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Police Patrol-Initiated Activities Within a Systems Queueing Model


Author Info

  • Richard C. Larson

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Mark A. Mcknew

    (Clemson University)

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    Officers in police patrol cars operate in a complex stochastic environment. In addition to handling dispatcher-assigned calls for service from the public, they patrol to pose a threat of apprehension to would-be offenders and undertake certain on-site interventions to help improve general public safety. The on-site work, often highly discretionary, is called patrol-initiated activity. It includes issuing tickets for traffic violations, building checks, car checks, pedestrian checks and assisting motorists. In many cities patrol-initiated activities and calls for service consume comparable amounts of officers' time. In this paper we develop a spatially-oriented queueing-type model of a police patrol force that allows each of N patrol cars to be in one of three states: (1) busy, on a call for service; (2) busy, on a patrol-initiated activity; (3) free, on patrol. Designed for computer solution, the model yields N nonlinear equations whose unknowns are the workloads of the N patrol cars. Other performance measures of patrol can be computed easily in terms of the workloads. The incorporation of patrol-initiated activities represents an improvement over previous OR/MS models, and could result in more informed police management decisions regarding patrol beat design, workload smoothing among officers, and reduction of neighborhood-specific inequities in police accessibility. The methods of this paper are potentially applicable to other urban services, including taxi and maintenance operations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 28 (1982)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 759-774

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:28:y:1982:i:7:p:759-774

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    Keywords: government services: police; queues: applications; queues: approximations;


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    Cited by:
    1. Hall, Randolph W., 2002. "Incident dispatching, clearance and delay," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-16, January.
    2. Hall, Randolph, 2000. "Incident Dispatching, Clearance and Delay," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt2pp689vn, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    3. Hall, Randolph W., 2001. "Incident Management: Process Analysis and Improvement," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt1jf6j37t, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.


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