An Evaluation of the Types of Patrol Used by Law Enforcement

An Evaluation of the Types of Patrol Used by Law Enforcement

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The success of a law enforcement agency is the efficient police officers on patrol and their bond with the community. There are many ways an officer executes his patrol and some are more common than others. Foot patrol, vehicular patrol, bicycle patrol, mounted horse patrol, motorcycle patrol, and air patrol are the multitude of ways officers patrol the community.
Foot patrol is the oldest form of patrol in history, and is when an officer would walk around the community, interacting with the community and learning the routines of the people around him. The disadvantage of foot patrol is the mobility of the police officer. If an officer is alerted to a robbery a mile away, getting to the scene in time to possibly catch a suspect in the act could be quite difficult on foot. Advantages are that the officers can interact with the community easily, physical presence could lower crime rate in the area also (Ortmeier, 2006).
The most common form of patrolling seen today is car patrols. As of 1984, an average police department has approximately 50 percent of their officers in patrol cars (Green, 1984). A great deal of the money that departments receive for funding will go into patrol cars (Green, 1984) and the main purpose of this form of patrol is to respond to calls of illegal activity, accidents and keep a presence within the community to help deterrent criminal activity (Green, 1984). The biggest advantage that this form of patrol has is that the presence of these officers are seen in several areas in the community in fast and efficient way. One officer can often be seen at one end of a community at any given time and again at another end of the community a little while later. Cars are easier to keep mobile in almost all weather conditions too.
Law enforcement agencies have found that motorcycles are also an effective in patrols with their ability to move easier in traffic. They have also been used to escort political figures, funeral procession and lead parades (Day, 2009). Motorcycle patrols have been in law enforcement use since 1909 with a multitude of types of motorcycles such as Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, and BMWs (Day, 2009). The disadvantages of using motorcycles for patrol use are the main factor that a rainy day or a snow storm


could easily sideline an officer to use one.

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Another would be the injuries that are possible with accidents on motorcycles as well as the cost of maintenance (Ortmeier, 2006). A more non conventional but very effective form of patrol is Air patrol. This form began in 1929 in New York City with a biplane. In 1948 the first helicopter was introduced into patrols and opened up new advantages to police patrol. Air patrol is quite useful most any kind of observation such as a pursuit of a suspect either on foot or in a vehicle. Since a helicopter can hover and maneuver well it is often used in medical evacuation and search and rescue operation too. The only real disadvantage is that they are quite expensive to repair and to do maintenance on. (Ortmeier, 2006).
Some less known methods are horse patrol. This is also a highly effective patrol for crowd control or keeping a solid presence within the community. This is more commonly referred to as Mounted Patrol. Large outdoor events such as festivals or entertainment events often do well with mounted patrol. Crowd control is effectively maintained with horses too. ("Mounted patrol," 2014). Mounted patrols can also open doors to building a relationship with children in the community who are attracted to the horses and want to pet and interact with them. This gives officers a chance to build a relationship that might play well into a child’s adulthood.

Works Cited

(2014). Mounted patrol. Retrieved from Atlanta Police Foundation website:

Day, G. J. (2009). Motorcycle patrol. Bulletin, 16(1). Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Green, L. (1984). A multiple dispatch queuing model of police patrol operations.
A Management Science, 30(6), 653-664. Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Groff, E. R., Johnson, L., Ratcliffe, J. H., Wood, J. (2013).Exploring the relationship between foot and car patrol in violent crime areas. Policing, 36(1). Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Ortmeier, P. J. (2006). Introduction to law enforcement and criminal justice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall. 228-235

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