Exemplary Policing: Mission & Purpose

Exemplary Policing Standard I. Mission and Purpose. An Exemplary Policing Agency infuses in all employees an understanding of and commitment to the core purpose of the agency and the pursuit and achievement of six critical mission goals: 1) Preventing and reducing crime. 2) Pursuing justice by apprehension and conviction of offenders. 3) Protecting and serving people and their property. 4) Maintaining order and enhancing the quality of life. 5) Upholding and defending constitutional rights and civil liberties. 6) Building public trust and legitimacy.

 The platform for the Exemplary Policing Agency Framework focuses on the mission and purpose of the agency, identification of the critical mission goals it is expected to achieve. Modern agencies are expected to do far more than simply enforce laws to prevent crime. Thus, Exemplary Policing Agency Standard (EPAS) I identifies six outcome objectives which guide all actions and strategic planning and provide the criteria for performance evaluation.


In the beginning, the mission of a professional policing agency could be stated simply: to prevent crime and disorder.[1]  The primary method of achieving this singular mission goal was to enforce laws. Hence, even to this day, most modern policing organizations refer to themselves as “law enforcement agencies” and the men and women who carry out their purpose, as “law enforcement officers.”

Though law enforcement remains fundamental to the modern policing mission, law enforcement activities account for only a small portion of what modern policing agencies and their officers do and are required to do. In fact, pure law enforcement activities generally account for no more than 20% of the daily activities of the average patrol officer.[2] Thus, despite the continuing use of the law enforcement label, there is a consensus in the policing profession that the purpose of a modern policing agency goes well beyond law enforcement and this is reflected in current mission statements of policing agencies.

Though a survey of scores of current police and sheriff mission statements reveals diversity in style, structure and length, there is a great similarity in content. In one form or another, virtually all modern policing agencies identify the six core mission goals incorporated into the Exemplary Policing Agency framework:

1) Preventing and reducing crime

2) Pursuing justice by apprehension and conviction of offenders

3) Protecting and serving people and property 

4) Maintaining order and enhancing the quality of life

5) Upholding and defending constitutional rights and civil liberties

6) Building public trust and legitimacy

[1] This premise was clearly established in the statement by Sir Robert Peel of nine principles governing the first professional, full-time, civilian policing agency, the Metropolitan London Police.

[2]  Job Task Analysis. In 1998, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training conducted a survey to determine how officers actually spent their time. 

Essential Job Functions as Determined by a Job Task Analysis – California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (1998) 

  1. Advising and Assisting the Public. This job function is primarily concerned with providing general assistance to the public.
  2. Working with Community to Reduce Crime and Address Community Concerns. Assisting and working with community members to reduce or prevent crime and resolve community concerns. Enhancing police-community relations. Actively seeking to build public trust, confidence, cooperation, collaborative problem solving and improving quality of life issues.
  3. Preparing for and presenting legal testimony. Preparing for testimony at hearings or trials, giving depositions and testifying in court
  4. Apprehending and Arresting Suspects. Locating, pursuing, controlling, arresting and processing suspects, both juvenile and adult.
  5. Detecting and investigating crimes Detecting criminal activity, identifying criminals and systematically inspecting, gathering, and controlling property and information needed to investigate and resolve crimes
  6. Managing traffic. Maintaining the safe flow of traffic. Citing and/or arresting vehicle code violators, and investigating traffic accidents
  7. Documenting investigations, enforcement actions and other patrol contacts. Documenting investigative actions and findings, enforcement actions, and other patrol activities and contacts for possible future reference in legal/administrative proceedings and/or in order to comply with federal/state/local requirements
  8. Maintaining order in the community. Monitoring activity in the community, mediating disputes, quelling disturbances, preventative patrol and controlling crowds
  9. Providing emergency assistance to the public. Protecting or assisting persons in emergency situations such as accidents, disasters and crimes in progress
  10. Developing /Maintaining and improving job readiness. Maintaining and improving preparedness and proficiency to perform required patrol officer job duties.
  11. Handling complaints and incidents. Responding to complaints/incidents and calls for service ranging from taking notes and/or making log entries to conducting a complete investigation for submission to prosecutor.


A more current description of “Job Duties and Tasks for: Police Patrol Officer”

  1. Provide for public safety by maintaining order, responding to emergencies, protecting people and property, enforcing motor vehicle and criminal laws, and promoting good community relations.
  2. Identify, pursue, and arrest suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
  3. Record facts to prepare reports that document incidents and activities.
  4. Review facts of incidents to determine if criminal act or statute violations were involved.
  5. Render aid to accident victims and other persons requiring first aid for physical injuries.
  6. Testify in court to present evidence or act as witness in traffic and criminal cases.
  7. Evaluate complaint and emergency-request information to determine response requirements.
  8. Patrol specific area on foot, horseback, or motorized conveyance, responding promptly to calls for assistance.
  9. Monitor, note, report, and investigate suspicious persons and situations, safety hazards, and unusual or illegal activity in patrol area.
  10. Investigate traffic accidents and other accidents to determine causes and to determine if a crime has been committed.
  11. Photograph or draw diagrams of crime or accident scenes and interview principals and eyewitnesses.
  12. Monitor traffic to ensure motorists observe traffic regulations and exhibit safe driving procedures.
  13. Relay complaint and emergency-request information to appropriate agency dispatchers.
  14. Issue citations or warnings to violators of motor vehicle ordinances.
  15. Direct traffic flow and reroute traffic in case of emergencies.
  16. Inform citizens of community services and recommend options to facilitate longer-term problem resolution.
  17. Provide road information to assist motorists.
  18. Process prisoners, and prepare and maintain records of prisoner bookings and prisoner status during booking and pre-trial process.
  19. Inspect public establishments to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.
  20. Act as official escorts, such as when leading funeral processions or firefighters.




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