How police use teamwork

Written by dennis hartman
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How police use teamwork
Police teams are organised like military units. (police image by Robert Grzywaczewski from Fotolia.com)

A police force is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the citizens within its jurisdiction and enforcing laws that relate to public safety. While each individual police officer needs a long list of skills and training, police forces also rely on teamwork among members and between different departments to serve effectively.

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Training

Police academies use teamwork in their training programs to ensure that graduates are able to work together in real-world scenarios. Training activities include team sports and simulations that force candidates to work with one another in creative problem solving and police procedural tasks. Competition between teams and individual candidates increases motivation and prepares new police officers for their roles in small and large police departments that require them to work with other officers on a daily basis.

Emergency Response

Police rely on teamwork during emergency response procedures. Through a dispatch centre, an officer can request support from other members of the department when a situation becomes too dangerous or complex for an individual or pair of officers. Police dispatchers send officers to high-priority situations, managing the workforce as a team unit.

When local departments don't have the manpower to handle a major crisis, they team up with state police, federal officers or neighbouring police personnel to secure dangerous areas, evacuate citizens and investigate major crimes.

Specialisation

Larger police department rely on teamwork among officers and departments with specialised skills and duties. For example, a large city's police force likely includes a team of detectives for investigating crimes, a special drug enforcement unit or gang task force for patrolling neighbourhoods where these specific activities are common, a forensic team that analyses evidence and a large body of general duty officers who serve on the streets and at special events. Each department needs to work with the others to cover the legal procedures involved in law enforcement and prosecution.

With Other Departments

A police department isn't the only source of public safety in a community. Firefighters and paramedics perform specific duties that police officers lack the training and equipment for. Police must be able to work as a team with other emergency responders to assess a situation and act quickly to manage any injuries, collect evidence and secure the area for onlookers or passersby. One example of this sort of teamwork would be a traffic accident in which police officers take reports from the motorists involved and witnesses, firefighters ensure that the vehicles are safe to transport and hazardous spills are cleaned up and paramedics assess victims and transport them to hospitals if needed.

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