The Patrol Force is the backbone and action arm of the Police Department. Its field functions are multiple. They include response to calls for service, which may entail a wide spectrum of needs and problematic situations. It has been said that a good patrol officer combines the knowledge and qualities of an investigator, physician, lawyer, social worker, and family friend.
The patrol officer function has evolved from a reactive or response mode to proactive. The officer must be knowledgeable and prepared to be the prime component of community-oriented law enforcement. Assessment of needs and the ability to be a dynamic problem solver are within the patrol officer's range of duties and responsibilities.
Patrol job performance requirements and demands have increased as law enforcement deals with a wide range of drug, alcohol, or substance abuse problems and corollary issues.