Increased professionalization of U.S. police patrol forces has yielded not only higher salaries but, through heightened citizen expectations, greater pressures to provide both more crime-fighting and more call-for-service answering activities. Service calls in particular, requiring diversified skills, have added to patrol workloads. Coming at a time of severe budget constraints, alternatives must be identified and evaluated that focus police skills on police matters and provide for non-law-enforcement services in other ways. Recent experience on one promising alternative resource-police service aides-is summarized here. These paraprofessionals are unarmed but uniformed civilians in marked vehicles who perform non-crime-related activities traditionally assigned to sworn officers. Included is an analysis of their effectiveness in freeing time for sworn officers to pursue crime-fighting activities; their capacity to perform different duties; and their impact on and acceptance by the sworn officers and the community. As in other professions, the introduction of police paraprofessionals will have a major impact on urban services in general and on policing in particular.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science