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timer Asked: Nov 7th, 2014
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Question description

Organization of Large Police Departments

Write a response to the following prompt:

  • Identify and explain the three main operational units existing within large police departments and the primary function(s) of each type of unit.
  • How does a supervisor or manager manage each of the three main types of units in a large police department, and what is the manager’s primary function/responsibility in each?

Yolanda wrote

The three main operational units existing within large police departments and the primary function are patrol, criminal investigation and traffic enforcement. According to Peak, Gaines, & Glensor, “the patrol officers patrol the street, answer calls for service, make arrests and deal with public problems and crimes. Criminal investigations or detectives are involved in the investigation of crimes. They solve cases, arrest perpetrators, and recover stolen property. Traffic enforcement is responsible for ensuring that citizens abide by traffic laws and investigate traffic crashes”(Peak, Gaines, & Glensor, 2010). There are numerous responsibilities for each of these positions that a manager or a supervisor had to have in order for each department to effectively run smoothly.

There are five types of patrols which are automobile, foot, bicycle, horse, marine, and air. Depending on the type of patrol that an officer has, there are many responsibilities. The patrol officer supervisors “are to back officers on calls, which represent the bulk of calls, especially priority one calls. The supervisor also makes sure that the safety is enhanced and provides advice and training for newcomers they also they make sure that their officer do not negligent their responsibilities” (Peak, Gaines, & Glensor, 2010).

Criminal investigations on the other hand, compared to the smaller departments, larger departments have many investigative units. According to Peak, Gaines, & Glensor, “detectives are seen as individuals who collect evidence, interrogate suspect, and make arrest once they have enough evidence to establish probable cause” ( Peak, Gaines, Glensor, 2010).  Within the traffic unit the supervisor responsibility “is to ensure that traffic officers are writing citations that contribute to safety, locations with high numbers of accidents, and that contribute to most traffic crashes”(Peak, Gaines, & Glensor, 2010). However, the supervisor as well manager responsibility is to make sure that all tasks are done in a proper manner and that the policies, procedures as well as the rule are effective as well.


Peak, K., Gaines, L. & Glensor, R. (2010). Police supervision and management in an era of community policing (3rd ed.) Upper saddle, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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