A major challenge for any police administrator is to
determine how to allocate the limited resources of the police department
to meet the law enforcement needs of the community being served. There
is no facet of policing that better demonstrates this challenge than the
patrol function. An administrator must not only assess the purpose and
capability of the patrol function within the department, but also
determine what the patrol will look like in the community, and when and
where it will do so. Everyone would like to see a cop drive down their
street from time to time. But does everyone need a cop in their
neighborhood? What purpose and interests are being served by having
patrol officers in one area of town instead of another? Does it make
sense to saturate some areas with coverage, even if other areas will go
unpatrolled? These are the real choices confronting police chiefs and
sheriffs today.


In this assignment, assume the role of an assistant
chief in the Centervale Police Department (CPD). The police chief has
asked you to develop a position paper to reflect a patrol strategy for
the department which will best serve the needs of Centervale. The chief
wants you to consider everything you know about the effectiveness of
preventive patrol, directed patrol, broken windows theory, notions of
fairness and equity, and other considerations you deem important.

Here are some basic facts about Centervale that will help guide your patrol strategy:

  • Centervale is a fairly large, suburban,
    working class community near a major American city. Your police
    department includes 100 patrol officers.
  • 50% of the population lives north of the railroad tracks; 50% lives south of the railroad tracks.
  • 80% of the crime occurs north of the railroad tracks; 20% occurs south of the tracks.
  • 20% of the tax base can be found north
    of the railroad tracks; 80% is south of the tracks (that is, most of the
    money paying for town services is generated in the south).
  • Crime rates in town go up significantly
    at night; however, the population of the town goes up significantly
    during the day (due to an influx of reverse commuters and vibrant retail
  • On average, it takes ten minutes for an officer to arrive to a call
    when dispatched from the south side of town to the north, or vice versa;
    however, on average it takes only five minutes to arrive to a call when
    the officer is already on the correct side of the tracks for the call.

What You Need to Do . . .

Prepare a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to
demonstrate the various types of patrol strategies, their advantages and
disadvantages, and how you would prioritize and implement patrol
strategies given the population distribution and crime rates for various
parts of the City of Centervale. The presentation will be made to the
chief of police and city officials. It should include a minimum of 10
slides with Speaker Notes and in-text citations along with corresponding
references on a reference slide.

Further, justify your approach based on current research
and existing literature about preventive and directed patrol, notions
of fairness and equity, the importance of response times, and any other
considerations you deem important.

In any case, cite at least three additional sources of
information beyond the assigned readings. Feel free to make additional
assumptions about conditions within Centervale that are not presented in
the assignment (for example, the type of crime that is prevalent in the
city). However, if you do so, make sure you state those assumptions up
front in your assignment.

Assignment Criteria:

In your presentation, be sure to analyze and evaluate:

  • Current research regarding police patrol functions
  • The functions of preventive patrol, directed patrol, broken windows, and/or other patrol models
  • Competing legitimate interests within
    the community and a rational approach toward reconciling these interests
    despite limited resources
  • Clear, concise writing which reflects critical thinking skills

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