Each shift is supervised by a lieutenant and two sergeants. Patrol officers are considered first responders; they are responsible for investigating a variety of crimes and respond to all requests for police services. Each patrol officer has received a minimum of 648 hours of Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) and continue their law enforcement training throughout their career. The officers are strategically assigned to in order to provide 24 hours of continual coverage to the community. Officers responded to 64,678 calls for service in 2019. Calls for police services are generated by citizens contacting to report criminal or suspicious activity. Patrol officers are responsible for investigating criminal violations, traffic violations, traffic collisions, and serving arrest warrants. Some officers in the Patrol Division have additional specialized training in police K-9, crime scene processing, driving while impaired (DWI) detection, or speed enforcement.
Consistent with our community policing philosophy, the city of Burlington is divided into four patrol beats. This ensures that assigned beat officers will become accustomed to beat neighborhoods and residents which allows them to better serve their community. By being aware of their beat's characteristics and residents, the beat officer can focus on solving problems and concerns within their beat.
There are four different shifts with one additional shift. Each shift has a lieutenant who is charge of two sergeants who split the shift into two platoons. Each sergeant is the leader of a team and responsible for several beats. The officers and their sergeant work the same rotation. Officers assigned to the team are assigned to specific beats. There are two all-beat cars assigned to each team. This allows for the beat officers to have additional staffing if needed. Beat officers can work together on projects and are not solely restricted to their area. All officers are directed to practice good community policing practices and work closely with community leaders, faith-based organizations, and community watch groups.
- Patrol Desk: The patrol desk is staffed by former officers and civilians. As former officers, these individuals are helpful in answering inquiries from the public. Citizens may contact the patrol desk by calling (336) 229-3503. The desk is staffed during select hours: Monday-Friday (8:00 am to 7:00 pm) and Saturdays (10:00 am to 2:00 pm).
- Drug Recognition Experts: The department has officers that are specially trained in the detection and identification of narcotics impaired driving. They assist in identifying the types of substances that an impaired driver may have introduced into their body. They also testify to the driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of the identified narcotics.
- Crime Scene Investigators: Each patrol shift has officers that have received specialized training directly related to crime scene processing. The officers utilize advanced scene processing and photography training to recover and document evidence at crime scenes. The officers are trained in recovering DNA, latent fingerprints, tool marks, hair, fiber, and serology (serums: blood or other bodily fluids) evidence.
- Ride Along: Residents can apply for permission to accompany an officer on a patrol shift and see first-hand what officers experience on a regular day on duty. Citizens are required to complete a short background check and schedule a time to ride at least two weeks in advance. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
It is a philosophy that guides police management style and operational strategies. It emphasizes the establishment of police/ community partnerships and a problem-solving approach that is responsive to the needs of the community in order to design and implement solutions and services that are truly community-based. This requires police to make a conscious effort to create an atmosphere in which community partners actively and willingly cooperate with the police.
It is effective at problem-solving by identifying crime and conflict, actual and potential, then using those results to develop measures that address those problems. It is a partnership with the objective of determining community needs and policing priorities and to promote police accountability and effectiveness; it should include the participation of all stakeholders. It respects and protects human rights, appreciates and accommodates our diverse community, shares responsibility, and solves problems in consultation with the community. It educates police personnel and community members to enable constructive participation, and it enhances accountability of police to the community they serve.
Body Worn Cameras:
In a continued effort to maintain and develop trust with the community, the Burlington Police Department has equipped all sworn officers with body-worn cameras. After thorough testing of available models, the BPD selected the Panasonic Arbitrator camera. The camera is to be worn on the chest, and it continually records footage while officers are on duty. "The Burlington Police Department strives to ensure honest and trusting relationships with the public. By implementing the use of body-worn camera technology, we are reinforcing our practice of building 'trust through transparency' and simultaneously increasing safety and accountability for all. Body- worn cameras improve officer performance and the conduct of those who are recorded." - Chief J. Jeffrey Smythe. Officers use the body-worn cameras in most interactions with the public, such as interviews, arrests, and traffic stops. These cameras promote transparency and legitimacy of police encounters. We use the cameras to demonstrate to the community that our officers act in a fair and just manner. Cameras are used as a tool to collect digital evidence to be used in the successful prosecution of cases. They are also used to review complaints filed by citizens against officers. So any interaction a civilian has with an officer may be recorded.