Police department roles and functions


Police department roles andfunctions

Principal roles and functions of police organizations

With increasing crimes resulting from the complexity ofcivilization, the police organizations have a major role to enforcethe law and maintain order in the society. Detection and preventionof crimes is also another role of the police. The principals andfunctions of the police are numerous. According to Ronald et al.(2009), all police functions can be categorized as either line ornon-line functions. The line means they are responsible for primarywork while non-line means that they provide non-personal support forthe organization. Line activities include criminal investigation,patrol, traffic and prevention of crime. Non-line activities includeauxiliary and staff activities like jail, records, communications,research and budget planning. Line and activities hold the policeorganization together and cannot be effective without staff andauxiliary services. Police operations are primary and secondary inline. The functions include traffic, patrol and criminalinvestigation. The police administration provides an organizationthat facilitates and supports their operations. They recognize thechanging nature of crimes and new technology used by criminals tohelp tackle crimes effectively. The police play an important role inthe administration of justice.

According to Maulin (2012), the police act 1861, the functions ofthe police include executing issued orders lawfully, intelligencecollection and communication, crime prevention and public nuisance.Detecting, apprehending and bringing law-breakers to justice is alsoanother function by police organizations. Inspecting and enteringresorts, recreations or any public places to control disorderlycharacter is also their duty. The police take appropriate steps todeal with unclaimed property and disposing it, preventing accidentsor taking steps to deal with fire. The police regulate publicassemblies, processions, and issue licenses against crime offenders.Keeping public order on the streets, roads, landing and public placesis the duty of police officers. Dispersing unlawful assemblies andarresting criminals is also a function of the police. Afterinvestigation, the charge sheet is prepared and send to court fortrial by the police. The police have to send the final report to thecourt for approval and release the accused who committed pettyoffences on bond (Maulin, 2012). To perform all these dutiesdiligently the police are divided into three levels, the local, stateand federal agencies. Through the agencies law enforcement thoroughlyand crime prevented evenly.

Police agencies at the local, state and federal level and their roles

The roles of police agencies are many with the most important onebeing public protection. The protection of citizens and theirproperty at local, state or federal level is always a priority.Besides that law enforcement, fighting crime, public service andother special duties is also part of their roles (Ronald et al,2009). To ensure that all duties are carried out properly, policeagencies perform their duties at different levels. At the locallevel, the police ensure that law and order is maintained at schools,communities, hospitals and work places. The police take theinitiative to talk to people and calm rowdy mobs or make arrests atthe local level ensuring that the law is fully reinforced at thelocal level. At the state level, state police are responsible formany state functions like offering security to the head of state,patrolling the state to ensure safety prevails. State police agenciesinclude highway patrol, department of public safety, wildlife andparks police. They have authority to conduct investigations acrossthe state and ensure that the state is protected. Federal agenciesperform many duties from departments of labor, environmentalprotection, health amongst others with each having its own specialty.Federal agencies are larger and thus perform more duties. However,the three agencies work to ensure that citizens are protected and thelaw is reinforced.

Roles and functions of patrol work

Patrol work is not an easy task. It entails resource-intensive andtime-consuming tasks undertaken by officers to ensure safetyprevails. The roles and duties of patrol include going around thecommunity, cities and states throughout the day responding to anyform of crimes. They answer and respond to radio calls since they areon the ground, deal with burglar alarms, help solve disputes amongstpeople, care for the injured, investigate traffic accidents or reportany fishy occurrences on the ground such as dumped cars. To besuccessful in the patrol, patrol officers employ certain strategiesto deal with crime.

Preventive patrol strategy applies the time used between radio callsto prevent crime while directed patrol is aided by crime mapping andhas proven that it can reduce crimes of robbery and car hijackingsthrough targeting the crime. Aggressive patrol is another strategyused and can result to minor and serious offence arrests. Foot patrolinvolves officers patrolling on foot and has significantly improvedcitizen- police relations with time (Kleinig, 1996). Locals caneasily relate with police officers due to foot patrols and can easilyconfide in them about criminal activities. Research reveals thatfewer crimes take place in regions where the police patrol regularly.


Kleinig, J.(1996).&nbspHandledwith discretion: Ethical issues in police decision making.Lanham: Rowman &amp Littlefield Publishers.

Maulin, J. (2012). What are the functions of the police?retrieved from http://www.preservearticles.com/201012251630/functions-of-the-police.html

Ronald, J. Chester, L. David, H. Michelle, E. &amp David, E. (2009).The criminal justice system: An introduction, fifth edition,CRC Press, Law