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essays specialized patrol functions

The professional era successfully accomplished many of the reformers’ concerns. Officers were now substantially more removed from the influence of machine party politics and criminal corruption. Police department functions were more centralized, and they operated with greater efficiency. Recruitment standards and training ensured that officers were better equipped to deal with the technical and legal aspects of law enforcement activities. However, by the end of the professional era it was clear that there were limits associated with the professional model. Research and experiments with different forms of policing began to reveal some challenges to the common assumptions held by the professional model. First, it became clear that a concern for traditional crime (e.g., homicide, assault, robbery, burglary) during the professional era had come at the expense of attention to other problems that police considered less serious. Surveys of community residents revealed a deep concern for physical and social disorder within neighborhoods. Residents and community leaders expressed frustration over the inability of police to address problems such as graffiti, prostitution markets, and drunk and disorderly persons. Coupled with this was the realization that what made residents feel safer and more confident in the police was the more visible and interactive experience of having officers patrolling communities on foot (Wilson & Kelling, 1982). Second, the efficacy of the popularized law enforcement approach— random preventive patrol in a vehicle, rapid response, and follow-up investigation—began to be called into question. Research suggested that this strategy was unrelated to reductions in crime rates or improved apprehension of suspects. Furthermore, critics argued that this strategy limited the ability of officers and departments to appreciate the underlying problems connecting criminal incidents (Goldstein, 1979). Finally, it became apparent that the police were ill equipped to deal with crime and neighborhood disorder problems alone. The professional era encouraged the police to view themselves as experts over a narrow range of legal problems; however, it became readily apparent that the range of problems with which the police were dealing was neither narrow nor strictly legal. In addition, both police officers and police administrators began to realize that their efforts to address these problems were limited without the broad support of community members and other nongovernmental organizations. These recognitions culminated in the development of a new philosophy of policing that is reflected in the community era.

Community policing borrows many of the same ideas and concerns addressed by public relations and community service activities; however, community policing represents a far more comprehensive approach that demands some substantial changes to the organization, mission, and activities of entire departments. According to Cordner (1999), community policing contains three critical dimensions: (1) philosophical, (2) strategic, and (3) tactical. The philosophical dimension represents a new way of thinking about policing that is consistent with the community era as opposed to previous professional era models. The philosophy of community policing is characterized by a broad vision of the police function, increased attention to the unique needs of individual communities, and a recognition that communities should have input into the police services they are receiving. Community policing recognizes that there is more to policing than simply fighting crime. The police have recognized that they need to be involved in mediating conflicts, providing services, and helping communities solve a wide variety of problems. This philosophy also rests on the recognition that neighborhoods and communities are unique and require different strategies and approaches. Finally, a community policing philosophy has meant that police must consult with community members and draw on their knowledge and insight. The strategic dimension represents the means by which this philosophy is translated into practical operational concepts. For community policing this has meant a more proactive preventive approach rather than a reactive one. Police are more aggressive at identifying and addressing long-term community problems rather than simply responding to dispatched calls for service. Police departments have relied on foot patrol, permanent beat assignment, and regular community meetings as a means to increase the interactions they have with the public. Finally, the tactical dimension represents specific programs and actions that departments take to meet the new demands of community policing. Two of the more common examples are (1) the development of strategic partnerships with other criminal justice agencies and community-based organizations and (2) the development of a problem-solving approach to public safety. These two activities help ensure that complex problems are addressed by a network of individuals and organizations that possess the knowledge and resources to tackle them.

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During the political era, a central function of the police was the provision of social services. The professional era marked a transition to a period when the law enforcement functions of the police began to be paramount to what the police did and how police were viewed by the community. The shift to a law enforcement orientation was caused by an interaction between new organizational structures emphasizing professionalism and technological advancements. Some evidence of the emerging professionalism in law enforcement included the adoption of formal qualification standards and specialization. Civil service standards and an increased reliance on recruitment and training ensured that officers were hired not because they were integral members of a community but because they were the most technically qualified for the job. Prior to the professional era, police officers could be considered “generalists” who were required to perform a variety of tasks (e.g., solving interpersonal problems, enforcing laws, providing services). Professionalism, on the other hand, encouraged specialization around specific law enforcement tasks. It was now the function of patrol to respond to emergencies and engage in street-level enforcement of laws. It was the responsibility of investigative units to follow up and solve crimes through good detective work. Vice units now used undercover techniques to investigate illegal narcotics and gambling markets. Police officers were now hired and trained with the expectation that they would be “crime fighters.” The implication of this shift was the de-emphasis of the previously important community-service functions. For many new police recruits the service function was now cynically viewed as social work and as outside of the technical law enforcement responsibilities for which they had been trained and hired.

The cities of , , Wood Village and Fairview also have municipal police departments with sworn police officers and significant law enforcement responsibilities.The is a county law enforcement agency with a substantial policing function and operates investigations throughout the county and patrols unincorporated areas of the county.The Oregon State Police is a state department under the control of the Governor of Oregon and operates throughout the state to enforce state laws.Finally, additional agencies such as the Oregon Health Sciences University and the Port of Portland have police departments employing state certified officers to conduct law enforcement operations relating to their business.Although these agencies may have different missions and operations they all attempt to coordinate law enforcement operations as closely as the law permits.

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The localized nature of policing during this period had very profound consequences for police–community relations. First, it meant that police officers lived and worked in the same neighborhoods as civilians. Police officers and residents tended to share the same socioeconomic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. As a result, police officers were well acquainted with the local customs, expectations, and values held by that community. Because of their familiarity with their neighborhood, officers were intimately aware of criminal as well as other social problems that plagued their communities. Officers were involved in foot patrol, crime prevention, and general order maintenance, and they also took on important social service activities during the political era. Because of rapid urbanization, officers frequently worked with ward politicians in assisting newly arriving European immigrants with housing, employment, and other social supports. This social service function contributed to the general satisfaction with and support of the police by the community. In fact, fostering a perception of police and political responsiveness among community residents was a goal central to policing during this period.

Information on local Sheriff's Department, located in Whitfield County, Georgia.

Visit and review the website for your local law enforcement agency. Locate and examine the agency’s organizational chart. Write a two-page paper explaining the organizational structure and design based upon information provided in this WEEK 1. The organization of officers follows the principle of hierarchy. 2. There is a right of appeal and of statement of grievances from the lower to the higher offices. 3. Specified areas of competence exist. 4. Official duties are bound by a system of rational rules, such as policies and procedures. 5. Administrative acts, decisions, and rules are recorded in writing. 6. The authority associated with a position is the property of the officer or job and not of the occupant of the position. 7. Employees are appointed on the basis of qualifications and specialized training is necessary. 8. Organizational members do not own it. Design of Police Departments There are four basic types of structural designs within police departments: Line structure: The oldest, simplest, and clearest form of organizational design. Authority flows from top to bottom in a clear, unbroken line, creating superior-subordinate relations in a hierarchy commonly called “the chain of command.” Line and staff structure: This structure displays the addition of support staff functions to the line elements. Typical staff functions in a police agency are personnel, training, fiscal affairs, media relations, and legal services. Functional structure: This is a line and staff structure that has been modified by the delegation of management authority to personnel outside their normal spans of control. In this manner, a coordinated and effective effort relating to specialized units can be achieved. Matrix structure: The matrix structure is the assignment of members of functional areas (e.g., patrol, detective, and support services) to specific projects such as task forces and crime-specific programs. Quite often, this structure is used for relatively short periods of time while specific programs are conducted. Tall vs. Flat Organizational Structure The organizational structure of a police department may be tall or flat. A tall structure is characterized by having many narrow spans of control and many levels of rank or authority, which tend to increase organizational complexity and hamper effective communication. A flat structure exhibits wider and fewer spans of control which improves organizational communication. Vertical and Horizontal Differentiation Organizational design focuses on two spatial levels of differentiation, vertical and horizontal. Vertical differentiation is based on levels of authority or positions holding formal power within the organization. Persons with vertical authority have the power to assign work and to exercise control to ensure job performance. Horizontal differentiation is usually based on activity. In some cases, horizontal differentiation is based on specific projects or geographical distribution, such as the different posts observed in many state police departments Span of Control A police administrator must identify a reasonable span of management for agency commanders and supervisors. They must determine how many subordinates a supervisor could effectively supervise and why. The ideal number of subordinates reporting to a supervisor is 8 to 12. The number will vary depending upon a number of factors such as simplicity of work; efficient use of information technology; quality, skills, and capabilities of subordinates; skills and capabilities of supervisor; quality of the department’s training program; and harmony of the workforce.

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U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Historical Bibliography


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