Civic Guide to Economy in Municipal Government: Police Department

January 1, 1945

Download Civic Guide No. 4

Civic Guide No. 4

ForewordThe municipal police department of today faces a much more difficult task than its predecessor of several decades ago. Increased urbanization and technological advancement have brought about revolutionary changes in the methods for suppression of crime and the apprehension of criminals. In determining the causes of delinquency in a community with a view toward removing them, the modern police department also assumes a responsibility for crime prevention.

Although increased expenditures for the police department have been necessitated as its law enforcement activities have become more complex, these expenditures are often accompanied by waste and inefficiency. No one would wish to deny to the police department adequate financial support; yet there are many opportunities for inaugurating constructive economies without impairing the efficiency of police operations.

By studying the police department of your city you can discover whether full advantage is taken of the opportunities for reducing expenditures and for increasing efficiency. Are daytime patrols in residential sections limited to one-man patrol cars? Is the police pension fund placed upon a sound actuarial basis? Does the police department use a crime spot map as an aid for determining the distribution of the police force according to need? Do the percentages of cases cleared by arrest or by recovery of stolen property compare favorably with the average experience of cities? Is the police force free from miscellaneous duties not directly related to the protection of life and property for the community as a whole? The answers to these few questions will indicate whether police activities in your city are performed as efficiently as this manual advocates.


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