Terrain analysis: From corrections to patrol

Several months ago I made the transition from custody sergeant to patrol sergeant. One day I was working the largest (with nearly 800 sworn employees) jail in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the next I was working one of our smallest patrol stations (with fewer than 50). Needless to say, the resources available to me changed dramatically.

I went from supervising thirty deputies on one floor who were overseeing approximately 800 inmates to leading six to ten deputies patrolling 8.5 square miles in an area home to nearly 90,000 people. Those thirty deputies I supervised at Men’s Central Jail were also only a fraction of the personnel assigned to work each shift. So backup was only a stone’s throw away. Now, if we need help, it is coming from other Sheriff’s stations and local PD’s. Doing more with less is the nature of patrol. But there is another distinct disadvantage. On many different levels, when you work patrol you always play your games as the road team. It is just the opposite in a jail.

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