related calls involve property crimes
			c. most police work involves order maintenance or conflict management
			d. many situations are ambiguous and require officer discretion
			e. many order maintenance and service calls involve family problems
			f. low income citizens are the heaviest users of police services

IX.	Aspects of patrol work
	A.	Response time
		1. Quick response time has traditionally been a top police priority; under traditional 
                policing, professionalism was defined by quick response
		2. Both citizens and police believe that quick response time will: 
			a. increase probability of arrest
			b. increase public satisfaction
		3. Research does not support quick response time
			a. response time has little effect on clearance rates
			b. amount of time between commission of crime and officer arrival depends on:
				i. discovery time--most crime are "cold crimes"
				ii. reporting time--victims delay in calling the police
				iii. processing time
				iv. travel time
			c. discovery, reporting and processing time beyond control of the police
		4. Reasons for victim delay in calling police
			a. verification that crime has occurred
			b. try to cope with problems created by the crime
				i. may wait to regain composure
				ii. may first call friend or family member
				iii. telephone not available
				iv. may not know police phone number
				v. trouble communicating with the police
		5. Citizen satisfaction
			a. affected by response time
			b. more likely dissatisfied when expecting quick response but not receiving it
			c. citizens may be satisfied if informed about delayed response time
	B.	Officer use of patrol time
		1. Committed time: officer occupied with handling calls
		2. Uncommitted time
			a. patrol
			b. non-police related activity (eating, personal business)
			c. stationary police-related activities (report time)
			d. residual time (traveling to and from police stations)
		3. Officer presence is visible regardless of activity
		4. Arrest--major impact on use of time
			a. arrest can take one-two hours processing
			b. many arrests require at least two officers
			c. arrests remove officers from the street 
	C.	Evasion of duty: delay reporting completion of a call
			a. dispatcher assumes officer is still committed
			b. officers can create free time by delaying a call
	D.	High speed pursuits
		1. Defined: situation where a police officer attempts to stop a vehicle and a suspect 
                knowingly flees at a high rate of speed
		2. Fairly common
		3. Poses serious risk to officers, suspects, other drivers, bystanders
		4. Studying pursuits--difficult due to underreporting by officers
			a. many pursuits short in duration
			b. do not report if in violation of department's pursuit policy
		5. Until recently, officers had complete discretion to initiate a pursuit
		6. Currently three types of police pursuit policies
			a. restrictive: specify conditions under which pursuits may or may not be initiated
			b. discouraging: advise officers against pursuits in certain situations
			c. discretionary: give officers broad discretion about whether to engage in pursuits

X.	The effectiveness of patrol
	A.	Initial experiments
		1. Research in 1950s and 1960s did not meet contemporary standards of research
			a. Operation 25 (New York City)
			b. claimed increased patrol reduced muggings and auto thefts
			c. methodologically flawed
				i. no independent evaluation
				ii. no control for potential crime displacement
				iii. no control for other variables' effect on criminal activity 
	B.	The Kansas City Preventative Patrol Experiment (1972-1973)
		1. Landmark event in American policing
		2. First experiment testing patrol effectiveness with standards of scientific research
		3. Funded by the Police Foundation--independent and objective evaluation
		4. Design: fifteen beats divided into three groups
			a. reactive beats: no preventative patrol, officers entered only to respond to calls
			b. proactive beats: beats patrolled two to three times the normal rate
			c. control beats: normal level of patrol
		5. Measured impact of different levels of patrol
			a. criminal activity
				i. reported crime
				ii. arrest
				iii. victimization survey
			b. community perceptions and attitudes
			c. police officer behavior and police department practices
		6. Findings and implications
			a. no significant effect on:
				i. criminal activity
				ii. citizen feelings of safety/fear of crime
				iii. citizen attitudes toward police
				iv. crime rates
				v. citizen recognition of different levels of police patrol
			b. did not prove that routine patrol has no effect on crime
		7. Explanations for no impact on crime or public perceptions
			a. patrol is spread so thin--doubling patrol not likely to have additional impact
			b. crimes that occur indoors not likely to be deterred by patrol
			c. "phantom effect"--people believe police are present when no patrol in area
                       (people have seen police at other times and assume continual presence)
			d. experiment only tested levels of patrol not officer activities
		8. Methodological flaws
			a. police vehicles from other units added to visible police presence
			b. officers in reactive beats used lights and sirens more often in call response
			c. higher incidence of two or more calls responding for service in reactive beats
		9. Implications
			a. officers' uncommitted time might be used more effectively
			b. stimulated questions as to whether findings could be applied to foot patrol
	D.	The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment (1978-1979)
		1. Designed similarly to Kansas City Preventative Patrol Experiment
		2. Design: beats divided into three groups
			a. additional foot patrol
			b. reduced foot patrol
			c. control beats
		3. Measured impact of different levels of foot patrol		
			a. crime 
			b. arrest rates
			c. community attitudes  
		4. Findings and implications
			a. additional foot patrol did not reduce serious crime
			b. different levels of patrol had a significant effect on citizen attitudes
				i. reduced fear of crime
				ii. more positive attitudes toward the police 
			c. foot patrol officers had more positive attitudes about citizens
			d. data suggest positive benefits of foot patrol on attitudes is a two-way street
	E.	New questions, new approaches: Both Kansas City and Newark patrol experiments were
            major turning points in thinking about police.
		1. Findings showed that some police presence may have some deterrent effect
		2. Simply adding more patrol does not reduce crime
		3. Experiments tested only amount of patrol, not officer activity

XI.	Improving patrol
	A. Traditional approaches
		1. Patrol deterred crime
		2. Quick police response time is important
		3. Maximize patrol coverage
			a. convert from foot patrol to automobile patrol
			b. use one officer rather than two officer units
			c. distribute patrol based on workload formula
			d. improve communications systems to reduce response time
	B.	Differential response to calls
		1. Calls classified according to seriousness
			a. immediate response by sworn officer
			b. delayed response by sworn officer
			c. no police response: (reports taken over telephone, by mail, or in person)
		2. Differential response experiments-successful results
			a. both citizen and officer satisfaction
			b. increased overall quality of call for service system
				i. increased amount of information obtained from callers
				ii. callers received more accurate information on expected response time
				iii. patrol officers received more detailed information prior to response
	C.	Telephone reporting units (TRUs)
		1. Handle calls when citizen reports crime but no immediate police response is necessary;
                almost half of reported crimes are "cold" and require nothing more than report
		2. Typically staffed by officers on "light duty" due to injury
	D.	311 non-emergency numbers
		1. calls from 911 that are non-emergency can be transferred to 311
		2. calls from 311 that are emergency can be transferred to 911
	E.	Non-English 911 call services
		1. Growing number of people in American do not speak or have limited use of English
		2. Creates a major problem for the police
	          (EX: Hispanics less likely to call the police due to language barriers)
		3. Police departments may subscribe to translation services 
	F.	Reverse 911
		1. Instead of calling police-system allows police to call citizens
           	    (EX: Can alert business owners about robberies in the neighborhood)
	G.	Computers and video cameras in patrol cars
		1. Computer terminals allow officers to obtain information and file reports
		2. Video cameras document behavior of both citizens and officers; help resolve 
                controversies over events
	H.	Police aides or cadets
		1. Handle non-emergency calls that do not require the presence of a sworn officer
		2. Not widely adopted-opposition from police unions
	I. "Hot spots" patrol
		1. Provides officers with specific duties to perform and freedom from 911 response
	          (EX: Instruction to look for specific persons, types of crimes, etc.)
		2. Evaluations show mixed results
	J. Beyond traditional patrol-in light of experiments and innovations in police patrol, 
          change has been limited

XII.	Summary