The Centerville Police Department patrols the city by assignment of “beat teams.” Beat teams are formed to allow officers to remain in the same patrol area for a one-month time period. A team is made up of two police officers from every shift, a sergeant, and a detective. This method of community policing has the following results:
- Officers take personal ownership in their assigned beat. They are held accountable for crime, accidents, and other criminal conditions occurring in their beat.
- Officers are more familiar with their beats and react quickly to crime trends due to their familiarity with crime problems and the criminal element within their assigned patrol areas. Repeat complaints are handled by the beat team who understand citizens problems. A limited number of officers handle the problem allowing better problem solving. Follow-up with complainants is closely scrutinized so citizens are kept well informed about their concerns.
- Innovative thinking based on a collective strategy of a beat team is used to address problems. Officers present patrol strategies to their beat supervisor who in turn briefs the command staff on means of reducing crime or other problems within the beat. A comprehensive strategy is developed where all members of the team and command staff work together to solve problems in a proactive manner.
- Patrol strategies emphasize quality of life issues, as opposed to only crime problems. Often quality of life issues lead to crime problems if not addressed.
- Beat teams make presentations to the entire department at department-wide meetings so all personnel are made aware of successes and failures regarding crime reduction efforts.