The job of Patrol Officer is general duty police work in the protection of life and property and the enforcement of laws and ordinances. The work involves preventive patrol, preliminary investigation, traffic enforcement and regulation, and preservation of social order and public peace by means of patrolling in cars or on foot in a designated area where the officer is accountable. The delivery of service at the Police Officer level applies to the protection of life and property prevention and suppression of crime; apprehension of criminal offenders; regulation and control of traffic; recovery of lost or stolen property; and preservation and maintenance of social order and public peace.
The Patrol Officer is required to exercise a great deal of discretion concerning basic police responsibility. The Police Officer runs the risk of upsetting the delicate balance that must be maintained between the rights of individual citizens and the safety and protection of the community. It is the duty of the Patrol Officer to interpret the laws and determine which ones to enforce, and decide upon the manner in which they will be enforced within real or imagined departmental police perimeters.
The uniform force is the "backbone" of the Police Department and the focal point for all police activities. All other police services are either supportive of, or supplemental to, the patrol operation.
Some scholars claim that policing a free society is the most complex job in the world, partly because police are frequently called upon to be all things to all people. The popular culture image of a police officer does not accurately reflect the reality of policing. If you have chosen to apply, investing a few hours riding with a Bloomington Police Officer could provide a better understanding of the job. Short of that, the job tasks of a police officer may generally be found in the police officer job description of the Bloomington Police Department Rules and Regulations.
Probationary officers are frequently challenged to perform basic job tasks under varying degrees of pressure. They may be required to safely operate a motor vehicle under emergency conditions, talk on the radio to the telecommunicator and other responding officers, plan the most efficient route of travel, assess possible threats, consider the need for additional resources and make the appropriate requests in a timely manner, develop a response strategy in route while considering officer safety strategies, and adapt immediately to changing conditions or updated information. Clearly, police officers must be able to multi-task effectively to complete the probationary period and consistently perform the job functions of a competent, fully trained police officer. Perhaps the most problematic issue for probationary officers unfamiliar with our community is learning the geography. We cannot stress enough the importance of probationary police officers mastering street names, locations, and address numbering patterns as quickly as possible. Time spent studying local street maps would be well spent.
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