Organization of the Police Department
Running a police department and preventing crime can be a complex task. Every individual within the police department including patrol officers, detectives, and clerical staff are vital in maintaining smooth order within the department and community. The organization of the police department is only effective when the officers know his or her roll and can fulfill the assigned duties based on the area, time, and purpose of the mission.
The organization of the police department is what ensures an easy flowing and effective department. The organization does not just include the chain of command, but it includes how each officer will maintain order in the community by working different shifts and locations. Police officers can patrol the community in different areas known as beats or posts, zones, and precincts. A beat or post is generally a small area in which one or two officers can patrol by either squad car or on foot. The beat or post officers should be familiar with the people and businesses within the area, and also be aware of the risks and concerns in which officers may need to seek additional assistance. However, the beat or post area should be large enough to prevent boredom, but small enough to maintain with limited manpower (Dempsey & Frost, 2005). Next, a zone area within a community is when “a number of individual beats are grouped together” (Dempsey & Frost, 2005, p. 72). The purpose of zonal policing is to implement community policing, while providing a fast response time, performing visible patrols, and providing localized service to the community based on its needs (City of Windhoek, 2010). Finally, a precinct is an entire group of beats or posts in a specific area within a community. A precinct is used in larger communities with more officer manpower than a traditional small town. This keeps officers in assigned areas to ensure rapid response time and organization (Dempsey & Frost, 2005).
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