The Operations Division of the Eatontown Police Department is the department’s largest operating unit. It includes the Patrol and Traffic Safety divisions, and is under the command of Lt. William Lucia. Typically, as in most towns, about fifty percent of all our sworn personnel are assigned to patrol. Most of the marked units you see on the street, 24 hours a day, are manned by uniformed men and women of our police department’s Operations Division. In the Operations Division we try to primarily focus on the area of protecting life and property and to enforce the law in a fair and impartial manner. We also provide other police related services, as required by our community, in a manner that is consistent with the values of a free society.
One of the questions that we get asked frequently is, “How do officers on patrol operate and spend their time?” To a large extent, the answer to this question depends on each department and its personal priorities. If you look at police departments in general, police patrol activity shows in many ways a striking similarity in terms of general types of activity in which patrol officers engage and devote their time. Patrol officers “daily duties primarily consist of answering assigned calls. This function usually takes up less than half of the officer’s time. Field initiated activity, in
which patrol officers make contact with citizens, is a critical part of the officer’s unassigned time. Such activities include making traffic stops, providing unassigned back-up for other officers and stopping and questioning suspicious looking individuals. Patrol officers also have administrative duties such as report writing. Other police assignments other than calls for service are conducted during the officer’s 12 hours of activity.
It is the uniformed officers who provide us with the full range of police activities on which we have come to rely. They answer complaints of barking dogs that keep us awake at night, they respond to and attempt to locate a lost child, they enforce traffic laws, help the injured and deliver babies and yes, they make arrests, from the obnoxious drunk to the most dangerous killer. The peacekeeping function is a large and important responsibility of the men and women who operate our police patrol units. The Operations Division, which enacts community policing philosophies, realizes that community policing is as much an attitude as it is a technique. It is an attempt to bring policing back to the close contact it once had with citizens.
It is the teamwork approach between police and citizens that characterizes the positive community policing efforts that our Operations Division strives to create.
The Operations Division provides direct services, both proactive and reactive, to the town in order to ensure the citizens’ service needs are met. Patrol officers are primarily assigned to four squads, which include a sergeant and four patrolmen. The Operations Division also has a Traffic Unit.
Communities such as ours have realized the need to create such specialized units to deal with increasing problems with specially trained personnel and additional equipment.