Police Deployment and the Emergence of Modern Tactics

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  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the three patrol methods discussed in the text – directed, hot-spot, and zero-tolerance. Additionally discuss which are more likely to encourage community support of law enforcement efforts.

Direct patrols were introduced in the mid-1970s with an aim ofdealing with specific crimes within a limited geographical area. Theofficers were required to patrol a given area at a particular time todeter or apprehend offenders (Fritsch et al., 2008). Studies suggestthat direct patrols are effective in reducing targeted offenses byensuring that officers focus on precise high-risk areas (Vito &ampMaahs, 2016). In one community, it was reported that the strategyreduced crime rates by about twenty-five percent. In all sectorswhere direct patrol tactics were deployed, there was a significantreduction of criminal activities due to its deterrence effects.Moreover, it is a cost-effective method of dealing with gun-relatedoffenses, compared to other approaches in policing (Fritsch et al.,2008).

Hot spots patrols are based on the fact that police calls involvingviolent crimes are mainly concentrated in specific areas. It aims atdealing with problems that generate frequent calls. The “MinneapolisRepeat, Call Address Policing Experiment” in 1987, established thatthe strategy is successful. Within six months, the number of policecalls from the ‘hot spots’ had reduced significantly. However, itwas not effective in dealing with crimes in the long run, since thegains disappeared progressively (Fritsch et al., 2008).

Zero tolerance is the traditional approach to policing, whichinvolves aggressive patrols such as “traffic stops, minor offensesenforcement, and filed interrogations” (Fritsch et al., 2008). Itis considered to be the most important effective method of crimereduction. Studies indicate that it increases the likelihood ofarrest and punishment of repeat offenders and, thus, act asdeterrence. Its effectiveness is also based on its positive impactson the officers’ morale. According to a study in San Diego,elimination of aggressive patrols increased crime, and theirreintroduction decreased the number of reported incidences. Themajority of zero tolerance approaches to policing targets gangactivities and organized crimes in urban centers. For example, ‘crackdown’ patrols can eliminate drug trafficking, prostitution, anddrunken driving (Fritsch et al., 2008).

  1. Of the three deployment models – overlay, generalist, and geographic/sector – does one offer more advantages of community policing than the others and if so, why? Consider the results of the Rand Institute evaluation in 1973 in your analysis.

The overlay deployment method offers more opportunity for communitypolicing. Some officers respond to police calls while uncommittedofficers are engaged in other proactive policing activities.Specialized agents act as an overlay to active patrols by engaging inefforts such as “structured community contact and problem solving,gang engagement, school initiatives, criminal investigation, andtraffic enforcement” (Fritsch et al., 2008). The method is usefulin enhancing the role of the society in policing due to the functionof community resources officers. They engage the immediatepopulations with an aim of developing solutions to securitychallenges affecting them. Additionally, specialized agents deal withunique policing issues (Fritsch et al., 2008).

The generalized deployment is used where there is no sufficient staffto meet the policing needs. Consequently, the officers are involvedin general activities due to lack of specialization. Although themodel seems to rely on community policing, the absence of specialofficers hinders its benefits. This is because all officers are‘community officers’ and thus, there is no structured engagementwith the society (Fritsch et al., 2008).

Geographical or sector deployment model was introduced through theprofessional era reforms to deal with corruption in policingactivities. There was evidence that law enforcement officers werereceiving bribes from criminals due to deployment in the same stationfor an extended period. It was also necessitated by the need forspecialized subdivisions in the police, for example, plainclothesdetectives and patrol officers (Fritsch et al., 2008). According tothe Rand Institute investigations, the concept of rotationalassignment has a negative impact on community policing. This isbecause officers are moved to other sectors before they developed aworking relationship with the members of societies. To deal with thischallenge, police departments have modified the approach, where someofficers are permanently assigned to a zone. It is also enhancedthrough the establishment of partnerships with community associations(Fritsch et al., 2008).


Fritsch,E. J., John L., &amp Robert W. T. (2008). PolicePatrol Allocation and Deployment.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Vito, G. &amp Maahs, J. (2016). Criminology: theory, research,and policy. Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones &amp BartlettLearning.

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