What is a law enforcement patrol officer
February 28, 2012
The position of law enforcement patrol officer is usually the first assignment that new recruits take on when they enter law enforcement. The job has a wide range of responsibilities and gives new officers a chance to hone their skills on a variety of levels.
The primary job description of a law enforcement patrol officer is to provide for public safety by protecting citizens and property, to respond to emergency situations, to maintain order in the community in which they work, and to enforce motor vehicle and criminal laws.
In big cities, law enforcement patrol officers are assigned a ‘beat’, which is the physical area they patrol. They can work in a car, on foot, on a bicycle, a motorcycle or on horseback. Some work with a partner while on patrol, while others conduct their duties alone. Usually, rookie law enforcement officers are partnered with a more experienced officer.
During their shift, law enforcement patrol officers are tasked with enforcing laws, responding to car accidents, robberies, thefts, assaults and other situations. Sometimes they search, identify, pursue and arrest criminal suspects. They also monitor and investigate suspicious activity and persons in their patrol area.
Law enforcement patrol officer duties require a great deal of record keeping. Any incidents that the officer responds to must be properly documented to record all of the relevant aspects of the occurrence.
A law enforcement patrol officer must be well versed in local, state and federal laws in order to determine if a crime or legal infraction has taken place. Serious legal repercussions can occur if they act inappropriately by making an improper arrest. They must carry out the appropriate steps to deal with crimes and infractions, including issuing citations and making arrests.
A law enforcement patrol officer is often the first responder to a 911 emergency that requires medical assistance. This can be a traffic accident, an assault, a heart attack or a fire. They’re responsible for rendering first aid such as CPR for people in need. They must also maintain the highest level of safety for emergency victims and bystanders until the proper emergency medical help arrives. Directing or rerouting traffic is often necessary at an accident or crime scene and they perform that duty, too. They also summon EMS to the scene of an emergency in instances of injuries or illness.
A law enforcement patrol officer spends a great deal of time appearing in court, where they testify or present evidence in criminal and traffic cases. Many officers don’t like this part of the job, especially in when the court appearances involve traffic citations and minor infractions which can consume their time in amounts that are disproportionate to the crime.
The job of a law enforcement patrol officer also requires them to transport people they’ve arrested and complete the booking process to transfer them into the custody of the detention center.