Police Support Functions

Crime Prevention Crime prevention is closely connected to community policing goals. Crime prevention is the anticipation, recognition, and assessment of crime risk and the start of action to eliminate or reduce it (Schmalleger, 2012). Some of the techniques used by police departments are: Targeting access control (reduce access to areas to commit crimes—people, lighting, cameras, fencing, locks) Surveillance (monitoring behavior, activities, and information) Theft-deterrent devices (monitoring, cameras, alarms) Prevention programs are organized, focused resources to reduce a specific form of criminal threat. Some of these programs target school-based crime, gang activity, drug abuse, violence, and domestic abuse. Sometimes community partners include Neighborhood Watch and Crime Stoppers USA (Schmalleger, 2012). Many large police departments invest a lot of resources in their crime prevention units. The New York City Police Department has a Crime Prevention Section that provides information, crime reduction programs, and outreach programs. These services help to reduce crime and reduce the fear of crime through a working relationship between the community and the police. The Crime Prevention Section became part of the Community Affairs Bureau in the NYPD in 2006. Community Policing Community policing is a return to an earlier style of policing, in which officers on the "beat" had close contact with the people they served. Community policing can be a specific program within a police department or a department model. Community policing is important because it promotes interaction between the officers and citizens. It gives officers the time to meet with local residents to talk about crime in the neighborhood and to use brain storming to solve problems. There are challenges with community policing: Sometimes there is difficult in defining the "community." Some departments also have a difficult time choosing the roles for officers. A change in the attitudes of the officers and supervisors who are not familiar with the community policing model. The challenge of many times citizens do not want to be involved with the police.
According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (1994), "community policing calls for long-term commitment; it is not a quick fix. Achieving ongoing partnerships with the community and eliminating the causes of crime will take planning, flexibility, time, and patience." Police Support Functions Some of the divisions that support the more traditional divisions in a police department include (Siegel & Worrall, 2018): Personnel Internal affairs Administration Records Dispatch Training Planning and research Personnel services are the people responsible for recruiting new police officers, creating exams to determine the qualified applicants, and handling promotions and transfers. Large police departments have an internal affairs division. They are responsible for "policing the police." They are responsible for processing citizen complaints of police corruption, unnecessary use of force, and allegations of police participation in illegal activities. The internal affairs division also helps the police leadership when there are disciplinary actions taken against police personnel. Most police departments also have an administrative department that is responsible for the budget. Budget tasks include administering payroll, purchasing equipment and services, planning future budgets for upcoming expenditures and auditing departmental financial records. Communication is another function in a police department. Officers need to be dispatched to the various scenes. Most police departments now utilize modern computer technology to help properly dispatch their officers to the correct locations. These support services vary depending on the size of the police department. The larger police departments have more support services.
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