Organization of a Police Department

Topics: Police, Constable, Police officer Pages: 3 (833 words) Published: November 5, 2008
Organization of the Police Department
Joe Gault
Axia College CJS 210

Organization is the most important part of any business. In the business of criminal justice organization is of the highest importance. Every day, hour, and minute must be accounted for, and at the same time all bases must be covered. This brings up a problem when trying to run a precinct that employs 500 police officers. However, this problem can be handled with ease if certain organizational models are implemented.

The first model discussed in our reading is area organization. Area organization ensures that each area of a precinct is covered. The areas that a police officer covers are called either a beat or post, but both mean the same thing. These areas are usually covered by a police officer in a car, but occasionally can be covered by officers on foot in areas such as town squares or parks. A supervising officer can cover his of her subordinates by supervising more than one beat. The grouped posts covered by a supervisor can be called zones or sectors. Below is a map of the Santa Monica police department’s beat map (City of Santa Monica, 2008).

The map shows each beat marked off. According to Officer Navarro from the Santa Monica Police Department (Officer Navarro, 2008) The SMPD has 8 beats with one or two officers on each beat each shift. The department has overlapping shifts which means that at any one time there will be at least 3 to 4 officers on any one beat. The supervising officers work all sections of the city and can roam from beat to beat. If there is a special situation a single beat can have upwards of 8 officers patrolling at any one time.

The second organizational model is time. Time organization can be complicated and requires much thought before making a shift chart. A shift chart can become further complicated when overlapping shifts are factored in. A shift chart shows each officer when he or she is working...

References: City of Santa Monica (2008) retrieved October 3, 2008 from
Officer Navarro (2008) City of Santa Monica Police Department phone interview.
Interviewed on October 3, 2008
Clear Water Police FAQ’s (N.D.) What’s the difference between a police officer and a
detective? Retrieved October 3, 2008 from
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