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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78664 Find in a Library
Title: Role of the Patrol Officer in Metropolitan Police Systems (From Essays on the Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice, P 245-274, 1977, by Robert M Rich - See NCJ-78656)
Author(s): R M Rich
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: University Press of America
Lanham, MD 20706
Sale Source: University Press of America
Marketing Director
4720 Boston Way
Lanham, MD 20706
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The role of the patrol officer in metropolitan police systems is examined, based on 5 years of research with several police academies and departments in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Abstract: Police functions are examined under the areas of (1) operational functions, which include such activities as patrol, traffic, detective, juvenile, and vice; (2) administrative functions, such as intelligence and organized crime, training academy, and research-analysis; and (3) executive functions, including internal investigation and community relations. Police attitudes toward their role are examined from the perspective of how police view various personnel functions within the department and how they perceive they are viewed by others outside the department. Overall, data show the patrolmen's role to be akin to that of medicine's general practitioners; they have to perform all the general police tasks but have low status and authority within the police profession. Most of the patrolmen's arrests are for minor offenses, and they operate under departmental quotas for arrests, which limits their discretion in determining whether arrest is the wisest course under particular circumstances. Domestic relations is a frequent and potentially dangerous aspect of patrol work. Victimless crimes also account for much police work considered degrading and unrewarding by police because of the questionable investigative procedures involved and the absence of specific complaints by the public. Patrol officers also must deal with juveniles who have committed both criminal and status offenses. Parent opposition to criminal justice intervention with their children makes this task extremely sensitive and complex. Proposed changes by critics of the patrolman's role are limited in practice because few efforts have been made to develop alternatives to police involvement in the aforementioned areas. A total of 42 notes are listed. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Patrol; Police discretion; Police responsibilities; Role perception
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