Essay about Police Patrol

2321 Words10 Pages
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 service—officers 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, and unsafe conditions. They may also look for opportunities to interact with the public in casual or more formal situations. This is all considered patrolling. The time that police officers spend handling calls for service is also considered part of patrol work. Officers on patrol respond to calls, take reports, quell disturbances, and so forth. The…show more content…
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. In the American South in the 1700s, slave patrols watched for runaway slaves. As urbanization took hold 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.
Patrol as Waiting
Automobiles and two-way radios 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. The impact of these two basic technologies should not be underestimated. Before cars and radios, police response to emergencies and other crises was more like the fire department model—from the station. Officers on patrol were out on the streets watching, but they were not in continuous communication with headquarters. As the twentieth century progressed, police patrol became more and more dependent on the car and the radio. The public learned to call the
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