Commissioned police officers who make up a City’s Police Department, along with full-time civilian support personnel, form the largest single department of most cities.
Generally, the Police Department is the arm of city government, which provides citizens with protection of the laws of the city, state and nation. But the department provides protection and service in a variety of ways and in a large number of different areas.
The Police Departments are often composed of divisions such as Uniform, Investigative, Technical, and Administrative services.
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Jobs in Criminal Investigative Bureau – Police Officer Duties
Detectives and special undercover officers work in the Investigative Division, Services includes the Criminal Investigation Division composed of Homicide, Auto Theft, Robbery, Burglary, Sexual Assault, Theft and Fraud units. Robbery is the act of taking something with either the use or the threatened use of force. Burglary is the illegal entry of a residence or business with the intent to commit a criminal act. Theft is taking something but does not involve weapons or illegal entry.
The Narcotics Division provides officers to work cases involving controlled substances and the Youth Division handles youth crimes. The Vice Unit controls prostitution, pornography and gambling.
Jobs in Technical Services Bureau – Police Officer Duties
Technical Services Division concern is the mechanics of making the communications system work. Technical Services is responsible for dispatching calls for service and help, maintaining the records and fingerprint cards of criminals.
The Alarms Unit keeps an account of businesses with alarm systems and how often those alarms sound. Dispatch, or Communications Unit, is the radio system to communicate with officers in the field.
The Property Room is where property recovered from crime scenes or suspects to be used as evidence in court is stored.
Vehicles are either processed by crime scene officers or picked up by owners. Vehicles, which are towed, wrecked or to be searched for evidence are stored at the Auto Pound.
The Crime Laboratory identifies, compares and prepares evidence for presentation in court, tests substances and body fluids, and conducts ballistics testing and fingerprint recovery.
Jobs in Uniform Services Bureau – Police Duties
Uniform Services is the most visible bureau of the police department jobs. It can provide patrol officers in automobiles, on motorcycles, on horses and on original offense reports and handling jail-intake.
The Street Crimes Unit responds to crime trends and patterns in the community as they develop and concentrate on solving and preventing them.
The K-9 Unit utilizes dogs to search buildings, to scent out controlled substances and to control crowd. One of the primary functions of the animals is f r nighttime apprehension of burglars.
The Traffic Division is composed of uniformed officers who control and direct traffic in the city and enforce traffic laws.
The Helicopter Unit aids in the control of traffic and in the apprehension of criminals.
The Mounted Patrol is composed of five officers and a sergeant who patrol on horseback. They not only help with traffic control but with searches of rough terrain in rural areas.
Jobs in Administrative Services Bureau – Police Duties
Administrative Services includes Fiscal and Property Management, Psychological Services, Planning, Training, Internal Affairs, Crime Prevention/Crime Stoppers, and Crime and Operations Analysis.
Responsibilities of the Administrative Services Bureau include preparing the annual budget, handling payroll, managing all equipment and vehicles, and providing psychological counseling and testing for all police employees. Staff also develops and implements all training activities, provide short and long-term planning and special research studies, and investigates complaints against police employees and other city employees as requested.
The Crime Prevention Program and the Crime Analysis Unit provides crime prevention information, training and services to the public, as well as assembling, analyzing and disseminating crime information to reduce the incidence of crime.
In recent years, Police Departments has undergone changes that are bringing officers closer to the community, thus providing better access of the community to the department and of police to the community. The process of decentralization places officers in specific divisions, reporting to a police captain who is responsible for that geographic area of the city 24-hours a day. The divisions have its own headquarters, precincts.