Our uniformed police officers are organized into the Patrol Division. This division conducts a first responder role, as well as a proactive enforcement role. Police officers are, in their basic designation, law enforcement. There are other designations but this is their primary focus. It is the one aspect that all police personnel have in common. Regardless of their specialty, title, rank, or name they are to enforce laws.
Patrol means many things. Walk the beat. Tour. Watch. Guard. Basically it means that the officers are out there looking for trouble before it happens. They do that by cruising the neighborhoods and answering calls. Looking for things out of place or things that just do not seem right. Being seen is the most primary form of law enforcement. The sight of a patrol car or an officer tends to curb the tendencies of all but the most hardened criminals.
The police officers answer many types of calls. The officers respond to emergency calls such as domestic violence, assaults, and other crimes of violence. They many times receive calls of theft, mischief, or civil complaints. They take reports for people to follow-up on to prosecute criminals, documentation reports in the event of future problems, as well as respond to emergency and non-emergency traffic accidents. Many times the duty calls for both the police and fire departments. Our goal is for the cooperative effort of both departments to pass flawlessly. Sometimes the fire department calls for assistance such as traffic control in the area of a fire, or assistance in calls where there may be or has been a violent encounter of some type.
Traffic or traffic enforcement is just that. The officers are patrolling the roads and highways looking for infractions of traffic laws. This job helps to make the roadways safer by preventing some drivers from controlling their vehicles in an unsafe manner by, again, being seen.
Sometimes people choose to violate these traffic laws regardless of police presence or because they do not immediately see a police officer. These driver's, when caught, are many times written a Uniformed Traffic Citation, commonly known as a Ticket. These Citations cause the drivers to have to appear in court before the City Judge. Most of the time this leads to them having to pay fines and court costs as well as having to attend a driving school.
Due to the severity of their violation or due to the amount of previous citations, some driver's lose their Driver's License for a period of time. Some of these violations end up costing the driver several hundreds of dollars in legal costs. A person could easily spend $200.00 due to simply wanting to get somewhere quicker. What they may not realize at the time of their violation is that their desire to make better time in travel could under unfortunate circumstances cost them their life or the life of another.
Many times officers will be seen at Driver's License and Vehicle Safety Checkpoints. These are referred to by many people as "Road Blocks". Here the officers check several things such as, but not limited to: Driver's License, Liability Insurance, Current Vehicle Registration and Licensing, Safety or Seat Belt Use, Proper Child Restraint, Vehicle Equipment (such as tires, windshield, lighting, exhaust system) and larger violations like Driving Under the Influence.
Sometimes, regardless if whether from a traffic stop or a check point, officers discover more severe crimes like drug trafficking, theft, and even domestic violence. There is a remarkably large percentage where persons are discovered to have warrants for their arrest from our and other agencies.
Traffic stops and check points are anything but routine. Sometimes these end up becoming something much greater and dangerous. Sometimes people flee on foot or in vehicles. These violations usually cause the person to face much more difficulty and larger charges being brought against them. Ultimately the violator ends up paying for their bad decisions. Primarily due to their disregard for the safety of themselves and others.
Regardless of the method of enforcement, the ultimate goal is to ensure and maintain safety for all persons as well as protect the rights of all.