The police force is one of the most significant organizations in the society. They represent the government as they interact with and help citizens in need, danger or difficulty. It is the most interactive, accessible and dynamic organization in the society. The police have varied roles in the society; the organization divides into various segments, each with its outlined roles and duties (Wells & Falcone, 2005). Many people view roles of the police as; leadership in police safety, solving technical and social problems for citizens, possession on discretion, and helping in dangerous and hostile environments. This is a general view that required comprehensive discussion. In order to comprehend police roles and functions, the paper discusses the topic in great detail.
Principal roles and functions of police organizations
The police roles and functions, in the society, focus on the maintenance of order and law. In an effort to meet these duties, the roles break down into; duties, roles, functions, powers and responsibilities assigned to the police organization (BPRD, 2014). The roles are in line with the Constitution’s legal provisions.
First and foremost, the police enforce and uphold the law impartially; this occurs in order to protect liberty, life, human rights, property and dignity of the people. They also promote and preserve public order; they prevent the occurrence of incidents that may disrupt public peace and order. The organization is responsible for the maintenance of internal security; they prevent and deal with the occurrence of terrorist activities threatening the people and country as a whole. It occurs through the identification and handling of disruption of harmony, militant actions and other related factors interfering with Internal Security. The police have responsibility for the protection of public properties such as; railways, roads, bridges, vital establishments and installations. They handle acts of violence and vandalism in an appropriate manner.
They prevent criminal activities and minimize chances of the occurrence of crimes through preventive actions and measures. They also do this by helping and working alongside other relevant organizations in implementing crime prevention measures. They address the public needs through registering and following up on complaints brought to them by citizens. The police also cater for public needs through the creation and maintenance of security; they promote amity and prevent conflicts. In the case of natural or an-made disasters, the police are the first responders and provide active assistance; this occurs through relief and rehabilitation measures. The traffic police promote the orderly movement of people and vehicles; they control and regulate traffic on highways and roads.
In the case of matters interfering with public peace, the police are in charge of the collection of relevant intelligence. It includes intelligence on crimes such as; extremism, social offences, terrorism, communalism, and any other threats to national security. They then share the acquired information with concerned agencies, working together in dealing with the situation. Members of the police force also have a responsibility in motivating and training other police personnel; this is in preparation for the service to citizens and the nation.
Police at state, local, and federal levels
There are various law enforcement agencies; they exist at local, state and federal levels. They have unique roles and functions; this depends on the agency type, size and jurisdiction. The local police are the most common law enforcement agencies. It consists of; municipal, regional, tribal, and county police departments. They receive authority from the local governing body. The have several roles, but their primary purpose include; the provision of patrol, upholding laws within their jurisdiction and investigating local crimes. The Sheriff’s police also provide services similar to those of the municipal police.
At the next level is the state police; their duties are similar to those of local police but at a broader level. They perform duties involving highway patrol and statewide investigations. For instance, highway patrol differs from investigative functions performed by the State Bureau of Investigations. They also provide local police with an assistance on emergencies and investigations; this is especially when the local police have inadequate resources or jurisdictional boundaries.
At the federal level, there are 65 federal law enforcement agencies. The police at this level are concerned with the maintenance of safety across all USA states. They have jurisdiction in every state and resources necessary in carrying out their duties. The functions of federal officers depend on their employer bodies. Some of the employers of federal officers include; Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. Federal officers’ roles and responsibilities include; criminal investigation and enforcement, police response and patrol, security and protection, inspections, court operations and corrections.
Drug Enforcement Administration controls substance law, whereas, the FBI investigates the violation of federal criminal laws through; espionage, terrorism, corruption, white collar crimes, violent crimes and so on. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives investigate criminal activities in relation to drugs, firearms and terrorism (Sage Publications, 2013). The ICE promotes public safety and homeland security through civil and criminal protection of federal laws; these federal laws govern customs, border control, trade and immigration.
There are also special officers; they can offer public services for entities within other jurisdictions. They provide services similar to the local police in areas such as; parks, schools, airports, subways and government buildings. The special police’s employment is mostly on a part-time basis. They can be volunteers or pain, armed or unarmed. They work through bicycle, foot and vehicle patrol; their levels of training also vary depending on roles.
Roles and functions of patrol work
Patrol work is a significant section of police work in various departments. It is a time-consuming and resource-intensive activity carried out by officers (Wakefield, 2006). It involves a variety of duties including; investigation of traffic accidents, response to burglar alarms, provision of care for injured people, response to radio calls, and resolution of domestic disputes.
There are varied types of patrol depending on the functions and activities involved. The preventive patrol process focuses on the prevention of crimes before they occur. Police officers use the time they are not on call to patrol their assigned neighborhoods. Subsequently, direct patrol strategy can be used. It reduces targeted crimes such as vandalism, robberies and vehicle thefts. There is also the aggressive patrol strategy; this results in the arrest of serious and minor offenders. Despite its efficiency, it inconveniences innocent citizens through field interrogations and random traffic stops. The foot patrol, according to Wakefield (2006), involves the movement of police on foot. It is not very efficient in crime deterrence, but achieves the role of improving relationships between citizens and the police.
The contemporary police officer focuses on upholding the nation’s laws and providing order and security for other citizens. The police have a wide range of duties and responsibilities. Depending on their agencies and levels of jurisdiction, they offer beneficial services. They intervene and address matters of security. There are several police agencies, at the state, local and federal levels (Wells & Falcone, 2005). At each level, they play a vital role in the society’s existence, peace and security.
BPRD (2014). Chapter 1: Functions, roles, and duties of police in general. Retrieved April 14, 2014 from http://www.bprd.nic.in/writereaddata/linkimages/6798203243- Volume%202.pdf
Sage Publications (2013). Chapter 1: Policing in America. Foundations of Policing. Retrieved April 14, 2014 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/53255_ch_1.pdf
Wakefield, A. (2006). The Value of Foot Patrol: A review of research. The Police Foundation. ISBN 0-947692-39-8. Retrieved April 14, 2014 from http://www.police- foundation.org.uk/uploads/catalogerfiles/the-value-of-foot-patrol/foot_patrol.pdf
Wells, L. E. and Falcone, D. N. (2005). Policing in the United States: Developing a comprehensive and empirical model. US Department of Justice. Retrieved April 14, 2014 from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/210830.pdf