Police officers have an important role in any community.
They serve and protect their communities. They serve by helping citizens in times of crisis and emergency, and they protect their communities on the road, and issuing tickets to dangerous drivers. The police are always the first ones to be informed to deter illegal and dangerous 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 police.
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.