Managing police patrol time: The role of supervisor directives

Famega, Christine N., Frank, James and Mazerolle, Lorraine (2005) Managing police patrol time: The role of supervisor directives. Justice Quarterly, 22 4: 540-559. doi:10.1080/07418820500364692

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Author Famega, Christine N.
Frank, James
Mazerolle, Lorraine
Title Managing police patrol time: The role of supervisor directives
Journal name Justice Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0741-8825
Publication date 2005-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/07418820500364692
Volume 22
Issue 4
Start page 540
End page 559
Total pages 20
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract Contemporary police practice advocates the importance of proactive policing activities. Proactive policing reforms emphasize selfinitiated tasks during unassigned patrol time and directed activities based on supervisor review of crime analysis and problem identification. Our study analyzes data from systematic social observations of police patrol officers to examine how officers spent their discretionary time. We find that, on average, over three quarters of a patrol officers shift is unassigned. During this time, officers primarily selfinitiate routine patrol, or back up other officers on calls to which they were not dispatched. Just 6 percent of unassigned time activities are directed by supervising officers, dispatchers, other officers or citizens. Moreover, directives provided by supervisors are vague, general in form, and do not operationalize problemoriented policing, communityoriented policing, or proactive policing strategies. We conclude that first, a very significant proportion of patrol officer time is spent uncommitted that could be better utilized doing proactive, problemoriented policing activities, and second, supervisors need to provide patrol officers with much more detailed directives, based on sound crime analysis, to help capitalize on the underutilization of patrol officer time.
Keyword Police
Supervisor directives
Unassigned time
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
ERA 2012 Admin Only
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 21 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 07 Jul 2011, 14:25:18 EST by Anna Bartos on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research