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OBJECTIVE: Cadets will learn about the evolution of police patrols and its impact on crime.
Introduction to Patrol

Patrol is the first line of defense against crime. Why? Because it puts you where the people are. It promotes contact with citizens so they get to know their police officer. Patrols allow for officers to be nearby when a cry for help comes in to the dispatcher. Patrol officers may even stumble upon a crime or hazardous situation that requires immediate attention, such as a street sign twisted so it missidentifies the cross street, the traffic signal that isn't working, the pothole left by last night's rain, the broken tree limb that brought down a live electric line, or a gas leak that could explode when someone lights a cigarette. The first assignment you will receive as a new officer will probably be patrol. Your job will be to poke your nose into places the public would pass by with little notice. It may sound like its not much fun, but when approached with the right attitude, patrol is one of the more interesting aspects of police work.
How Police Hit the Street

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 serviceofficers do this mostly in patrol cars, but sometimes on foot, on bicycles, on horseback, or the like. While on patrol, officers may: Look for traffic violations suspicious behavior disorder unsafe conditions.

They may also look for opportunities to interact with the public in casual or more formal situations. This is all considered patrolling. We closely associate the term patrol with the police today. 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, a 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.

History of Patrol
In the middle ages, the military was the forerunner of modern police. They 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. As more and more people moved to urban areas in the early 1800s and 1900s, night watchmen and later uniformed foot patrol officers watched for all kinds of crime and disorder in cities and towns.

Before cars and radios, police response to emergencies and other crises was more like the fire department modelfrom the station. Officers on patrol were out on the streets watching, but they were not in continuous communication with headquarters. It was (and is) expected that police on patrol will prevent some crime and disorder by their watchfulness and take action when they discover law breaking in progress.

Patrol on Wheels
Then two technologies changed everything: car and two-way radios. The impact of these two basic technologies was enormous.

Automobiles dramatically affected police patrol in the twentieth century. As more and more of the public got into cars, so did the police. 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.

Somebody Call the Police!

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.

Research on Patrol
Research on the makeup of patrol officer workload indicates about a fiftyfifty 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.

One or Two?
A major issue in the 1970s was one-officer versus two-officer patrol cars. The conventional wisdom at the time was that two patrol officers per car were more effective because of the value of two sets of eyes watching and two sets of hands if something happened. Also, it was assumed that two officers in a patrol car were safer than one officer alone. Research found, though, that one-officer cars were as safe and as productive as two-officer cars. To this day, many officers still prefer two-officer patrol cars for the companionship and perceived safety advantages that they offer,

but modern practice relies mainly on one-officer cars in the vast majority of agencies. Is Faster, Better? Definition: Response time
Time from when citizen dials 911 to when police officers arrive

Research studies of police response time, conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s, surprisingly revealed that immediate police response to reported crimes rarely leads to an arrest, nor is it the crucial factor in victim satisfaction. Immediate response rarely leads to arrests because the vast majority of crimes are property crimes reported after they have occurredthe suspect is long gone and the victim has no idea who did it. Moreover, victim satisfaction depends more on how empathetic and competent the officer is than merely on the rapidity of response. The Future of Patrol Despite significant changes during the past century or two, the work of patrol officers remains very challenging and controversial. Most use-of-force incidents, including deadly force, involve patrol officers responding to calls or investigating suspicious situations. Most high-speed chases involve patrol officers. New technologies and new strategies have some potential for preventing use-of-force tragedies, but it is unlikely that the necessity for split-second life-or-death decision making can ever be completely eliminated from police patrol work. The Benefits of Foot Patrol Another major research study in the early 1980s was the rediscovery of foot patrol. The study suggested that foot patrols make residents feel safer and enhance public regard for the police. The rediscovery of foot patrol also contributed to the rise of community policing. Foot patrol officers came to symbolized a police officer well known to neighborhood residents and working closely with them to address neighborhood problems, in contrast to the motorized patrol officer will little interaction with residents.

Community policing got officers out of their cars to actively work in partnership with neighborhood residents and other agencies to identify and solve specific local problems. Naturally, these patrol officers still must handle reported crimes and other calls for assistance, but when not handling calls, they emphasize problem solving more than watching or waiting. How Broken Windows Impact Crime But theres more... The rediscovery of foot patrol contributed to the development of the brokenwindows thesis. The Broken Window thesis in a nutshell: Foot patrol officers, as opposed to patrol officers in squad cars, are more likely to address minor crime and disorder problems on their beats, such as drunks, panhandlers, prostitutes, loud youths, and small-time drug dealers. When officers address these kinds of problems, residents notice, they feel safer, and they appreciate it. Residents who feel safer and who have more confidence in the police are then more likely to assert informal social control, which makes the neighborhood even safer. Reduced fear and enhanced safety encourages residents to remain in the neighborhood and encourages them to improve their properties, and attracts other residents and investors to the area; and a positive cycle of improvement continues. The broken-windows thesis has had a powerful impact on police strategies, crime prevention programming, and urban renewal over the past fifteen to twenty years. Consider this... Cadets should consider the impact of the Broken Window theory.

What if tomorrow gang graffiti was sprayed throughout the school? What if the school decided not to remove the graffiti, arguing whats the point, someone will only spray paint the school again.

Write a brief essay on what impact just ignoring vandalism would have on your perception of the rules for conduct? What would the long term impact be on your school if broken windows were not replaced or graffiti were not removed? Extended Activities Discuss the pros and cons of police officers patrolling in patrol vehicles as opposed to on foot. Which would you rather have in your neighborhood?


Observation Most citizens walk down the sidewalk oblivious to their surroundings, unless approached by a beggar or purse-snatcher, which often comes as a complete surprise due to their lack of awareness. As an officer, it is important for you to always be aware of the things that are going on around you and to try to remember all of the details of your surroundings. Learn to observe people, to note their differences and distinguishing features. Practice glancing at people quickly, then describing them. From your description could a fellow officer pick out the individual in a crowd? You'll find that with practice you'll see more than you ever thought possible. Exercise: Try this with the cadets. Have one cadet describe what another cadet is wearing today without looking at them. The Sixth Sense Some officers seem to have a sixth sense that tells them something is wrong. Police have simply learned to observe details of dress, actions, mannerisms, and appearance. These details may be so minor they're meaningless until they are viewed in the context of the total picture. Every time you make a good arrest, ask yourself, "What tipped me off that something was wrong? What caught my attention?" By analyzing each situation, you'll discover the seemingly insignificant action or thing that didn't fit. If you have a partner, talk it over together. You'll find that the vague feeling you get when something is wrong has a sound basis in your observation.

Two approaches to patrol There are two distinct philosophies of patrol. In one, you wear a distinctive uniform and drive a marked car with a light bar on top. The light bar has small bulbs, "cruise lights", that increase your visibility at night. On foot patrol, you walk at the curb side of the sidewalk and generally make yourself as conspicuous as possible. This lets your citizens know you are on the job and it forestalls contemplated actions by criminals. This is the technique for prevention. The other approach is more effective when your purpose is apprehension. You are in uniform but in an unmarked car with concealed emergency lights. On foot, you walk up close to the buildings, duck into doorways, and observe without being seen. When your purpose is apprehension, you are unobtrusive and avoid influencing a situation you are observing. When on patrol, use the approach that is most appropriate. If you are in an area you can't reach while sitting in a squad car, park your car and continue on foot. Avoid obvious routines You've analyzed your patrol area and determined a patrol routine that covers it effectively and efficiently. This routine is working, so why change it? Whether on foot or in a car, a criminal will quickly learn your routine and plan his actions accordingly. If he learns that you always start your evening patrol in the less populated areas then work your way toward the high crime areas later in the evening, he's going to hit the high crime area early in your shift or the residential area later. Be systematically unsystematic You want people to know you're on the job, but you never want them to know where you'll be next. Backtracking is one technique to break a patrol routine, and it works on foot or on wheels. After you've walked a particularly vulnerable area, turn around and walk it back the other way. On your walk back, duck into a doorway and wait for a while. Observe without being observed. If you are in a car you can drive around the block and cover it again, this time detouring up the alley. Patrolling at night

Use light and shadow to your advantage. When you enter a dark alley from a lighted street, wait for a few minutes to let your eyes adjust. This gives you a chance to watch for the movement of someone who saw you enter the alley. You might pass the alley entrance, then double back. Stand where you are shielded from the street so you aren't silhouetted against the street lights. Work your way through the alley by hugging the sides and ducking behind the dumpster. Use your light only when necessary, because it not only tips off the bad guys to your presence, it also makes a good target at which to aim a weapon. When walking a beat at night, you don't want to stroll down the street, trying every door and flashing your light around at random. Even an inexperienced crook can keep track of your movements. It may seem obvious, but it happens, because it's easy for humans to fall into a routine. Know your neighborhood There is a lot for you to learn about your patrol area. You need to know more than just every street name and how buildings are numbered. Learn the peculiarities of every street, road, and alley. Knowing where a high-crowned cross street creates a dip could be critical in a high-speed chase, just as knowing that the dirt road your fleeing suspect just turned down dead ends into a lake or that the alley the suspect turns into has no exit. Become familiar with the buildings on your patrols, and learn the location of their entrances and exits, as well as the situation of important things such as their electrical circuit boxes or their security alarm. Youll want to know what types of businesses operate from each building, and where each business stores its valuables. All of this knowledge should influence the way that you patrol. Every patrol area has locations where trouble is likely to develop. Identify those areas that have had the most calls for service. Know your neighbors You can't do a good job patrolling unless you know the people in the area that you patrol, know what they know, and have their confidence and respect. The law-abiding citizens of your community will likely never meet you, or you them, unless they become a victim of a crime. It is up to you to reach out to the community and meet the people that live there.

There are many people whose jobs put them in good positions to help you, and it's worth cultivating their friendship. Delivery persons, hotel clerks, bellhops, cab drivers, gas station attendants and security guards could be sources of good information, and can be a second set of eyes for you. Even the people who sit in the park most of the day become skilled observers. Get to know the neighborhood business owners and employees by sight, if not by name, and learn their personal habits. If you know a store manager never opens before 0900 hours (9:00 a.m.), someone moving around inside at 0800 should arouse suspicion. If you know the clerks restock shelves after closing time, activity inside then might not be suspicious. But if it is someone you don't recognize, it could be a burglar trying to look like an employee. While you are getting to know the people, get to know their cars as well. Learn who owns which cars, and which cars are usually parked in the neighborhood during your patrol. With this knowledge, you will have a better chance of recognizing any suspicious activity.