skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 76504 Find in a Library
Title: Service Time, Dispatch Time, and Demand for Police Services Helping More by Serving Less
Author(s): M G Maxfield
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 34
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents an analysis of citizen calls for services to the San Francisco police department for a 6-week period in 1977. It focuses on management of the volume and variety of incoming calls for service and of the patrol field operations.
Abstract: With few exceptions, police in San Francisco respond to all citizen calls for service. Both dispatch time (the time between when a call is received and when a car is dispatched to handle the incident) and service time (the amount of time a patrol units spends on a call for service, including dispatch time and travel) are affected by the priority designations assigned by complaint clerks, by the availability of patrol units, by the volume of calls for service, and by the length of time patrol units spend investigating incidents. In addition, the use of civilian employees as dispatchers and the lack of any automated monitoring device to check the status of patrol units in service or of waiting calls may also affect dispatch or service time. There is considerable delay in internal processing time and in dispatching patrol units to respond to calls for service. Potentially serious incidents generate the most rapid response, but even in those cases, dispatch times are not very prompt. Adaptive responses to the problem of stacked calls (calls awaiting the availability of patrol units) include reducing per-incident service time and assigning calls to available patrol units from different districts. Reallocation of patrol resources along revised district boundaries, a possible long-term solution to unequal demand for services, faces both internal and political obstacles, as well as practical considerations regarding the amount of resources. Still another possible approach to alleviating the excess demand on patrol operations is to reduce the types of calls to which patrol units are dispatched through the use of referrals and deferred response. Three tables and 21 references are included.
Index Term(s): Dispatching; Patrol procedures; Police field services units; Police manpower deployment; Police response time
Note: Revised version of a paper originally prepared for delivery at the ORSA/TIMS Joint National Meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 15-17, 1979.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.