The patrol division is the “backbone” of the police department. When you call the police, the officer that responds first is a member of the uniform patrol division. The patrol division is comprised of three shifts. Each shift consists of a captain, who is the shift commander and administrator; a lieutenant, who is the secondary administrator and assistant to the captain; and a sergeant, who is the patrol officer’s first-line supervisor and is responsible for field operations of the shift.
The patrol division’s responsibilities include answering calls for service, taking reports, gathering evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, making arrests, patrolling city streets, working vehicle accidents, directing traffic, and many other functions. Patrol officers are often called upon to intervene in fights, domestic disturbances, burglaries and other crimes in progress, and other extremely hazardous incidents which place them in harm’s way.
Every certified patrol officer has completed basic police training at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy or other accredited law enforcement training facility. Most of the department’s officers possess advanced training and certifications in addition to their basic training. New officers are assigned to a veteran officer who has completed a field training officer program. The field training officer, or “FTO,” is responsible for the new officer’s on-the-job training.