Submitted by guest writer: Michael A. Colon-Rodriguez
This article contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer.
Nationwide: Since the early days of policing, officers have been reliant on each other to protect citizens successfully. While on beats before the nineteenth century, officers would carry a bell or ratchet to alert other officers to a disturbance nearby.
When police began using vehicles in the late nineteenth century, a red signal light was placed near major intersections, alerting officers that they needed to report to the station for an assignment. Many of these officers, however, patrolled alone. Officers have recently begun to ‘team up’ to better protect their communities.
But this is not the case in all police departments.
The Benefit of Teams
Policing in teams of two or more officers is an effective strategy for law enforcement. Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith, an example of a famous police duo, were United States federal police officers- agents of the U.S. Prohibition Unit. Together they made 4,932 arrests over five years, most of which while undercover.
The first and most obvious benefit of policing in pairs is that it improves the effectiveness of law enforcement. Teaming up allows the officers to see more together than they otherwise would, meaning criminals are more likely to be caught.
Officers can also use their individual skills together to solve problems more effectively and they can better protect each other. This could often prevent police officers from continuing to die and better suppress harm against them.
The police teaming up then makes fighting crime more effective, such as dissuading criminals from committing crime. If criminals see police patrolling in pairs, they are less likely to act, thus reducing crime overall.
Police ‘team up’ has additional benefits too- such as boosting officers morale. Policing can often be a solitary occupation. Working as a team helps officers feel more secure and protected in the event of an attack.
This points to why team building activities in police departments are so crucial and beneficial. Retreats and activities build relationships, improves teamwork and communication and makes for a better functioning department.
The benefits of the police teaming up contribute towards a broader feeling of security within a community. Local residents often feel safer when they see police patrolling in pairs. Police teams are often more approachable than individual officers. This security leads to improved community relations.
The effectiveness of the police teaming up is apparent in Special Weapons and Tactics (or SWAT) teams. SWAT teams are comprised of highly skilled individuals who work together to complete a specific mission, such as rescuing hostages.
Other teams include the United States Marshals or FBI special agents. Officers in these units are able to work in pairs or teams to combat specific issues.
It is clear that teaming up is an effective strategy for police officers that is unlikely to disappear soon. Although teaming up is an effective strategy for policing, however, many officers still work alone and that’s the case of many police departments in the State of Ohio.
This effectiveness also does not mean that police teams are not changing. Officers have recently begun to virtually team up with AI partners to better protect areas and communities. The future of police team up, though, ultimately remains to be seen.
If you’re department does not pair up officers, talk to your union officials about what benefits they are missing. Police department leadership often get tied up with everyday routines they may easily forget or overlook fantastic, easily appliable ideas- like teaming up.
Don’t wait for things to improve by themselves, take a proactive approach and get the ball rolling. Your fellow officer’s lives could depend on it.
Buddy teams save lives!
About the writer: Michael A. Colon Rodriguez is a correctional officer and an Army reservist. He loves applying his knowledge in military skills, law enforcement procedures, and human resources management to his passion for military and civilian service. Michael holds a master’s degree in government and public policy, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. One of his future goals is to become a certified life coach focusing on helping LEO’s.